Artisan bread has been highly prized for its natural taste and the organic, pure way in which it is made. The basic ingredients in artisan bread include water, yeast, flour, and salt. Milk is sometimes used to replace water, and oil is added for softer bread texture. Other rarer ingredients such as various types of cheeses are added to give the bread a specific desired flavor. Compared to normal breads, artisan breads are thought to be more flavorful due to the natural ingredients used in their creation. However, they also do have a shorter shelf life due to the lack of preservatives, and therefore should be consumed within days after purchase.
There are many varieties of artisan breads available for puchase; you have French bread, fococcia, deli rye and more. One of the secrets of artisan bread is the way it is prepared and baked. Artisan bread is handmade; you may use a mixer for the kneading process but the rest, like shaping or dividing the dough, must be done by hand. Artisan breads are not made in conventional ovens but are baked on a stone, which helps to give it that delicious crispy crust everyone loves.
Artisan breads have been used to make pizzas, submarine sandwiches, croissants and Italian loafs stuffed with cheeses, olives, and Italian herbs. Another example of delicious Artisan bread is the fabulous chocolate bread, filled with chocolate chips and cocoa. Even if you do not have local bakers locally to supply you with freshly baked artisan breads, you can still enjoy this delicious bread at home. You can make it yourself, right in your own kitchen. Start with your basic bread recipe, and you may add ingredients of your choosing, such as olive oil, honey, etc. But remember, if you add a liquid ingredient this adds hydration to your dough, but this could make your dough easier to handle when it comes to the kneading process.
If you want firmer dough to work with let it set for 15 or 20 minutes. The kneading process of bread making involves kneading and folding the dough numerous times until it achieves a consistent, smooth outer texture. Afterwards, you want to place the dough in a well oiled bowl, over it with a warm cloth, place it in a warm place and let it rise until it's about doubled in size.
But if you want to experience its full flavor, let the dough rise slowly, by putting it in a cooler area. After it has risen, remove from bowl and separate into the amount of loaves you prefer, place in baking pans and cover to let it rise once more to twice its size. Now, it's time to shape the dough into loaves and bake them. Before you bake, it's good to preheat your oven to the desired temperature called for by your recipe.
After bread is done baking, remove from oven and set out to cool before slicing. Perhaps the easiest part of bread making nowadays is finding a recipe. Afterall, thanks to the internet, we have literally thousands of recipes at our disposal. Of course, choosing the right recipe for you takes some experimenting.
No matter what kind of bread, any bread that is home made is sure to taste better and more natural than its counterpart in the supermarket. There may be a bit of work to preparing bread at home in our own kitchens, but once you bite into that delicious loaf of artisan bread, you'll see it was worth the extra effort.
Get more out of your oven. For more great ideas on how to bake the perfect bread, visit our website on bread making, or look through some cool baking tips on bread baking.