Not all bread is created equal. You don’t need to be a baker, a foodie or even fully awake to notice that tearing into crusty, freshly-baked loaf is a lot nicer than the supermarket sliced variety – but beyond that, things can get confusing.
‘Artisan’, for example…
It’s a term you see a lot in the food world these days, along with ‘craft’, ‘fresh’ and the vaguest of all, ‘real’. They’re usually used to signify care, expertise and quality of ingredients, but currently there are no official restrictions on who can use these terms; so it’s always worth finding out the story behind the label.
At BAKED - Craft Bakery, we use the word ‘artisan’ to sum up just how much attention we give our products; the long, traditional processes we use and the way we closely monitor every single handmade loaf, like protective parents, to ensure it comes out beautifully. In short, it’s very well-bred bread.
Of course, there’s no point in toiling away at traditional methods if the result has less taste than an Elton John costume convention. But whatever you call them, the truth is that artisanal techniques really do lead to more delicious bread.
As with so many things, the key to a great loaf is patience. Most mass-produced bread in South Africa is made with ta process that generally involves chemicals and high-energy mixers to speed up fermentation. The result is, as you might expect, pretty unremarkable bread – and lots of it.
By contrast, a long fermentation process gives dough up to 24 hours to develop, allowing the natural enzymes to react with the flour in their own time for a much more robust flavour and texture.
Artisan bread is actually easier to digest, because the enzymes have had time to begin breaking down the gluten in the flour while fermenting. And you can take time to savour it too – as a rule of thumb, the longer the production process, the longer its shelf life will be.
But whatever you call it, whether you buy it from a market, a bakery or even make it yourself, there’s no doubt that slow and steady wins the baking race. We’ll toast to that.
Begin by looking at the ingredients. True Artisan Breads usually only include flour, water salt and yeast. Sour based dough’s may not even include yeast in the ingredients. Flavored Artisan breads may list other ingredients like olives, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. With these types of breads, all of the ingredients should read as familiar foods. When you choose and Artisan Bread you are buying one of the oldest most basic foods there is. Like centuries ago, these breads didnt need chemicals to make them great and they still don’t today.
BAKED - Craft Bakery is a true Artisan Bakery as we are small enough to make it a priority to train each worker to understand the whole process of making the bread and to make small enough batches for them to be managed start to finish, yet large enough to meet our customer’s needs. True Artisan Breads will have their own unique, irregular shape, there is no cookie cutter process used when it comes to making and baking True Artisan Breads.