What is artisan bread?
Artisan bread is superior in taste, texture, appearance and aroma to its mass produced counterpart. Learn how to create your own specialty artisan breads in Le Cordon Bleu gourmet short courses offered Australia-wide in April, June & July 2019.
The industrialisation of bread production is an important part of history, helping to reduce costs and ensuring millions of people could afford a basic food item.
What is artisan bread?
There is currently no regulation around the use of the term "artisan", but there is an expectation for what it should represent. Mass-produced supermarket bread is made using large machines. It is designed to appeal to a range of palates, but is mass-produced in a way that involves little care and contains artificial additives.
The Chorleywood Bread Process is commonly employed, which involves intense mechanical working of the dough and strict control over the gases and pressure of the dough. This ensures minimal fermentation periods, and the convenience of a quicker fermentation process comes at the cost of flavour and character.
In contrast, artisan loaves are generally made by hand using longer and more traditional processes. Many artisan breads originate from France where bakeries or boulangeries perfect a vast array of different styles using only the most basic ingredients. Flour, water, salt and yeast are the key ingredients of most artisan breads - and a lack of chemical additives in its ingredients list is a sign that it is truly artisan. Sourdough breads may not even include yeast, as they rely on a culture for leavening instead.
Ultimately, artisan bread is defined by the skill and time put into its production.
Why is artisan bread superior?
Artisan breads are widely varied in appearance, but overall are superior to mass-produced breads in terms of:
- Flavour and aroma: As most artisan breads rely on traditional fermentation of yeast or cultures, this allows greater flavour development. Artisan bakers may also work complementary spices or herbs into their dough to further enhance the taste and aroma.
- Crumb and structure: If you cut open a mass-produced loaf of bread, you'll typically see a closed structure and dry crumb. With artisan breads, you'll typically find more alveoli (air pockets) that are evenly distributed, and a stronger, more hydrated crumb.
- Health benefits: Artisan bread may also be better for your gut - especially sourdough. Longer fermentation allows the enzymes in bread to begin to break down gluten, which is not easily digestible for most people.
Learn how to make your own artisan bread from expert chefs in our upcoming two-day gourmet bread making short courses!
Register here for Melbourne: Artisan French & Italian Bread on 27 & 28 April 2019
Register here for Adelaide: Traditional and Contemporary Breads on 4 & 5 July
Register here for Brisbane: Viennoiserie (French Breakfast Pastries) on 28 & 29 June
CRICOS 02380M / RTO 4959