Chef Domi Vélez, 43, is now not only the best baker (panadero in Spanish) in his neighbourhood. According to judges at the world’s most prestigious bakery awards, he’s the finest on the planet.
Vélez is a fifth generation baker from the small city of Lebrija near the Andalusian capital of Seville, in the south of Spain.
He started baking 25 years ago at the panadería (bakery) his father ran, honing his trade every early morning from Monday to Sunday. Vélez is now capable of making 75 different types of bread, each with their individual recipe.
On Tuesday October 26th, he won what’s been referred to in the Spanish press as ‘the Oscar’ of bread making (Baker of the Year 2021) at a ceremony carried out in the German city of Munich by the International Union of Bakery and Confectioners.
The bakery he now runs – El Horno de Vélez, which you can find at Calle Suecia 24 in Lebrija – has been like the lottery store with the winning ticket since his victory was announced, Vélez says.
Lebrijanos have piled into the well-known bakery to congratulate Vélez and his team, and foodies from further afield are already stopping by to taste his winning bread.
“The secret is to combine science, innovation, tradition and development, and incorporate it all into Spanish baking,” Domi Vélez told Spain’s public broadcaster RTVE.
El Horno de Vélez bakery uses ancient recipes dating back 2,000 years, some created by the Romans, such as the “panis cibarius” or “libum”, cottage cheese bread.
The master baker uses sourdough, hardly any yeast and the same cereals as his grandfather once did, all of which contribute to making the product more digestible. As you can see on the bakery’s website, his breads come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
“Today is the most important day of my professional career and also the most exciting,” Vélez said on Tuesday after winning the award, thanking his wife and team of 12 for their support and hard work.
“It’s been a long road to reach this award…It’s a very demanding job”.
So if you’re ever in Seville and don’t mind a short drive to Lebrija to taste the best bread in the world, now you know. Velez’s favourite bread is the telera de Lebrija.