Chile is one of the countries with the largest number of bread consumers. It is very common to include it at breakfast, sometimes also a small piece at lunchtime, and also on the most popular time called once, which would be somewhat equivalent to dinner.
But in Chile it’s very common to consume this bread along with a tea or coffee. The spread or toppings often used with bread are diverse, the most common ones being cheese, ham, and delicious avocado.
The bread that I am presenting today is one of the most popular ones in Chile, the famous marraqueta, although in some regions of Chile, it’s also known as pan francés (French bread) or pan batido (whipped bread”).
In Chile, there are many bakeries and it’s very easy and accessible to buy bread, especially of this kind.
Now let me give you some very important tips that I shared on my blog, in order to successfully develop this recipe.
I first need to give you some tips before even explaining the recipe here, because while it’s not difficult to make this bread in a homemade way, the problem is often because of the type of flour that’s utilized, but also mainly in the baking temperature and the oven itself. If you don’t follow these tips, you’ll hardly get a crispy crust with a light crumb inside.
You would ideally want to use a bread flour, as usually found in the United States, where in some other countries it’s found as 00 flour. These flours have a high protein content, which enables the formation of gluten and therefore a good leavening is achieved, i.e. those small gas pockets are created inside the bread, giving it a spongy texture.
It is very important that you can properly measure the temperature, as you need to use a very hot oven at 425 F (220 C). But above all, that you can bake with steam… but how? Simply by placing a pan of hot water at the base of the oven, or on a rack as low as possible in the oven. It is also good to have a spray bottle, in order to spray some water on the bread, thereby achieving a with a gold color and with some shine on the crust, without the need to use eggs. The dough should be easy to work with, as well as wet.
- 8 cups flour
- 2½ cups water (at room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- In a cup put some warm water, dissolve the yeast along with the sugar. Let the mix rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the flour and salt. Add the yeast and water mixture.
- Form a uniform and semi-soft dough. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes.
- Place the dough into a large bowl, previously sprayed with a little bit of cooking spray (you can alternatively use butter instead). Allow to ferment for 30 minutes.
- Then, divide the dough into portions of 3.5 oz each. You may use your own hand to calculate and extract equally-sized portions.
- Wind each portion, which refers to forming evenly-shaped dough balls with the palm of the hand, in a circular motion.
- Let the dough rest again for 20 minutes.
- Join the dough balls by two portions together at a time, and knead slightly to make them more elongated.
- Then with an accessory like a knife sharpener, divide the dough in the middle, as shown in the photos.
- Then place the shaped pieces of dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Another way is to place the bread on top of a buttered baking tray.
- Ideally, let the bread rest for another 20 minutes at least.
Bake for about 18 minutes in a 450 F oven, or until the bread is golden brown on top.