18 May 2008


Spanish Bread
Hispanis (with title)
I had a little time to burn on Facebook a few months ago which led me to answering a "Likeness" quiz. The point is, you rank a bunch of things in a certain category and it'll calculate how closely your answers are with your friends'. One such quiz I answered was a "Seven Deadly Sins" one. After a little deliberation about what should come up on top (hmmm), I clicked on "Gluttony." It made sense. And it's not just a matter of liking food and flavor.
Empty Bag of 150 Fun Size Candy Bars
You see, for some reason, we had this giant bag of 150 Candy Bars, which contained an assortment of all the flavors you see above. It was finished in a matter of a few weeks, which really shouldn't have been the case. It was just me and my dad eating it! Out of the blue you decide you're in the mood for something sweet, and you snatch one (my personal favorites are Reese's, plain milk chocolate, M&M's, and Snickers), and before you know it you're eating 3-4 candy bars a day. Not good. It's for this reason that I implore everyone I know to not give me candy bars, so at least the temptation's not there.

During the time we had to go to the province to develop community health programs, our well-meaning adviser would buy around 30 pieces of mini "Spanish Bread" for everyone to eat. I don't know what I was thinking, but once the brown paper bag got passed to me, it stopped moving and I was eating around 10 or so of them. Another instance: it was somebody's birthday and one of her friends got a 9" chocolate mousse cake and a set of plastic forks for everyone to eat during class (there were 160 of us-- no one would notice). Again, the cake stopped at my seat and before you know it, I ate a whole third of the cake. Same goes for a big bag of Kettle Popcorn, a box of custard-filled rolls, etc. Obviously I had (have?) some sort of sick addiction, and worst of all, gluttony deprives others. I'm working on it. Coincidentally, I just had a visit to the dentist today and there were no cavities, thank heavens (oi, can you beat that? 26 years, not a single cavity!), but I ought to watch it before George Harrison's warning comes true.
Hispanis (inside)
This is the object of my obsession, "Spanish Bread." There's really nothing to it-- it's a chewy butter-and-milk bread filled with butter and brown sugar, and is a staple of any panaderia. But it really is addictive. I've changed the recipe from the original for optimum sweetness. (I really wanted to include pictures of a trip to a local panaderia, but there was none nearby that really reminded me of my childhood-- so that's pending for now.)

Spanish Bread
I made a rookie mistake and placed the dough overnight in the fridge for rising. Naturally, since the dough has butter, it solidified. So I had to thaw it until room temperature, but I think in the end the pores suffered. The original recipe also had bread crumbs in the filling-- an unnecessary extender for home bakers, since all it accomplished was blunting the taste of the filling.

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast

  • 60mL (1/4 cup) warm water

  • 120g (1/2 cup) whole milk

  • 112g (1 stick or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

  • 67g (1/3 cup) sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 420g (3 cups) all purpose flour (reserve an additional 70g or 1/2 cup)

  • 55g (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

  • 100g (1/2 cup packed) brown sugar

  • 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

  • Dry bread crumbs for sprinkling (about 35g or 1/4 cup at the most)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, the 112g melted butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Add the yeast and mix well. Add the flour and mix with a strong spoon until it forms a stiff dough. Dump into a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth. It will still be a bit sticky. You can use some of the reserved flour if the dough is still too wet-- just dust your hands with a little of the flour and throw some on the surface you're kneading on, you don't want to add too much flour (don't feel pressured to use up the 70g). Alternatively, all the kneading can be done on a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, but I don't have one. Place into a greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, prepare the filling by combining the brown sugar, 1/2 tbsp flour, and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Lightly grease a sheet pan. Gently punch down the dough and divide into 16 portions. Roll out each into a thin circle about as big as your palm. Brush the top of each with some of the 1/2 stick melted butter and sprinkle liberally with the filling. Roll each up and place it seam-side down on the prepared sheet pan. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and leave to proof for one hour. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and serve warm.

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