Today's chefs are taking basic foods, like bread, and turning them into gourmet products. The Bread Every Day (Pan cada día) campaign aims to show how 3-Michelin-star restaurants are serving bread both on its own and also as an ingredient in different dishes, turning it into an element of haute cuisine.
Daily bread consumption is a habit that 3-Michelin-star chefs encourage at their restaurants; to this end, they prepare special breads to accompany each of their creations, helping balance out the nutritional requirements of a healthy diet.
Each restaurant offers an extensive bread selection, catering to all tastes and preferences. The team at Martín Berasategui's restaurant seeks out the excellent features in all foods, and bread is no different. "We aim to raise the status of a fundamental product in cooking and in all kinds of menus", says Berasategui.
His restaurant serves a range of artisan breads, "the most popular of which are rye, ten grain, and cornbread." The latter is egg yolk in color and intense, and has a very pronounced aroma; it is slightly acidic, and the crunchy crust "creates addiction", says the chef.
Carme Ruscalleda's Sant Pau restaurant also offers an exclusive and varied selection of breads, from English and wheat to toasted breadsticks made by artisan bakers. Even her rustic loaf wins customers over. Says Ruscalleda, each table has its own selection of breads, which are cut according to customer preferences. They also prepare semi-transparent sunflower seed bread, which is sometimes served with appetizers, and very thin breadsticks coated in nuts.
As for her customers' favorites, Ruscalleda says "Breads are served individually, according to the specific dish on the tasting menu. Our customers leave it up to us and they enjoy all of our creations". Some of Sant Pau's star dishes featuring bread include Prawns on thin artisan crackers, and another featuring toasted bread cubes dressed with the juices of sea cucumber fried lightly in olive oil.
Akelarre restaurant, by Pedro Subijana, offers three different types of bread during the meal: a five seed bread made from rye and wheat flour, salt and yeast; chapata (similar to ciabatta), also made from rye and wheat flour; and a traditional bread made from wild yeast using the typical pre-19th century baking technique.
Akelarre also serves different types of breads with specific dishes. For example, pita bread made with flour, milk, yeast and salt is served with Jabugo ham. The bread, which is hollow and very crunchy, is presented with the ham on top; once served, it is gently broken apart at the table using a spoon and then eaten by hand together with the ham.
The restaurant also serves a type of bread called sovigran with cold oysters and with gorgonzola cheese ice cream and brandy. Sovigran is made from wheat flour, bran, wheat germ, egg, butter, salt and yeast.
Akelarre also makes an artisan bread from wheat, butter and yeast, which is used for scrambled egg dishes, and for a morcilla spring roll which is served as an appetizer. "We also have a special wheat and barley gluten-free bread for people with celiac disease," he adds.
Azurmendi serves three different types of bread. Eneko Atxa, chef and owner, offers one made from locally-grown spelt; another made with milk from Juan Zabala, which has a "formidable texture"; and a third option with corn from Munguía, a town in Vizcaya province.
Says Juan Mari Arzak, it is "extremely important" to have bread with meals, "otherwise, an important component is missing". Arzak serves two types of bread, whole grain and white, made by Mikel Galparsolo, an artisan baker who has been with the restaurant for many years.
According to the chef, bread is made twice a day, at midday and at night, and customers can choose which they prefer. One of the most emblematic dishes that goes perfectly with bread is garlic soup, "although we use bread in several dishes on our menu," says Arzak.
Triticum, a young, innovative company that makes pre-baked bread for the haute cuisine segment, reveals the kinds of breads served at Celler Can Roca, named the world's best restaurant by UK food magazine Restaurant.
"We made wine bread, pa de vi del Celler, which took three years. During that time we conducted several tests to ensure an optimal final product—a wine bread with its own bouquet—using grapes from Empordà, from the vines of Celler Arché-Pagès", says the team.
In addition to that bread, they also serve focaccia, nut and apricot bread, campaña deluxe, a 900-gram traditional loaf, a rustic loaf and palet neutro. "All the breads are extremely special, and undergo a long period of natural fermentation and a 48-hour resting period on linens", they add.
These are breads that aim to express sensitivity and creativity of three gastronomic greats: Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca.