Turismo de Alcalá de Guadaíra

Alcalá's Bread


For many years Alcalá de Guadaíra has been known like Alcalá of the Bakers (de los Panaderos), as the baker activity carried out here has marked the town in many ways. The development of this specific activity has been the result from the union of several factors that have benefitted the prosperity of the baker industry in Alcalá.

One of these factors can be the abundant high-quality raw material at the zone, since there has been always in the surroundings large cortijos dedicated to wheat cultivation. You can add to this a close source of hydraulic power as the River Guadaíra, where mill tradition had existed since the Roman period.

Mill tradition had existed since the Roman period

We have also to mention the proximity to the capital city. Alcalá supplied bread to Seville, one of the most important cities of the time with a great urban growth, this fact made the demand increase.

All this contributed to the industry growth, and also that production for consumption in Alcalá turned into a specialization of this activity and selling it outside the village.

As we have said previously, the baker industry changed and this brought along a change also in the working conditions.

The work was totally handmade. Women (sobadoras, or handlers) made out pieces of bread that afterwards were introduced in the oven by men (horneros, bakers). There were several categories to carry out the work. There was a master of the shovel, a kneader, an officer, an assistant and an apprentice. There were also two special working categories: Faltero and correturnos.

The faltero was called at any time and was the immediate substitute to the baker who, due to any reason, had failed to go to job. The correturnos was the substitute during every baker day off from all the bakeries.

The work began in the evening when bakers prepared the firewood and they lit ovens hours before they started to be used. The master of the shovel arranged the quantity of flour that was going to be used and along with the kneader they calculated the yeast that was going to be needed. Yeast or sourdough was the dough fermented the previous day. Bread's quality and therefore, that bakery's reputation depended highly on the right calculation of these quantities.

When women arrived, the dough was ready to begin with handling, i.e., to make the different bread pieces in raw. There was an extensive repertoire of pieces like teleras, medias bobas, bobillos, bollos, albardas, molletes... that women made according the orders made by deliverymen the day before.

When the dough was ready to be baked they were put into the oven, first the small pieces that needed less baking and after the bigger pieces that needed more time and less temperature than the first ones.

The flour the bread was made with came from the stone mills of the banks and also from mills owned by the bakeries themselves where each baker produced his flour from a mixture of new types of wheat combined with types from the previous years in adequate proportions. This was of decisive influence on the bread's quality.

Bread was carried to Seville on animals like for example mules, although later when the railroad reached Alcalá, the train began to be used as means of transport. Two hours of hard walking to Seville turned into only half hour by train, so it was no longer necessary to get up so early.

As time went by, bread production became more industrialized and processes were less handmade with the use of machines that made work faster and easier.

At the present time, the baker industry has stopped being a basic pillar in the town economy, but bread still is a hallmark and one historic referent in the memory of all.

Descarga folleto turistico de gatronomia y ruta gastronomica

Tradicion panadera en Alcala
Representatives of Baker Industry and Tradition in Alcalá

Tren de Alcala
Old Baker Train from Alcalá

Preparando el horno de pan

Tradicion panadera en Alcala
Handlers Molding Pieces of Bread

credits · conditions and terms of use · privacy policy · RSS contents syndication · accessibility · web map · contact
home · meet alcalá · agenda · tourist guide · virtual office · professionals · join us
Ayuntamiento de Alcalá de Guadaíra (www.ciudadalcala.org)