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Pan,Pan and more Pan...
13 February 2017 @ 19:14

Menus with or without wine, white with fish and red with meat, pairings or harmonies, dry for an aperitif and sweet for dessert... the culinary world is full of indecision. Questions can also arise with bread, although until now portions have worried us most: should we have one or half? Or maybe a third? However, we have learned that this "accompaniment" is an important part of any meal, meaning doubt can pervade this element as well. More and more shops are opening up dedicated to the world of grain-based products, although many seem more like fashion boutiques than bakeries.

The Spanish eat a lot of bread so shouldn't we also include it in our list of flavours? Keep in mind that this product isa key part of the Mediterranean diet and it is recommended to consume about  five 40 gram-portions a day. It is also full of vitamin B, minerals and fibre, with a higher quantity found in wholegrain bread.

As for palates, each person knows their own well. But  cooking is also guided by common sense and bread is no different. For example, if you eat something with sauce, a doughy bread would always be recommended for mopping it up. But things change if you have a sandwich to be eaten standing up as you must consider a bread with a harder crust which can support the weight of the filling.

It is also normal to recommend that a flavourful bread should be eaten with things that won't mask the taste, like softer cheeses or mild cured meats. And on the contrary, if you have a very flavourful meal, it is best to opt for a white, seedless bread that only contributes texture and a mild flavour. 

Among the obvious harmonies are crunchy white breads such as 'Pan de Cristal' or crackers with cured meats, serving as a contrast to their saltiness; Smoked fish goes well with rye, as its dough has a more bitter taste; and corn bread goes well with sweet foods such as jams, butters and quince jelly. White bread, the classic loaf, is perfect for lamb or roast meats and wholegrain goes well with strong soups and stews for its intense flavour. Country bread, with its compact dough, is ideal with rice as well as for sandwiches with melted cheese. 


Lastly, we have what is known in Spain as black bread, associated with central European countries. Bursting with flavour, it is suitable for fatty foods like salmon, smoked fish and salads with bitter vegetables like spinach, arugula and endive. Fortunately we have such a  wide choice of breads available to us so try some new textures and flavours, it really is a world of its own. 


[contributed by  J.L Williams]

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