When it comes to foods that Spain is renowned for, bread is not one of them. Personally, I think of strolling down the Champs-Elysees, a French baguette in one hand, and a croissant in the other, making frequent trips to my mouth. Although France is very close in proximity to Spain, Spain is trailing far behind when it comes to Boulangeries and Panaderias. Most bakeries in Spain are selling white bread filled with additives, lacking in color, texture, and that special something. Today, ShBarcelona will tell you more about where to buy the best bread in the city.
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The best bread in Barcelona can be found at Baluard. The owner, Anna Bellsolà, who is a Catalan native, was born into a family of bakers from 3 generations before her, so flour is practically in her genes. Before Baluard opened in 2007, many locals would claim that good bread in Barcelona was a lost art, just a beautiful nostalgic and aromatic memory. It was a dark time for bread aficionados in the city. The craft of baking had been seemingly lost, that is, until Baluard came to the rescue. Thankfully there are now four Baluard locations in the city.
Apart from passion, there are many ingredients and a lot of science that are necessary for the optimal loaf of bread. For those who have ever tried to bake bread, you know that baking a good loaf of bread is a triumph, and baking an average loaf of bread is the more common result. Baluard is different because their bread is labored over, without lamentation, but rather, fermentation. The fermentation process takes about 15-18 hours, and there is no machinery or assembly line used to make these hand-crafted pouches of heaven. Anna makes her bread with a natural sourdough starter, additive-free flour, some of which is organic, using a stone oven heated by firewood. Factors you have to take into consideration before baking EACH type of bread: bake time, rise time, baking conditions, and handling/construction of each loaf.
Personal favorites/best sellers
There are over 40 options of bread to choose from at Baluard. There is bread filled with olives (amazing), rye, whole wheat, standard light baguettes, and even my personal favorite, dried tomatoes and herbs. I love the baguette de Pilar which was named after Anna’s grandmother. Two other popular Catalan bread, but with a Baluard twist is the Pan de Pagès, and the Paneto de cereals. The croissants are divine, some of the best I’ve had in the city, and make for a perfect breakfast on the go. The bread not only looks different, it smells different, obviously tastes different, and even feels different. You can hear the soft crunch on the perfectly browned outsides, and the moist texture on the inside make for the perfect way to ruin your carb-free diet.
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Where to get enlightened
Be prepared for lines and for certain items to be sold out. I highly recommend waking up early to beat some of the crowd. You can find a Baluard at the following locations:
- Baluard Barceloneta: Baluard 38 (Barceloneta Metro L4)
- Baluard Poblenou: Marià Aguiló 51 (Poblenou Metro L4)
- Baluard Pau Claris: Pau Claris 188 (Diagonal Metro L3)
- Baluard Provenza: Provença 279 (Diagonal Metro L3)
Have you tried bread from Baluard yet? Which is your favorite?