Amazing breads

Ibiza and Formentera are home to some of the most curious breads you’ll ever taste. Even Ibán Yarza, one of the world’s top baking experts, has been blown away.
NATIV
06/07/2023

Ibán Yarza is in love with Ibiza’s traditional breads. He can’t get enough of them. “There are very special breads here such as crostas, which are cooked twice to leave them dry and are a genuine historical and ethnographic treasure,” the baking expert explains. “The first cousin of the crosta is the galeta forta, a kind of pitta bread that is also dry. Both were created for long sea voyages due to their long shelf life, and have managed to survive until now.” Curiously, bread in Ibiza does not have salt, nor is it very spongy or white. “This is something really special,” explains Yarza, who is originally from Bilbao but has lived in Ibiza for the last seven years. This means that bakers don’t have to use additives to make it look white, or use white flour.

THE REDISCOVERY OF XEIXA

Something that has caught Yarza’s attention is that the wheat traditionally used in the Balearic Islands is hard – “something typical in sunny regions”. This meant that soft wheats such as Xeixa fell out of favour and were no longer widely grown. But in recent years Xeixa has been rediscovered and is now used by some of the best bakers on the island.

Amazing breads

ARCHAIC SWEET BREADS

The island nature of Ibiza and Formentera has allowed breads that should have disappeared years ago to survive. “One example is the Nadal biscuit, part of a dish that is combined with a kind of liquid nougat, mixed with chicken broth and lots of spices… giving rise to a cream that it is dipped into.

“The incredible thing about the Nadal biscuit is that it is a sweet bread that isn’t spongy at all, which is rare today among doughs, such as brioche, for example,” Yarza marvels. He encourages us to discover this universe of unusual breads for ourselves in traditional bakeries such as Forn Can Coves, For Can Bufí and Can Blay.

Amazing breads

Llonguet’ from Ibiza vs ‘Llonguet’ from Mallorca: spot the differences

Ibiza is different. An example is the island’s llonguet bread roll, which is different from those found in other parts of the Balearic Islands or Catalonia. “The Ibizan llonguet doesn’t have a cut in the middle, it ferments more, and that indentation disappears. Outsiders might say this is a technical error, but here they say that it looks softer and doesn’t scratch the palate.” It is the king when it comes to making sandwiches.

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