The key to a good artisanal bread from Málaga lies in the process of elaboration and its ingredients. The manufacture of this type of bread is slower (it can take up to seven hours, whereas industrial bread takes a little bit over two hours to make) and no aditivies are added. According to artisanal experts, the secret is to choose quality ingredients, let the dough rest and take care of the boiling. Artisanal bread has different varieties.
The most common one is the traditional loaf of bread, with round and sharp endings. We can also find ciabattas, traditional from rural areas, with thick crust and little crumb; and large loaves, with round shape and much bigger size.
Varieties of artisanal bread
There are some villages that have their own tradition and varieties. The mollete from Antequera is popular in the whole country (as well as the mollete from Archidona, which has similar characteristics). Molletes are small pieces of bread with white crust and round shape that is used for breakfast as a toast with olive oil, tomato and ham. The village of Istán is known for its corn bread, made with corn flour. Another variety of artisanal bread is ‘pan cateto’ (rural bread), made with thick crumb and round shape that is very similar to large loaves. This type of bread can last for a few days.
Recognising artisanal bread
The most important difference between artisanal bread and industrial bread is the freshness of the ingredients. Their flavours and smells are much stronger too. A good artisanal bread can be recognised by its inner part: the crumb is open and irrugular, whereas industrial bread has a more compact and closed crumh. Another difference is its durability. Artisanal bread can stay soft and in good state for several days because it does not have any artifitial aditive. The secret lies in covering the bread (with a clothe or a napkin) before putting it away.
The crust shows how the bread has been made. A dark crust means the bread has been in the oven for a long time. The surfice will have golden tones and a bitter taste if it was baked for too long. However, a whiter crust means that the baking process has been quick. In this case, the crust will have less flavour and will be softer. The look, colour and flavour of the crust has been a topic of debate among people who have some preferences and people who have others.
Corn bread, popular in some villages in Málaga like Istán, is a recommended product for people who are gluten intolerant. Besides its delicious flavour, corn bread has many benefitial qualities for our health: the high content of fibre helps prevent cholesterol problems, colon cancer or hemorroids. The antioxidant effect of corn flour strengthen muscle tissues.
Bread should be a part of every balanced diet. In fact, it is on the base of the nutritional piramid. Bread has carbohidrates, fibre, vitamin B, minerals and vegetable protein. The World Health Organization recomends 250 grammes of bread every day. The moderate consumption of bread provides few fats so it is not a problem for those who are worried about not gaining weight.