Begoña San Pedro, the best rosconera in Madrid: “On the 5th we can make up to 1,000 roscones”
The roscones of La Miguiña (now Madreamiga by La Miguiña) have crept into the top of the lists of best roscones in Madrid since some years. Its flavor, its long cold fermentation, its ingredients, all natural and local, have made this typical Christmas sweet a delight even for the most reticent.
And behind this work of art is Begoña San Pedro (37 years old). She has been a baker since she was 19, when she worked as a saleswoman in her in-laws’ oven, but she has placed her bakery among the best in Spain, winning the Golden Crumb award two years ago.
“One of the bakers left and I said I wanted to try. I started taking courses at the Baking School and we decided to open La Miguiña, which is the one before Madreamiga,” he explains to MagasIN amidst the noise of the machines that don’t stop for a moment during these holidays.
“The workshop now works 24 hours a day,” he answers with a laugh when asked about his schedule. “We started three but now there are 20 people working in the oven“without stopping between roscones and different types of breads all made with sourdough, their specialty.
It is not difficult to find a line in front of your bakery any day of the yearbut when Christmas comes and they start making roscones, the wait is even longer: “We have never advertised the bakery. I think it is because of the product itself, its quality, and people have come with their mouths mouth commenting on it. We have people who come from the mountains one day and take bread for the whole week.“.
And their bakery is not on a busy street or in an easy-to-find area. Begoña San Pedro has gotten people to put La Miguiña in their GPS so they can go exclusively to get their bread. “When we started here, the neighbors themselves told us that we were not going to last…And I thought we had to try it. It is true that the street where we are (c/Teruel, number 26), either you come to Madreamiga (La Miguiña), or you live here, or you have made a mistake, because people do not know it. We are not so close to Orense Street and it is a very complicated Tetouan area. We’re in the middle of two worlds,” he jokes.
However, clients end up finding this warm bakery and even more so now at Christmas, where requests for their roscones accumulate in a long list of orders that are limited by the artisanal process that goes into this product.
“The strongest day, around January 5, we can get about 1,000 roscones. The limitation is due to the way we work, prolonged fermentation. If we did it with full yeast and short fermentation, we could get more than double, but with this way of making the roscón, 1,000 is the daily maximum,” explains Begoña San Pedro.
But what is it about La Miguiña’s roscones that everyone blesses them with? “I started making a slightly more basic roscón but I went to a course and saw that they made one with olive oil, and it is a product that I love. My mother is from Jaén and for me she is the best there is. In my house there was no other type of oil“he clarifies.
So he started using free-range eggs from free-range hens; Galician artisan butter (the minimum); whole sugar; orange blossom water from Luca de Tena; sea salt and extra virgin olive oil and for the dough, strong organic flour, without chemical treatments and fermentations of a minimum of 18 hours.
Besides, The only decoration that these roscones have is made with organic hand-candied orangeshomemade syrup, crunchy caramelized almonds and sprinkled with sugar, completely dispensing with artificial essences.
“Olive oil is healthier than butter and more ours, it is a very Spanish product. So I started making them like this. This was six years ago and Every Christmas I change the recipe a little to improve the sponginess, the flavor, the aroma, the texture.. Because I’m learning every year to do it better,” acknowledges this rosconera.
This year, the innovation has been in the aromatization, to intensify it: “We have changed the shape of the essences. Now we mix the orange, lemon and orange blossom two days before so that it takes on more flavor. This roscón is aromatically better because of the infusion from two days before”.
Of course, no one expects cream or truffle or any other filling in La Miguiña’s roscones. “We don’t fill them because our roscones are very good, the dough is very tender, sweet and can be eaten alone. Yes indeed, We sell the sleeve of truffle and cream separately because in a family meal there are people who like it alone, others with cream, with truffle… So everyone serves it however they want.
Additionally, this year, as a novelty, people from outside Madrid or who cannot get to their workshop in Tetuán can order them online and They serve all of Spain: “We pack them in a cellophane bag so they don’t stay dry, because they arrive in Spain the day after cooking, and they last perfectly for up to three days,” says the promoter of Madreamiga together with Hugo Rodríguez de Prada (co-founder of Grosso Napoletano ) and chef Clara Villalón as creative ambassador.
A very masculinized profession
Although there are already many bakers who have set up their own bakeries and have launched themselves into making quality, traditional bread, Begoña recognizes that this world is still very masculine.
“When I started the bakery my boss told me but you as a baker? and I answered why not. He is a bit sexist because of the issue of weights and schedules. I worked at night and I was very young and did a little bit of work, but little by little we are already enough bakers who are at the bottom of the canyon.”
And she recognizes that the workshops have changed a lot since when she first got her hands on the dough. “Now the bags of flour are 25 kilos but when I started they were 50 kilos and they made masses of 300 or 400 kilos. And the truth is that now I am bigger but at 19 years old, I was thinner. But I said I could and I could“.
Even the schedules have changed: “Nowadays, with the prolonged cold fermentation we do, you don’t have to come at eleven at night and it is more accessible to everyone.”
Even so, Begoña San Pedro recognizes that making peace with an oven is very complicated but that it is all a matter of habit. His thing, as he insists when talking about pastries, is being a baker and his specialty, sourdough: “Seeing the beginning of flour and water and how it ends in the crumb.” A complete art that his roscón crowns.
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