The word artisan is often used with food items like bread, cheese, and even butter but very few understand what it actually means. If you ask someone you casually meet, they’ll tell you that artisan bread is special, flavourful bread that tastes better than your general supermarket ones. But to what extent is this true? There’s no set standard when it comes to baking artisanal bread and no official guidelines that dictate what is considered artisanal and what isn’t.
What is Artisan Bread?
Artisan or artisanal bread is made by artisan bakers using the best local ingredients with traditional techniques. This form of baking takes time and effort and there are no shortcuts. Using fresh ingredients and traditional techniques restricts how much bread a baker is able to produce in a given amount of time. Some of these breads require several hours of labour while others can take several days or even weeks. The resultant bread has incredibly unique flavours and has textures that you simply can’t find in regular supermarket bread.
Characteristics of Artisanal Bread
There are some characteristics that make artisanal bread stand apart from other forms of similar products. There are some bread manufacturers that will label their machine-made bread as artisan to increase the price. Here are some characteristics of artisanal bread that you need to keep in mind if want to you purchase one of them:
Where it is made
You won’t find artisanal bread in supermarkets because most of them are made in bakeries. You’re more likely to find good-quality artisanal bread in small, well-established bakeries that have smaller ovens and less space to automate the process.
Skill of the baker
Artisanal bread is made by artisan bakers. They don’t just copy existing recipes, but create their own combinations and flavours. While they will still follow traditional recipes and techniques, they might add their own spin to it to create something unique and interesting. Artisan bakers often have signature breads that are their own creations and have a distinct flavour that can’t be found anywhere else.
Most artisan bakers will work with freshly-sourced local ingredients of high-quality. Great ingredients will enhance the overall flavour and ensure the texture of the bread is good. Artisans also rely on the ingredients to behave in a predictable manner so they’ll only source them from a particular provider.
What’s included in the ingredients
Artisanal breads are developed naturally so there are little to no enhancers in them. The best way to gauge whether the bread is artisanal or not is to look at the ingredient list. These breads will only contain water, yeast, flour, and salt. Some of them might not even contain yeast, especially the sour dough ones. Flavoured bread might have olives, herbs, garlic, spices, cheese, or tomatoes but you will not find any artificial preservatives and colouring in these breads.
The time it takes
Mass-produced breads don’t take much time to make because the fermentation process is chemically enhanced. Artisanal breads ferment naturally and can take up to 24 hours. The slow baking process allows the flavours and textures in the bread to develop fully. The resultant bread is actually easier to digest so you won’t feel heavy when you consume it.
Artisanal breads come in different shapes and forms and the recipes can be sourced from different parts of the world. French breads are very famous but there are some interesting flavours in Italian, German, and other such breads as well.
The time, care, and artistry in baking makes artisanal bread special so they’re well worth the money you spend on them. At Ganache Patisserie you will find fresh and delicious artisanal bread and other scrumptious goodies.
Thanks for reading,
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