Pan de agua (Water bread)
This recipe is based on one by Xavier Barriga from his book Pan (ISBN 8425343267). My version below uses a different method and also requires you to start this the evening before the day you want to bake it.
It is an extremely wet dough (120% hydration) and I would advise you to mix it using a food mixer with a beater or whisk (the mixture is too wet to benefit from using a dough hook). If you have a Kenwood Chef / Major, the flexi-beater is ideal.
- 10g fresh yeast
- 600g sparkling mineral water
- 500g very strong bread flour, eg Waitrose Very Strong Canadian Bread Flour
- 12g salt
- Dissolve the yeast in the water.
- Pour into a bowl and add 250g of the flour.
- Mix well, cover in clingfilm and leave overnight at room temperature.
- The following morning add the remaining flour and the salt.
- Mix for about 5 minutes on the second slowest speed.
- Cover and leave to rest for 2 hours.
- Grease a 900g loaf tin with oil - groundnut oil is best as it has a high smokepoint.
- Pour the dough into it (it should come up to about three-quarters of the tin.
- Allow to prove for 1 hour, covered.
- Meanwhile, place a tray or pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven.
- Switch on the oven to its highest temperature.
- When the dough has finished proving, sprinkle with flour, put it in the oven and reduce the temperature to 190° C (375° F - gas 5), [fan oven 170° C & reduce cooking time by 10 mins per hour].
- Bake for 60 minutes.
- Once baked, turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool.
- If the bread is a little soft on the bottom, turn it over, place on a baking tray and return to the oven for 10 minutes or so until crisp.
As this is a wet dough, I would recommend that you line your bread tin with Bake-O-Glide, or something similar.