When I arrived in Valencia over 20 years ago, I was not really aware that the language valenciano existed. I remember chortling to myself in a supermarket as I spied a packet of iced buns labelled ‘Fartons’. Worse, later, I even pompously wrote to the organisers of a festival suggesting they change the festival name ‘Estic Fart’ to something that would not cause international confusion. Politely, they told me that it was their language and they would do what they liked! Now graduated in my Valencian life, I know fart means fed. ‘Estic fart’, I’m fed up and a Farton is the perfect something to feed you up, which it does both through design and end result!
The Farton is the invention of the Polo family from Titaguas (Comunidad Valenciana). After the civil war and the scarcity of food, they moved to the more prosperous town of Algemesi and got involved in the production of food. Years later, they moved to the more horticultural area of Alboraya where they set up an ultramarino shop around 1960. Surrounded by the fields of tiger nuts used to make the traditional horchata drink, they decided that they could improve the traditional accompaniment of Rosquilleta (bread stick) used to ‘mojar’ (dunk) with horchata with their own recipe.
Fartons were specially designed to be airy and light so as to absorb more horchata and long enough to dip to the bottom of the glass. There are now two versions, a more pastry version and the traditional bread bun version. Now, half a century later, the factory of the Polo family are making 25.000 ‘fartons’ an hour!
In this recipe, we will make a modest 10 of the more traditional bread one. Made with sunflower oil and just a little sugar it is not too unhealthy for a tea-time treat. And in these days where some are having to live on food banks, while others feel the pressure to diet, detox or fast, it is refreshing to have a recipe that’s named for the simple joy of being full. We don’t know how lucky we are! So, eat sensibly and take care how your food is produced but also enjoy it. In other words, keep calm and farton!
300g Strong flour (harina de fuerza)
50 ml Sunflower oil or Corn oil
50 ml Water
1 free-range egg
25g fresh yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
For the glaze
100g Icing sugar
2 dessert spoons of warm water
Dissolve the yeast with a little warm water and honey. Whisk the egg with the sugar. When the yeast has started working (frothing slightly), mix with the eggs and sugar and start to work into the measured and sieved flour.
When the mix has started to come away from the sides of the bowl, add the oil and salt and continue to knead with your hands until it is well mixed. Place your dough on a lightly floured board and then knead for at least 10 minutes (or cheat with a mixer)
When your dough is silky soft, place it in a grease bowl under a clean damp cloth for about 30 minutes. Next take your dough, stretch it out a little and the make portions of about 50g each. You should get about 10 rolls out of this quantity. Leave them to rise again for about 5 minutes.
With a rolling pin, roll the ball into a rectangular shape, and then gently roll the mix up like a sleeping bag. It doesn’t have to be too even, that is part of the charm.
Place your little fartons in a large tupperware box and seal. Leave to ferment for about 3 hours.
Finally pre-heat the oven to the hottest temperature, 250 c if possible. Place your fartons on a baking tray. Lower the oven temperature to 200c and cook near the bottom of the oven for about 12 minutes. Make up the glaze with the icing sugar and warm water and while the fartons are still hot, paint them with generous quantities of the glaze.
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