Despite the absence of a clear definition for artisan bread, bakers usually adhere to certain guidelines. The result is a loaf of bread that has a remarkably better taste, texture, and aroma than factory-made or mass-produced bread. Artisanal bread is usually made by hand using traditional methods with less control over gases, dough pressure, time, and ingredients. It does not require low-protein flours or dough conditioners, and there are no strict guidelines on ingredients.
Bread is a staple food that is loved by many, and it's no wonder since it's often referred to as the "staff of life." You can't deny that a warm loaf of bread fresh out of the oven is worth its weight in gold. Some might even say that it's the best thing since sliced bread!
However, not all bread is equal. You have to take everything with a grain of salt and be aware of the different types of bread available. While some people are fine with eating both conventional and artisan bread, others will only eat artisan bread. Are the two really that different? The answer is yes—they are quite distinct and have unique qualities that distinguish them from each other, to put it simply.
What Is Artisan Bread?
Despite the absence of a clear definition for artisan bread, bakers usually adhere to certain guidelines. The result is a loaf of bread that has a remarkably better taste, texture, and aroma than factory-made or mass-produced bread. Artisanal bread is usually made by hand using traditional methods with less control over gases, dough pressure, time, and ingredients. It does not require low-protein flours or dough conditioners, and there are no strict guidelines on ingredients. It's important to note that there are no rigid guidelines, so various bakers may use different ingredients. Using artisan methods, country loaves, sourdough, ciabatta, brioche, and certain seeded breads are frequently produced. Water, flour, salt, and occasionally yeast are common materials used to make artisan bread. They are often made by hand and must ferment for up to 24 hours. A loaf of bread with more complex and fascinating flavours is the result of this combination.
Conversely, mass-produced bread has to meet certain flavour standards that appeal to a wider audience. It also needs to be easily reproducible and, therefore, use the most efficient resources. Low-protein flours or dough conditioners may go into the process of making this kind of bread. Regular bread and artisan bread are not interchangeable terms. They actually differ substantially, which explains why there is a noticeable price variation at the nearby grocery store or bakery.
Let's examine the key distinctions between these well-liked varieties of bread loaves in more detail:
• The ingredients are one key distinction between these bread loaves. Water, flour, salt, and yeast are the four primary natural components that are used most frequently in artisan bread. Yet that doesn't mean that artisan bread can't have additional flavours. For instance, the artisan bread called focaccia contains seasonings (typically rosemary, oregano, or other Italian herbs). Ordinary loaves of bread often comprise at least twice as many ingredients as artisan loaves, which may also include preservatives and additives.
• Both artisan and non-artisanal bread dough must rise. The artisan loaves are often fermented for up to 24 hours, while regular dough only requires a few short hours.
• Artisan bread has a distinct texture compared to factory-made bread, with a juicy and chewy interior and a crispy exterior due to the presence of sizable air pockets. The long fermentation process of artisan bread also adds depth of flavour, resulting in a distinctive taste that varies depending on the type of bread.
• Regular bread or factory-made bread is extremely soft, almost sponge-like, whether you touch it or consume a slice. And, what about artisan bread? It has a delightfully juicy and chewy interior and crispy outside. That's because the loaf contains several sizable air pockets.
• Artisanal bread develops more flavour with lots of depth, which is why it is fermented for such a long time. Contrarily, mass-produced bread might often taste a little dull because the fermentation process is not very long.
• Artisanal bread has distinctive characteristics that are unmistakably delicious. Depending on the kind of artisan bread you're eating, the flavour may vary. For instance, brioche is renowned for its perfect sweetness, whereas sourdough bread might have a sour taste. Others may taste tangy or savoury depending on the components that are added. Whatever the taste, you can be sure that the artisan bread flavours will be distinctive and satisfying from beginning to end.
• Some bakers claim that mass-produced bread or bread that isn't prepared by hand isn't truly "artisan" bread. Naturally, kneading the dough is a crucial step in preparing any kind of bread, and many tiny artisan bakeries insist that the dough must be handled by hand in order to qualify as an artisan.
Although they are both sold in the same aisle, factory-made bread and artisanal bread are not the same. Natural ingredients are used to make artisan bread, which takes a long time to ferment. A better texture and tastier bread are produced as a result. Because it takes more expertise, effort, and time to create than ordinary loaves, it also costs more.