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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

PANES VARIOS - VARIOUS TYPES OF BREAD

Braided Bread with Poppy Seeds
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Bread, revered as the "body of Christ" since the Christian era, was a staple food during the Middle Ages. Even today, a Spanish synonym for bread is la comida (the meal) since a meal is not a meal in Spain without bread.  


Throughout the history of the Middle Ages, various types of grains are recorded, particularly during times of famine and during abundance. Because wheat thrived better in southern European climates, Iberians consumed more of it than their northern neighbors. The chronicles of the monarchs of Castile indicate years when the wheat crops failed, calling them "bread famine." At such times especially, other cereal grains (many listed below) were substituted for wheat flour.


Villagers typically took the grains they produced to commercial mills to be ground into flour; then the dough was prepared in the home. Village boys carried the doughs from various homes to communal ovens or a bakery. When not available, peasants simply built a fire in the field and baked their dough under the ashes. Only the aristocracy had bread ovens in their courtyards away fromthe palace or castle as a means of fire prevention.


Two-pound loaves of wheat flour were consumed daily by nobles; bread in religious orders was eaten at lunchtime; Jews ate halo or braided bread.


Although recipes seem scarce, this author has reviewed many of the various breads traditionally found on the tables of peasants and nobles alike. Fadalat, the Anón Al-Andalus and Sent Soví record recipes for different sizes of flatbreads; the Anón Al-Andalus has recipes for both sponge cake and hallow bread. Also there are recipes for sweet flatbreads or pastries called “Qursas.”


It is very difficult to differentiate between the recipes in the Anon, Al-Andalus for bread and those for pastries. As cited below, there are instructions for making a particular types of bread in most cases. Bread recipes in Fadalat are easy to find because they are grouped together in Chapter 1, 1-5. 



When Muslims came to Iberia, Bagdad was the culinary capital of the world for gourmet cuisine. Cordoba surpassed Bagdad. There the Persian flatbreads were copied but enhanced with the invasion of the Berbers from Northern Africa who brought their own flatbread recipes. This development can be followed in the two 13th C. Hispano-Muslim culinary manuscripts available today.


Unfortunately, Iberian bread recipes from the 15
th century seem to be lacking in Nola’s manuscript. This is tragic because it is a missing link in the development of this facet of the history of food. We know that Catalan cuisine was combined with the Italian and then taken to France during the era of Catalina di Medici. There it culminated by labeling their bread as “French” but we know the roots of gourmet dining in Europe commenced in Cordoba and Sicily.

Below is the commencement of a list of grains and bread types found in Iberian medieval manuscripts:

Cooking Bread
Photo from: World of Tim
al-jubz al-malil, al mamlul malla, (jubz, bread in general regardless of the grain used; al-malla, hot ashes used to bury bread for baking; and malla, pit in which bread is cooked; with time it came to mean “oven” as well). A fire pit such as that known in Al-Andalus was used for baking bread under hot embers and ashes. The custom was handed down from Berber camel drivers who cooked flatbreads in the hot ashes of a fire. A hole was dug in the ashes; the dough was dropped in and then covered with more ashes and left for about 20 minutes. Today’s fire pit version is about five feet deep and lined with stones.

It is known that this is a flatbread, which has been considered to be the worst as it is heavy and difficult to digest. García Sánchez maintains that only those with strong stomachs can eat it.  Once the bread cooled it was thick and hard, not spongy.

It was considered to be “peasants’ bread." It was the basis of their alimentation. No specific recipes for this bread are available in the texts reviewed but it seems that any flatbread recipe would do. Most breads in Al-Andalus were made with wheat except in times of shortages.

[Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:36; ES: Flickr. "World of Tim." Posted Apr 30, 15; and Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez, Alimentación. 1983;140:150] 

candeal, see harina de trigo, below.

canto de soma, see pan salvadobelow.


hallulla, Ar. al-malla, Heb. hallahchallah. Eng. halo bread, egg bread for the Jewish Sabbath. This is a round or braided loaf of Jewish bread, which may have raisins inside. It was made in Jewish communities especially for the Sabbath. The Hebrew word refers also to the portion of dough reserved for the rabbi. In general, loaves of bread were round during the Middle Ages.

A Halo from Heaven
with Sesame Seeds
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Hispano-Muslims also made halo bread and baked it under the ashes, not in an oven. In Granada and Cordova, a round loaf was made that looked like a diadem or halo. The Cordovans baked this especially for the New Year. The process of baking bread underashes was not an invention of the Arabs, who invaded Spain in the 8th C, for it is mentioned four times in TheBible (Kings XIX:6, Lev II:5, Ezek IV:3 and Chron IX:31). It could have been a method handed down from the Egyptians, supposedly the first bread bakers.It could be made with or without oil. Jews, normally, made it unleavened, except for the Sabbath. See pan de rescoldo, below and blog titled “Hallulla” posted January 30, 2015.   

[Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:36; Enyc Judaica. 1971:7:Fr:1193-1194; and ES: Lord. Medieval. “Hallulla.” Posted Jan 30, 15]


2-lb Loaf
Photo by: Lord-Wiliams

hogaza, Spanish rustic loaf; a large loaf of bread weighing 2 lbs or 24 oz.; sourdough bread. In León, it is bran bread or that made with badly sifted flour for peasants. Bread is something blessed there. If it falls on the floor, it is kissed. It must be always placed with the top side up, never the contrary. It is a bad omen to cut a loaf of bread with a knife. If anyone sticks a knife into it, he must stare at it to ward away evil spirits.

See blog titled “Hogaza” posted March 30, 2015.[Ares. Gastronomía. 2000:117; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:72; ES: Lord. Medieval. “hogaza.” Posted Mar 20, 15]


lino, L. Linum usitatissimmum, Fr. lin à fibre longue, Eng. flax. This herb produces one stalk and blue flowers from April to July annually. The plants were among the most treasured in Hispano-Muslim gardens in Al-Andalus of the 11th C.


Uniquely Sweet
Flax Bread
Photo by: Lord-Williams
The fruit, containing two seeds, is round. The seeds are used to make flour and linseed oil (linaza), which is extracted from them, especially in the Orbigo Valley (León). During the Middle Ages, it was used in food preparation and still today it is preferred in certain dishes. Further, the oil is used in making varnish and paints. Seeds, scalded in boiling water and mixed with honey, are drunk as an infusion. Medicinally, it was used for inflammations in the digestion system and respiratory tract. Flax was known in Babylonia at least 7,000 years ago. It appeared in Europe between the 5th-6th C. B.C. It was cultivated in Andalusia and exported to Alexandria and Cairo via Venice. 

Muslims held flax material in high regard for its richness, quality and delicateness. The hemp, flax and silk industries gave many families livelihood not only in Muslim Spain but also in Estremadura.

See blog titled “Lino,” published November 11, 2015 for the bread recipe.

[ES: Lord. Medieval. “Lino.” Posted Nov 11, 15.]

pan ácimo, Sp. Heb. mása, Heb. matza(h), mazoth, Eng. matzah, matzo, matzoh, matza, unleavened, flatbread eaten during Pesakh (Passover). It was made with white flour and cold water. Egg and olive oil could be added. Avenzoar thought it had a noxious, heavy, phlegmatic humor difficult to digest and he maintained that it produced vulgar humors. He recommended it for those who performed heavy labor. The working class in Al-Andalus ate it. It was baked in tandoor ovens.

In northern Europe, slices of one-day old bread were used as trenchers instead of plates. Each eater or two eaters, depending if trenchers were shared or not, received a new slice with every course of the meal. They were piled up between eaters. At the end of the meal, trenchers were not thrown out but given to the poor. 

See blog titled “Cenceño,” posted October 20, 2010. Blogs titled "Rebanada" and "tRajadero" will be published in the future.

[Aguilera. 2002:95; Ares. “Comidas.” 1994:124; Autoridades. 1979:I:A:263; Benavides-Barajas. Nueva Clássica. 1995:36;  Castro. Alimentación. 1996:187:255;ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5, 02:ftn 150; ES: Castro. “de Nuevo.” Posted 1999-2000; ES: “Gastronomía.” Posted May 2, 03; ES: Lord. Medieval. “Ácimo.” Posted Oct 20, 10; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:43:54; Gitlitz. 1999:286-287;  Hieatt. Pleyn. 1976:xii; Ibn Razín/Marín. 2007:Ch1:4:79; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:46; Montoro/Ciceri. 1991:203:102; Nola. 1989:xxiii-4; and Nola/Pérez. 1994:212]

pan adárgama, pan de flor, Ar. darmak, Eng. fine wheat bread  made with extra fine flour; white bread, bread made with finely sifted wheat flour. Avenzoar explains that it was the most nutritious of all breads. Averroes calls it "pan darmach." Ibn Razīn calls for “flor de harina” (fine wheat flour) in his recipes for this bread and pastries.

[ES: Lord. Fadalat. Posted Jan 26, 08; Ibn Razīn/Granja.1960:1:19:52:21:60:22; Ibn Razīn/Marin. 2007:Ch1:1:77-78:Ch4:1:108:8:108 etc; Ibn Zuhr. 1992:46 ftn 2]

pan al rescoldo, bread baked under ashes. See hallulla and aljubz

[Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:77] 

Sponge Cake Fresh Out of the Oven
Photo by: Lord-Williams
pan ázimo, see ácimo.

pan bismat, dry sponge cake in the shape of a ring or round loaf in Al-Andalus. Like ka’k, it contained almonds, honey or sugar, as per the quality. It was popular. See “pan hueco,” below and blog titled “Cuernos de Gacela,” published October 30, 2013. 

[Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:37; ES: Lord. Medieval.“Cuernos de Gacela,” Posted Oct 30, 2013]

pan chocho, baked bread. [Serrano. 2008:376]

pan de alcarceña, bitter vetch bread. Avenzoar claimed it produced vomiting and gases although not in excess. It is contrary to human nature and, he continued, produces depression and nausea. It is hot and dry. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]  

pan de alubias, kidney bean bread. Avenzoar claimed it perturbed the mind. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]

pan de almortas
, blue vetch bread. Avenzoar explained that it is noxious and should not be eaten frequently as it can weaken limbs. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:]

pan de arroz, rice bread. Avenzoar stated that it is hot, dry and hard. It is slowly digested which produces a heavy humor and at the same time causes an obstruction in the gallbladder and the rest of the organism. It is astringent. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]

Acorn Bread Fresh from the Oven
Photo by: Lord-Williams
pan de bellotas, Ar. săh bellūt, balluta, Eng. acorn bread. Avenzoar stated that it is heavy and dry with a cold tendency. It obstructs the liver but above all produces gastric pain, as do chestnuts. 

In Spain, the most common acorns come from the cork oak (Quercus ilex), which produces sweeter acorns than the English oak trees (Quercus robur). The acorn has been a primary food for humans during times of famine for over 2,000 years. During and after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) eating acorns was common fare in regions where food was scarce. They were eaten plain or ground into flour and made into bread.


Before the 8th C. B.C., Spaniards were making cakes with acorn flour and cooking them over the fire. They have been baked and used as a coffee substitute. During fruit famines they have been eaten as fruit. Villena lists them as such.



They are the main diet of the Iberian pig. As there are sweet and bitter acorns, pigs peel them first. From the smell, they can distinguish the sweet from the bitter. They eat the sweet acorns and leave the bitter ones. Acorn oil was thought to have a heavy essence that hardens the members, lessening sensitiveness. 


See blogs titled: Alcornoque” posted August 7, 2011,  “Bellota," posted February 29, 2012; “Cerdo Ibérico,” posted November 7, 2012, “Encina,” posted May 3, 2014 and “Pata Negra,” posted January 25, 2017.

[Bodelón. 1994:67; Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clássica. 1995:50; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:205-206; ES: Gutiérrez. Posted Jun 1, 98; ES: Lord. Medieval. Alcornoque” Posted August 7, 2011; Lord. Medieval. “Bellotas.” Posted Feb 29, ’12; Lord. Medieval. “Cerdo Ibérico,” Posted November 7, 2012; Lord. Medieval. “Encina,” Posted May 3, 2014; Lord. Medieval. “Pata Negra,” Posted January 25, 2017; ES: Salloum. Posted Jun 28, 05; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48-49; Villena/Calero. 2002:23ª]

pan de cañamóm, hempseed bread. It is cold and hot, according to Avenzoar and can be consumed with no fear. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]

pan de cebada, barley bread. This is a bread grain producing dark flour. It was used to make bread in areas where wheat was scarce. It does not produce porous bread because it contains little gluten. It was used to make unleavened or flatbread. It was considered a poor man’s bread but Avenzoar claimed it to be the best after wheat as he thought it cold but not as nutritious. He recommended baking it under ashes instead of in a tandoor oven. He considered to be cold and relatively dry. He claimed it was less nutritious than whole wheat bread made with finely sifted flour.


See blog titled “Cebada,” posted September 19, 2012.


[ES: Lord. Medieval. “Cebada.” Posted Sep 19, 12; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:46-47]


Sour Dough Rye Bread
Photo by: Lord-Williams

pan de centeno, Eng. rye bread. After wheat bread, rye and spelt were the most consumed for their dryness and nutritious elements. As both rye and spelt have hard short straw with the grain firmly attached to the spikelets, these grains were considered better than barley for bread making. 

Medieval pilgrims on the Way of St. James did not always eat bread made from wheat but did eat rye, for the steep mountains, dry lands and wide barren plains only produced rye. For the same reason villagers living around the skirt of the Teleno Mountains in León are accustomed to eating jerky with rye bread.

In many areas in England, rye has been common for the same reasons. As in Spain, it has been used in times of wheat famine. In Canterbury Tales, the nun ate maslin bread (which is a medieval mixture of wheat, barley and rye and means mixture in French). 
In both countries rye was the food of the poor due to the prices for wheat. See blogs titled “Alcandía,” posted March 12. 2010; “Centeno,” posted October 22, 2012,  “Ergotísmo” posted February 4, 2014; and “Pan de Escanda,” below.  

[Ares. 1994:102; Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica.1995:36-37; Drummond. 1994:48; ES: Lord. Medieval. Alcandía.” Posted Mar 12. 10;  ES: Lord. Medieval. Centeno.” Posted Oct 22, 12; ES: Lord. Medieval.“Ergotísmo” Posted Feb 4, 14; Gázquez. Cocina2002:77; and Viñayo. 1994:53]

pan de cizañadarnel, tare bread. Avenzoar claimed it was hot and dry. He claimed it will barely hurt those with a phlegmatic complexion. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]

pan de escanda, L. Triticum spelta, Eng. spelt bread. This is confused with rye bread (pan de cebadaL. Secale cereale) as it is the same color. Spelt is a graminaceous plant similar to wheat but the grass is harder and shorter and the grain firmly attached to the spikelets. These grains were considered better than barley for bread making. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica.1995:36-37: Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:47:ftn 7; and Trapiello. 1994:139]

pan de flor, see pan adárgama.
pan de garbanzos, chickpea bread. After wheat and barley bread, it is the most healthy and very nutritious. It augments sperm greatly. It has a marked aphrodisiac nature and generates fewer gases than fava bread. 

See blog titled “Garbanzos,” published October 24, 2014. 

[ES: Lord. Medieval. “Garbanzos.” Posted Oct 24, ’14; and Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]

pan de habas, fava bread. Avenzoar said it is dry and inclined to be cold. It produces nightmares and sometimes sweet dreams; it perturbs the mind and produces gases and stomach and intestinal aches. See haba. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]

pan de hogaza, see hogaza, above.

pan de lentejas, lentil bread. Avenzoar says it is like millet bread. See “Lentejas,” posted November 13, 2015. 

[ES: Lord. Medieval.  “Lentejas.” Posted Nov 13, ’15; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]


Flatbread Made with Millet
Photo by: Lord-Williams
pan de mijo, Leon borona, Hisp Ar Jubz al-baniy, Eng, millet bread. Probably Avenzoar is referring to pearl millet when he states that millet was used in porridge and as fodder for livestock (see “pan de panizo,” below). It could be used only to make flat or unleavened bread especially in times of wheat famines.

Moors and poor peasants are known to have eaten millet bread frequently. The Hispano-Muslim recipe is one of the few that was native to the area, see blog titled “mijo” posted July 20, 2016 for Barajas-Benavides’ recipe. Most recipes used there during Muslim occupation were based on Middle East cuisine.

Avenzoar considered millet bread to be colder and drier than barley or rye bread, although more astringent than barley, rye or spelt. In Leon, millet bread or cake was made but today, that is substituted with corn flour. “Boroña preñada” is the same with chorizo or lard filling. See “Al-jubz,” above.

[Barajas-BenavidesLa Alhambra. 1999:96-97; 
Castro. Alimentación. 1996:205; ES: Castro. “The Role.” Aug 3, 03; ES: Lord. Medieval.  “Mijo.” Posted Jul 20, ’16; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:77; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48:ftn 9; and Sánchez-Albornoz. 2000:115]

pan de panizo, L. Panicum, MEng. panik, Eng. panic grass bread. Avenzoar states that it is cold and dry. It has more flavor then all the other breads after wheat and barley bread.  Marín states that it was well-liked in Al-Andalus. Ibn Razín’s recipe calls for making flatbreads and baking them in the oven. [Ibn Razín/Marín. 2007:Ch1:5:79; and Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]

pan de sémola, L. simila (flour), It semola (bran), Eng, semolina bread. The purified middlings or endosperm of durum wheat grains after it is coarsely ground into flour particles. Semolina is mixed with water to make bread doughs, especially flatbread. It was the most popular bread after wheat. Semolina was not known to the Romans or the Greeks. The Berbers of north Africa were the first to use it.  See blog titled “Aludir,” posted September 15, 2011.

Mišāš, Fried Flatbread  
Made with Semolina Flour  
(Topped with irresistible with rose syrup!)

 Photo by: Lord-Williams
Recipes for semolina bread in the Anón, Al-Andalus, generally, are for flatbread or small round loaves. They are either fried or baked. Anón Al-Andalus has one recipe for little fried breads originating from Niebla, Spain. It is interesting to note that Anón Al-Andalus contains the only recipe for sponge bread made with semolina flour.

Fadalat has one recipe for baked flatbread and two cooked on a griddle. Granja seems to indicate that first recipe in Fadalat is for a loaf while Marin clearly states that it is flatbread. 

[Anón/Huici.1966:142:96-97:383:210:415:228 etc; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:177; ES: Decker. “Which”. Posted Jun 14, 01; ES: Lord. Medieval. “Arroba.” Posted 17 Nov, ’11: ES: Lord. Medieval.  “Cocho.” Posted Mar 15, ’12: ES: Lord. Medieval.  “Pan.” posted Dec 26, ’16; ES: Organic. Posted Apr 14, 03; Ibn Razīn/Granja. 1960:1:19; Ibn Razín/Marin. 2007:CH1:1-3:77-79; Lord. Hispano. May 24, 06: 1]

pan de sorgo, sorghym bread. It was thought to be cold, dry and not very nutritious. See sorgo. [Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:48]

pan de trigo, wheat bread. According to Avenzoar, the most valued bread was that containing fermented yeast and baked in a tandoor or oven. Normally, it was made with a lot of water and well kneaded in order to make bread that is similar to sponges for the perforations. It was thought to be moderately warm and humid. It is good for the healthy and the sick throughout the year. The best is freshly baked and the worst was old. See trigo. [Anón/Huici. 1966:169:110:179:177:430:237; ES: Lord. Medieval. “Arroba” Posted 17 Nov, ’11: ES: Lord. Medieval.  “Mišāš.” Posted Aug 1, 16: ES: Lord. Medieval.  “Mezquino, -a.” Posted Jun 29, 16; and Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:46]

pan de trigo y centeno, wheat and rye bread. In León for centuries wheat and rye were combined to make their common bread due to wheat shortages in the region. During the 10th C. there was a law stating that lords must give this bread with onions and cheese to villains on the days that they labored in their fields. [Sánchez-Albornoz. 2000:42] 

pan fermentado, leavened bread. [Anón/Huici. Al-Andalus. 1965:160:104-105:275:159-160:447:260-261; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5, 00:84]

pan gramado, white bread. Breadcrumbs from one-day old white bread were thought to be the best. Ibn Razīn uses fine, white breadcrumbs from white bread to make breaded veal heads. [<>Ibn Razīn/Granja. 1960:6:20]


pan hueco, Ar, ka’k, Eng. round or ring shaped biscuits. Recipes for making them are found in medieval Arabic Manuscripts and they are mentioned in Knights. They contain yeast. Like “pan bismat,” above, in Al-Andalus, they were made with plenty of oil.

They were more popular than pan bismat being a spongy biscuit containing almonds, honey or sugar, as per the quality. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:37; Perry. “Appendix.” 2001:453:461; and Robinson. “Studies.” 2001:143:155]

pan integral,  whole wheat bread, whole grain bread. It is made with unrefined flour of mature wheat, including the bran layers and germ. It is salted, made into dough and baked in the oven. Correctly made, it is the most nutritious. During the Spanish Middle Ages, all three cultures (Muslim, Jewish and Christian) made this type of bread with yeast. They baked it in the oven or under the coals. The custom was lost in the Orient but carried on in the West. It was common in the Mediterranean and in cereal cultures. Maimonides recommended it as the best of all foods for nutrition. [Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:82-83]

pan salvado, canto de soma, bran bread. [Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:260]

The word '"pan" could be applied to other edibles such as marzipanes and empanadas (turnovers, pies or breaded foods). There were so many “pans” that even the English have pancakes! 


Marzipanes
Photo by: Lord-Williams

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