Bread baking is an art. Good quality flour with medium-high gluten content, warm water & fresh yeast yields superior quality bread. The base recipe stays almost the same, though a number of toppings, flavoured oils and other ingredients can be added to give the bread character and taste.
Creating artisan breads using quality flour and ingredients with the right processes results in exceptional products. A combination of both, Farina di grano tenero “00” and Semola Rimacinata or on their own, can be used for making breads and desserts. Both the flours are superior in quality, taste and texture. Farina di grano tenero “00”has a fine grind and is a soft-textured flour while Semola Rimacinata is grainy & slightly yellow in colour. Recipes for breads often vary according to chefs, the type of raw materials and atmospheric conditions. Irrespective of the type of bread, the primary ingredients- flour, sugar, salt, yeast and oil play crucial roles. The process begins by sieving the flour to eliminate foreign material, if any. Next, the sugar and yeast are combined and left to activate, by a process known as proofing. Proofing is a natural reaction that occurs due to the process of combining sugar and yeast with water, which results in the production of carbon dioxide and causes the bread to rise or ‘proof’. Proofing however, requires the right temperature i.e. about 22-25 degree Celsius and the bread should be left undisturbed during this process. Next, add the salt and flavouring ingredients like rosemary, sundried tomatoes, olives etc., then knead. Shaping the bread is the next part- a good baker will never over- work the dough so keep the folding process simple. Make sure to eliminate any air by flattening the dough before folding it. This will knock off the extra air and the resultant bread will have no air-holes or spaces after baking. A good bread is always kneaded a little under, so the final rolling happens while finishing the bread, which avoids over-kneading.
Finally, finishing with good quality olive oil and leaving covered in a warm place to rise are vital steps. After the initial proofing (or two), knock back and shape as desired. The next proofing (final proofing) is followed by dusting flour on the surface, making slits (for baguettes) and other final touches to the bread before baking. Lastly, steam baking or dry baking takes place and it is cooled completely before slicing the fresh, light and crisp loaves of artisanal breads. Sourdough bagels and baguettes are rustic crusty breads with large pores, while brioche, challah and Kaiser Rolls have a rich texture due to the addition of butter and eggs. Others like pita bread, breadsticks and straws have a crisp exterior & doughnuts and pretzels are sweet confectionery bread stopped with flavoured syrups, chocolate or marzipan after being baked/fried.Country breads like tartine, Pugliese and Pain de genzanoare some well-known artisan breads enjoyed all over the world.