These tortas de aceite, meaning olive oil wafers, originate from Andalusia and they are one of those sweet things that are well known and widely eaten throughout Spain because they are just delicious. They are one of those wafers you eat unnoticedly one after another… to regret it after a few days when you cannot button up your trousers… And it was one of those recipes that has been in the pipeline since years ago, so what better occasion than the celebration of the World Bread Day to tackle them. It is also one of those miraculous cases where the taste of the homemade product is identical to the purchased one… yes, I tell you, it’s unbelievable, they are just as delicious, with their anise flavour. Only their looks are not just as wonderful, but you can not compare a home oven with an industrial oven. The taste though… mmm.
The recipe is taken from the Andalusian government specification for the production of tortas de aceite, but modified and fine-tuned according to some hints found here and there, even at Wild Yeast (Susan succeeded in making wonderfully looking tortas). This is what the Government of Andalusia tells us about these tortas:
The name “TORTA DE ACEITE” expresses the specific characteristics of the product since it is a confection made from extra virgin olive oil in a proportion 27.7%. The combination of this factor with its fully manual processing, gives the product its most precious qualities: a light, thin crust, a flaky interior and its distinctive flavor and aroma of olive oil.
Well, that’s it, all you need is good virgin olive oil (bushels of oil…), and to pour a lot of love in preparing them.
Tortas de aceite y anís, sweet olive oil wafers
Yields around 25 tortas
- 660g AP-flour (the recommended flour is W=100 strength, that means something in between all-purpose and bread flour. I used 350g spelt and 310g AP flour. You know the exact amount can vary depending on the flour absorption qualities.)
- 27g inverted sugar *
- 230g water
- 13g fresh yeast
- 280g virgin olive oil
- 10g aniseed
- 7g sesame seeds
- 3g salt
- 10g plain sugar
- 0,3g aniseed oil or essence
* Inverted sugar is commonly used to retard sugar crystallization in the food industry and to retain moisture in packaged foods and expand shelf life (source). It’s very easy to make at home, by heating common sugar in some water with lemon juice and sodium bicarbonate. I guess the recipe includes inverted sugar only because it is a commercial formula. At home it could be omitted and you could use plain sugar, in which case, as invert sugar has a sweetening power of 130 compared to 100 of sucrose, the final amount would be at 27g·130/100 + 10g = 45g of normal sugar. Although it would be necessary to slightly adjust the amount of flour, as invert sugar is liquid and plain sugar is solid.
- Weigh the flour and put in a bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and mix well (I do this in a stand mixer).
- Add the solid ingredients and knead a couple of minutes. It really is not necessary to develop the gluten, I did it because I love to knead.
- Cover the dough with a shower cap and let double in bulk. Allow the yeastie-beasties to enjoy the moment, after all these happy little creatures believe that life is nothing but eating and replicating… unaware that they live and work for a supreme being until they are slaughtered in an oven… How poignant. The specification indicates that the dough must be between 25º and 28ºC after kneading… Mine scored a perfect temperature, as you can see in the photo.
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC if convection type, higher if radiation.
- When the dough has doubled in bulk, put on the counter and pat it to deflate. Pinch dough balls the size of an apricot and roll them into circles of about 20cm in diameter and about 3mm thick. There is no need to flour the countertop because oil oozes from every pore of the dough. Put sugar on a plate and coat one side of each torta by resting it on the sugar. Place the wafers on parchment paper with sugar side up and bake around 10 minutes. Be careful when approaching the end of the baking, because my experience is that since the edges start to toast until they get completely browned it may take less than a couple of minutes. This may be due to the fact that invert sugar caramelizes at a lower temperature than sucrose.
- When done, take them out to a cooling rack. The aroma throughout the house is fantastic. I recommend to bake these wafers if you have visitors whom you wish to ask some favor. They will not refuse.
This bread goes to the celebration of the World Bread Day at the blog 1 x umrühren bitte.