Aranda Olive Oil Torta Recipe, the traditional bread of the Duero region in Castile

The Aranda Olive Oil Torta is one of the most traditional and consumed breads in the province of Burgos. Although it is known as Aranda’s Torta, this bread is present in almost all the traditional bakeries in the villages of Burgos and in some regions of Castile and Leon bathed by the Duero River such as Valladolid or Soria. That is why some people also call it Torta Castellana. Its origin, although it is uncertain due to its antiquity, is associated to the farmers who used a portion of flattened dough to know if the ovens were at the right temperature for the production of normal bread, lamb and the rest of the traditional recipes of the region.

It is an ideal bread to accompany the baked lamb typical of the province of Burgos, but also of almost all Castile and Leon. The soft texture and crispy crust of the Olive Oil Torta make this bread melt in your mouth and disappear too quickly from the table; ideal for dipping sauce and cleaning the dish thoroughly. It is a simple recipe that only requires a certain amount of rest to achieve the perfect texture. The sugar torta can also be prepared with the same bread base; just by adding a good amount of sugar on top before sending the torta to the oven. This sweet version, also very typical of Burgos, is delicious with a good coffee for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Ingredients for the Aranda Olive Oil Torta (2 tortas)

  • 350 ml water
  • 500 g of flour
  • 15 g of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • One teaspoon of sugar to activate the yeast (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sugar in abundance to prepare the sweet version

How to Make It:

  1. The first thing you need to do is put the water in a large bowl; to which you will add the yeast and the teaspoon of sugar (optional). The sugar in this case helps the yeast to start acting, especially in winter. It can be perfectly removed, especially if the temperature of the room exceeds 23ºC.
  2. The water-yeast mixture is left to rest for 15-20 minutes or until bubbles start to appear. In this way you will know that the yeast is in good condition.
  3. To continue making our Aranda Olive Oil Torta, add the flour to the bowl and the salt. Stir everything with your hands or with the electric sticks if you have them. This is a sticky, fairly liquid dough. It is necessary that it is like this so that the crumb is soft and spongy and the crust is crunchy.
  4. For the Aranda Olive Oil Torta to be perfect, let it rest overnight in the fridge so that the flavour is intensified even more. If you do not want to wait, you can let it rest for 1 hour or until it doubles in volume.
  5. Once the dough has rested, spread it out on parchment paper with the help of a little oil in your hands to form a disc. Also stick your fingers into the dough so that the oil penetrates better. Finally, double the volume. This last step will depend on the temperature of the room. Around 23ºC should not take more than 30 minutes.
  6. Before baking it, add a good jet of oil on the surface of the torta and distribute it with our hands carefully. It is an olive oil torta, do not be afraid to pour too much. If you make the sweet version, this is the moment to add a good amount of sugar on top.
  7. To finish off, simply bake the Aranda Olive Oil Torta at 250ºC in a preheated oven. This type of dough needs very high temperatures to make the crust crunchy. Also bake the torta on the last level of the oven so that it is as close as possible to the hot base of the oven. Let it bake for 15 minutes or until it is golden. It is best to eat it freshly made, but cold is equally delicious!

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