THE ART OF ARTISANAL BREAD MAKING
Bread has been a staple food in cuisines all around the globe for thousands of years. The art of bread baking is a balance of ingredients, science, patience and artisanal skills. The ingredients, cooking methods and ovens vary, resulting in a huge range of bread products. These products are devoured daily in all cultures.
- Baguettes in France are long and thin, golden brown and chewy.
- Focaccia in Italy is thick and full of holes, created by poking the dough prior to baking.
- Cornbread in America is made from cornmeal and has many modern variations.
- Roti in India is a popular unleavened flatbread.
- Soda bread in Ireland uses baking soda instead of yeast, and has a hard crust and slightly sour flavour.
- Pita bread in the Mediterranean region is a flatbread cooked at a high temperature which creates a pocket for fillings.
We live in a world with constantly changing trends and that includes baking and the consumption of bread. Gluten free bread, bread which is preservative and additive free and artisanal bread are some current food trends. These seem to be here to stay for the time being. Food intolerances, the desire for a healthy lifestyle and the comfort of simple traditional methods has led to people yearning for bread that is superior to the mass-produced loaves in our supermarkets.
A preference for better quality taste, texture and appearance has resulted in artisanal bread making becoming more and more popular. There is a move towards simple, fresh, handmade food that has transparency around the ingredients and manufacture. People want to know where their food comes from and what they’re putting into their bodies. There’s something special about the delicious aroma and tearing into a crusty freshly-baked loaf of bread that has been specially crafted using traditional methods and basic natural ingredients.
Artisan – Highly Skilled Bread Maker
Artisanal bread is made by a highly skilled bread maker – an artisan. Artisans have a wide knowledge of the bread making process and make certain choices on how bread is made. This process is focused on producing a unique, beautiful product, whether that is a sourdough, sandwich bread or flatbread. Lesaffre offers a range of solutions and expertise to bakers to perfect their artisanal bread for consumers.
Baking artisanal bread considers the type of flour, yeast and length of fermentation, and often uses a natural starter to create bread, which is best baked in a hearth-style oven using radiant heat. Artisans are often passionate and curious, and experiment with the bread making process to develop artisanal bread by sometimes using the benefits of modern technology, but keeping the traditional baking methods alive such as making it by hand.
Keeping within the simplicity of tradition, artisanal bread generally has flour, water, yeast and salt as the key ingredients, without any chemical additives. Artisanal sourdough bread has been a particularly popular choice of bread in recent years and it appears it will remain that way. Sourdough bread relies on a culture starter for leavening rather than yeast.
Why Bake Artisanal Bread in your Bakery?
Many people consider artisanal bread a far better-quality product compared to the mass-produced loaves for these reasons:
1. Flavour and Aroma:
Using traditional fermentation of yeast or cultures produces an enhanced, more complex flavour in bread, and that delicious tangy aroma.
2. Structure and Crumb:
There are more air pockets, which are evenly distributed through the loaf to produce a looser, stronger and more hydrated crumb texture.
3. Health Benefits:
A longer fermentation allows more gluten to break down which can aid in digestion and is therefore better for your gut. Regular bread is made quickly by using larger quantities of yeast to speed up fermentation, leaving more gluten in the finished product. Commercial bread also has added preservatives to increase shelf life. This may include up to 30 ingredients added to mimic natural ferments and often has a high sugar content.1
Baking artisanal bread in your bakery is sure to impress as consumers are searching more and more for authenticity and good quality in their food. Not only do people appreciate a superb product but also the craft skills that have gone into making such a beautiful handmade staple food. Adding ingredients such as olives and walnuts will add some variety to the bread and will increase consumer choice. You can’t go wrong with that. The possibilities on creating artisanal bread are endless.
To ensure your artisanal baking is a success, visit Lesaffre, for the highest quality yeast and baking products available. Hone your skills in this exciting, fast-growing baking arena and watch your baking business benefit.