Alcalá de los Panaderos

For many years Alcalá de Guadaíra has been known as Alcalá de los Panaderos (Alcalá of the Bakers), because the baking activity that took place here has marked the city in many aspects. The development of this very specific activity has been the result of the combination of a series of factors that have benefited the boom of the bakery industry in Alcalá.

One of these factors may be the abundant quality raw material that was available in the area, since there have always been large wheat farms in the vicinity. To this we had to add a nearby source of hydraulic energy such as the Guadaíra River in which there had been a milling tradition since Roman times.

Due to its proximity to the capital, Alcalá supplied bread to Seville, which was one of the most important cities of the time with a great urban growth, thus increasing its demand.

All this contributed to the growth of the industry, which went from making bread for Alcalá’s own consumption to specializing in this activity and selling it outside the city.

The trades around bread

The work was entirely handmade.

The women(sobadoras) made pieces of bread, which the men(horneros) then put in the oven.

There was a shovel master, a kneader, a journeyman, a helper and an apprentice.

There were also two special labor categories:
and correturnos.

The “faltero” was called at any time and immediately substituted for the “hornero” who, for some reason, was absent from work. The correturno was replacing the day of rest of each baker in the different bakeries.

The working day

To learn more

Visit the interpretation center of the bakery industry

Work began in the late afternoon when the “horneros” prepared the firewood and the ovens hours before they were to be used.

The shovel master determined the amount of flour to be used and, together with the kneader, calculated the amount of yeast that would be needed. The yeast or sourdough was the fermented dough from the previous day. The quality of the bread and therefore the fame of the bakery and its master baker depended to a large extent on the correct calculation of these quantities.

When the women arrived, the dough was already ready to begin to “sobar”, that is, to make the different pieces of raw bread.

There was an extensive repertoire of pieces such as teleras, medias bobas, bobillos, bollos, albardas, molletes…that the women made according to the orders placed by the deliverymen the day before.

When the dough was ready to be baked, it was placed in the oven, first the small pieces that needed less cooking and then the larger pieces that needed more time and at a lower temperature than the previous ones.

To learn more

Visit the interpretation center of the bakery industry

Flour

The flour with which the bread was made came both from the stone mills on the riverbanks and from the mills that some bakeries had, where each baker produced his own flour by mixing new wheat with that of previous years in appropriate proportions.

This had a decisive influence on the quality of the bread.

Transportation

Bread was transported to Seville on animals such as mules, although later with the arrival of the railroad to Alcalá, the train began to be used as a means of transportation. We went from two hours of hard walking to Seville to only half an hour by train, so it was no longer necessary to get up so early.

Over time, bread production became more and more industrialized and the processes became less and less artisanal with the use of machinery that made the work faster and easier.

Other resources that may interest you

Tourist Office

Harinera del Guadaíra

Avda. Tren de los Panaderos, s/n
Alcalá de Guadaíra 41500
Seville

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