Did you have a good weekend? I hope you have enjoyed your first pints out and spent some time shopping. We deserve these little treats so let’s be responsible and not ruin this so much waited freedom.
The last few days of sun have taken me back to my holidays in Jaen. I have mentioned this place here very often because is where my parents come from and I feel very attached to it. Jaen is a lovely rural province in the heart of the Andalusian region full of olive groves, lovely villages and castles everywhere. Indeed, it is famous for two relevant facts: leading the national olive oil production and having Europe’s largest concentration of castles (it is World’s second just after Palestine). My parents, who are from two different places, move to Barcelona in the early 90’s, but all my family still lives there.
Since I was a kid, I used to spend every summer up to three weeks there with my grandparents. At my dad’s hometown, Sabiote, people eats curious bread buns known as Ochios and pronounced o-chee-os. They are round, spongy and all-purpose, but what makes them something different is their sweet paprika flavour. The bars usually serve them as a tapa with local chorizo, morcilla, Serrano ham, cheese… The alternatives are endless and delicious.
Are you a bread lover? Do you enjoy baking your own? If so, this recipe is for you. This one particularly comes straight from my aunt Pepi and I promise you will repeat it over and over. My advice: do all you can to find Pimenton de la Vera for a genuine cooking. If unlucky, any sweet paprika will work well.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 12 TO 16 UNITS DEPENDING OF THE SIZE)
Strong white flour (500 g)
Water (250 ml)
Dried yeast (7 g)
Olive oil (100 ml)
Salt (20 g / 1 tbsp)
Honey (1 tbsp)
For the wash
Sweet paprika (1 teaspoon)
DIRECTIONS OF COOKING
In a bowl, tip the flour and the yeast and mix both ingredients. Then, add and toss the rest of the ingredients with exception of the water and the salt. Finally, open a hole in the middle and gradually drop the water (with the salt already dissolved into it). Mix until you get a non-sticky and uniform batter.
2. Transfer the batter to an even, lightly floured surface and knead for about 15-20 minutes. Once you get an elastic, uniform and satin dough put it into a greased bowl and cover with a clean cloth or cling film. Let it proof for about two hours or until doubles the size.
3. Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface, deflate it and roll the buns. Line them in a baking tray covered with baking paper and separated from one another. Cover again with a cloth and rise them for a further hour.
4. Preheat your oven at 200 Celsius. Mix the sweet paprika with olive oil and wash every bun using a kitchen brush.
5. Finally, bake for 15-20 minutes with top and bottom heat. Very important: you must cover the buns with kitchen foil during the last five minutes of baking. Otherwise, the paprika will burn and your ochios will taste bitter.