Baking & Snack - April 2020 - 30

ARTISAN INSPIRATION

Follow these rules when making
artisan baked goods
When it comes artisan baking,
there are a few commandments
that most bakers generally agree
upon.
"There are no shortcuts," said
Etai Baron, owner and chief
executive officer of Izzio's Artisan
Bakery. "You have to give it the
time to make great bread. Artisan
must rely on very high-quality
flour because we don't use any
additives or conditioners that
smooth out variations in quality
or make bad quality flour better.
They must depend on natural,
extended fermentation to create flavor and texture and use a
minimal amount of machining to
make their products."
Likewise, Richard Eley, director of commercialization for
Highland Baking Co., recommended taking the slow road for
a satisfying journey.
"Don't cut corners on the
fermentation," he said. "Let the
dough develop its flavor and
strength. The longer you can work
with it, the better it's going to get.
When you make the final dough,
you want it to be well fermented.
You want to divide it gently and
shape it carefully. Let it proof in a
cloth canvas. You can let it proof
and retard for a couple hours. All
of those long periods develop the
flavor and characteristics of it."
For Mr. Baron, it comes down
to that one question: What are
consumers going to love?
"That cuts through everything,"
he explained. "I always believed
that it's really important that
consumers can taste the difference. You can tell someone that
something tastes delicious, but
consumers have to taste it and
believe it's actually delicious."

cal 425˚F for conventional bread - provides the oven spring for breads with a
moist, open internal texture, a creamy
color and a heavy, crunchy crust.

Inspiring commercial bakers
For high-volume bakeries, focusing on a
few fundamental artisan techniques can
go a long way. Start by adding time and
natural fermentation to the process.
"Almost any bakery can mix up a starter and begin adding it," Mr. Baron said.
He suggested peeling out artificial or
unnecessary ingredients from formulas
and, if it's financially possible, switching
to higher quality flours to accentuate flavor during the fermentation process.
Ms. Wyman understands space considerations may make extended fermentation difficult. In lieu of using traditional brioche that's loaded with butter and
ferments overnight, MBC relies on a biga
for a same-day brioche for her donuts
that require a 24-hour process.
"We make pre-ferments from sourdough starters that take up less space
than fermenting the whole dough in
bulk, and you can move it through a process in eight hours," she explained.
When commercial bakers condense
the process, Mr. Abiera observed, they
lose the cell structure or flavor profiles
that inspired the creation of an artisan bread.
"Baking based on time, temperature
and humidity, that's what sets the product apart," he said. "When you do the
long fermentation, you're gaining flavor,
you're gaining strength, you're producing natural yeast - all these are guidelines for making an artisan bread."
However, sometimes the identity of an
artisan bread can get lost in translation
when trying to cut corners in the production process.
"They should ask themselves, 'Can
my formulas be produced by hand?' "
Mr. Martinucci noted. "If scaled back,
could a plant foreman grab a kilogram
of dough and produce the same thing
without processes and machinery that
humans can't achieve?"
From a more inspirational perspec-

tive, Mr. Hitz recommended that bakers
explore what triggers their passion and
enroll in workshops, such as a lamination seminar, to challenge their understanding of their baking processes and
learn how to incorporate new techniques
into their process before disrupting it.
"I'm not saying that it has to change
what you are doing," Mr. Hitz said. "It
has to question what you are doing.
That's a first step before an established
baker says, 'We've been doing this for 10
to 15 years or we don't have the time or
equipment,' which is a death sentence in
today's fast-moving marketplace. You've
got to be able to adjust to trends or customers' expectations."
In his native Switzerland, bakers
justify fermentation by incorporating one type of dough into three separate products.
"You can make sourdough rolls, an
olive batard, or add cranberries and
cheese to a dough," he suggested. "The
fermentative curve could also be complex. It may involve two styles of preferments, but in doing so, it generates a
better outcome."
At Johnson & Wales, he teaches that
brioche doesn't have to always be sweet.
"Make it savory," he advised. "Make
it a tart or something you serve for
lunch, dinner or breakfast with the
same dough."
Mr. Hitz acknowledged that advances
in technology have made automation
more sensitive when handling artisan doughs.
For bakers who want the best of both
worlds, he suggested complementing a
high-volume plant by building a separate artisan operation for smaller, more
premium items for high-end customers.
Moreover, remember to allot some extra
time for igniting inspiration.
"A lot of bakers forget it's okay to take
a day off to do product development and
research because that's what brought
you to where you're at in the first place,"
Mr. Hitz said.
That's when bakers begin to discover
that the power from within starts from
being true to themselves.

*

30 Baking & Snack April 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

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Baking & Snack - April 2020

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