O restauração e documentação do centro gastronómico e arquivo com Pão cozido em forno a lenha

                                Bread with and without salt   PHOTO RAUL LUFINHA
My bread making skills are as you all know seriously lacking and with my recent venture into the territory of “no knead bread”, things went from bad to worse.An artesian bread making demonstration was perhaps what the doctor ordered?.The second stop on our action packed Saturday of Bloggers weekend was just this.Our destination -  Casa de Odeleite.I could barely hold back my excitement and anticipation about this visit, this was something something that was long overdue on my Casa Rosada list of things to do/places to visit.
For nearly two decades, the house of John Xavier de Almeida was an important trading centre in the village and parish of Odeleite, part of the municipality of Castro Marim. It was the richest house in the parish and the authentic nerve centre of the village, located on the banks of the river Guadiana.
In the early twentieth century it provided dried fruits,fertilizers and seeds for the local community.This once important trading post was acquired by the Castro Marim authorities and carefully salvaged and restored.Casa de Odeleite has been transformed it into an authentic historic recreation of a home and a very important gastronomic artefact. As an exhibition centre and archive visitors can enjoy, besides the residential areas,the restored cellar,sewing room,warehouse showing grains and pulses and the focus of our particular visit, the wood burning oven.

                                     A padeira, Dona Celísia Custódio           PHOTO RAUL LUFINHA
Lenha esteva para forno a lenha
                                                                                                                                 Dona Celísia Custódio was our
demonstrator.She fueled the oven with wood from the esteva plant
(rock rose),above.This infuses the bread with a distinctive aroma.Bread loves salt.You do not notice the taste of salt in most bread,not even a little bit..." She pinched some of the salt between her fingers and let it fall through the air. "Even a teaspoon of salt in a loaf of bread will change it so much. The salt helps stop the yeast from overgrowing so that the bread will rise but not spill out all over the oven. The loaf becomes strong, sturdy, and shapely. Without any salt at all, the bread will be crumbly and taste sour. Every good cook knows that bread loves…salt.Perhaps this is where I have been going wrong.She baked us loaves both with and without salt and with the fresh cheese from our previous stop and some olive oil we were able to sample the difference which also doubled up as a very welcome mid morning collation.

Fresh cheese warm bread and olive oil
 ..and the moral of this story if bread loves salt make sure you always have a few blossoms of Salmarim in your pocket.

some of the objects found in Casa de Odeleite

More interesting facts about 
Casa de Odeleite
About 1500 unique objects (artefacts, furniture ...) including a wedding dress were also recovered and many other documents (correspondence, invoices ...) belonging to the former owner, who shot himself in 1933.


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