Artisan Bread at Home?
Bread is a universal staple and super easy to come by; just swing by your nearest supermarket or bakeshop for a loaf or two.
But we’re going to let you in on a little secret. You know what’s even better than store-bought white bread? A freshly baked artisan bread or loaf that you made yourself!
We’re sure you’ve heard the term “artisan bread” before. It’s like saying “organic” or “free-range”; it sounds good, but what does it really mean? When it comes to bread, the term “artisan” doesn’t mean 1 particular thing. But generally, artisan bread is homemade, fresh, crusty, and deliciously rustic looking. An artisan is a skilled worker, one who works with their hands.
Artisan bread has come to mean simple, easy, and no longer the domain of “artisans”. Ironically, even though it sounds that way, there isn’t much “work” involved with this bread. Although, “artisan bread” is a term not to be used lightly, because it refers to rustic bread that is expertly baked, with special care taken in the entire process without shortcuts and using high-quality ingredients.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to two types of artisan bread.
The baguette originated in France in the 18th century. It’s a long and slender piece of bread with an incredibly crispy crust and a tender crumb. It’s traditionally made using wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water.
Most artisan bread requires a starter or a “preferment,” which consists of yeast, flour, and water that is left to rise for hours, and sometimes even decades! In the baguette’s case, the starter is called a “poolish” and is set aside to rise at room temperature for half a day (or 12 hours).
Baguette dough requires long kneading to develop the gluten. This kneading should take up to an hour, but you can also mix it in a stand mixer until the dough makes a slapping noise when it hits the sides.
The next step is shaping the dough, putting the loaves in the oven to “steam” for several minutes, then baking them.
Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. This type of artisan bread is enjoyed in Turkey, Armenia, and Iran.
Lavash is thin, soft, and flat. It’s usually sprinkled with sesame or poppy seeds before baking. It is absolutely delicious alone or dunked in various dips like hummus or labneh.
The technique of making lavash is to roll it out as thinly as possible. You need to dust it with flour in between rolling to make sure it doesn’t tear up.
Take out a flat baking pan and cover it with parchment, then place the lavash dough on it. Lavash bakes at just a little over a minute. You’ll know its done when it has a bubbly but firm surface, with brown spots on the bottom.
If you want to learn how to bake this kind of bread, why not attend the Artisan Bread class offered by The Maya Kitchen? Aside from baguette and lavash, you’ll learn how to bake rye bread and grissini.
Call at 892 5011 local 108, 892 1185, or 0929 679 6102 if you’re interested in participating. You can also email [email protected].