El binomio pan y vino conforman, probablemente, los dos alimentos más antiguos y primordiales para el ser humano. En Vivanco, el vino es nuestra razón de ser, y para entender bien estos dos productos, hoy nos ponemos en el lado del pan. Lo hacemos de la mano de Antonio Ramos, quien inició la aventura de tener su propia panadería para recuperar los panes que enamoran, los que invaden con su olor toda una calle y hacen inevitable no hincar el diente en su crujiente corteza. La pasión que pone en el Obrador de San Francisco, en la castiza carrera de San Francisco de Madrid, le ha valido ganar la Miga de Oro (los Óscars del mundo de las masas), para deleite de sus vecinos de La Latina y todo Madrid.
/ What prompted you to open the Obrador in San Francisco? /
I was a surveyor and I was involved in public works. I started in this world making bread at home, as a hobby. I was passionate about it and, by chance, I started working in a bakery in Madrid, and I went from making bread at home to making bread on a large scale in a professional bakery. After that cycle, my partner encouraged me to do it on my own without depending on others, and I decided to open the Obrador de San Francisco, which has just celebrated its second birthday.
/ Where does your passion for bread come from? /
It comes out of the blue. A lot of people make bread because their previous generations were bakers and it's a trade they learnt. In my case, I didn't think it was like that. When I switched from working in public works to making bread with my hands, all full of flour, it was shocking for my mother, she felt it was ignoble. At a family meal, my aunt said to me: "In the end, you're going to follow your grandfather's tradition". My mother got a bit nervous: "Shut up, shut up" (laughs). That's when I found out that my grandfather, after the civil war, worked as a baker in his village, Els Ibarsos, which is famous for making the best bread in the province of Castellón. Besides, my other grandfather is a milkman, my father a butcher... It seems that in the family, we are all feeders of people (laughs). In my house, we have always tried to make sure that everything is tasty, of high quality and as natural as possible.
How is your day-to-day life in the bakery?
Our day to day is to make bread. Our process is very slow. My partner is now preparing all the bread that will be baked tomorrow. They are very slow fermentations that require patience and timing, but that wait gives you results that are worth it. Customers can smell the freshly baked bread when they come in, they can see that what they are eating is being baked in front of their very eyes. We want to reinforce the idea that there is no cheating here, something that is not very common in food in general.
Is this care for the product your hallmark?
It is one of them. We are not very purist, but we try to be very pure. In our case, we don't use yeast or any kind of additive, although you can make good bread with yeast, as they do in France. We don't use any shortcuts that we believe have largely destroyed the bread culture in Spain. If we go to any country, Portugal, Germany or France, there are very good breads; in Italy they try to preserve their pizzas, focaccias and ciabattas. However, Spain is a land of cereals, but the process has been prostituted and the raw material has been skimped on. In the end, the product is a disaster. Fortunately, little by little, a few of us are once again betting on the product, perhaps because we are not intoxicated by the production model, only motivated by the desire to make good bread.
/ Why do you think bread and wine don't go out of fashion? /
Because they are very basic elements. They are so common on everyone's tables that, perhaps for that reason, they have been somewhat neglected, or at least bowed to the interests of production. They are also products that last a long time and are nutritionally extraordinary.
How do you feel about producing an age-old food?
The sensation is magical, because suddenly you give life to a dough that is nothing more than flour and you see how things start to happen. It is a mixture of magic, mystery and respect, but it is clear that we are not inventing anything: what we do has been done for thousands of years. In any case, we are doing a work of recovery.
If you had to recommend one of your breads, which one would it be?
I always like to recommend a loaf of white wheat: it's simple but very representative. You are tasting a bread that you will find in 99% of bakeries, but made the way we like it. We also like to make special breads, with many ingredients. But with these breads, it is easier to mask a bad dough and a bad process. A horrible dough with a few olives, nuts or sultanas can taste good because of the flavour of these ingredients. In a basic bread, there is less room to hide.
/ Do you have any memories where wine was present? /
In my childhood, my grandfather also produced wine in the area of Villafamés, Castellón. I remember the fields, the vineyards, the winemaking, the barrels and the aromas. Everything that comes to us through our senses, through sight and also through smell, stays with us. They are very beautiful memories that are interwoven and stay with us forever.