As part of my University diploma my first module in my personal development was write a report on a current food trend. All students were given a few ideas to choose from, I selected Artisan bread as it went alongside my pastry module Artisan breads and fermented goods.
I had never written a report before, an essay yes however a report what on earth was that, I had recently completed my Professional cookery course at college in which I did various assignments practical and written, a report was never required. When studying to be a professional chef 70% of your course is practical, when you get to university level the theory side of things then becomes extremely intense and daunting. I have always enjoyed learning I truly believe that the human brain is an amazing organ and should be utilised to its full potential. As a chef there always something to learn so this first module was certainly a challenge that I revelled in, do not mistake me it was quite possibly the most atrocious report ever yet I look on it fondly as an achievement and a learning curve.
When writing a report you have to use an academic style of writing. What is that I hear you cry ?
“the use of precise and objective language to express ideas. It must be grammatically correct and is more formal than the style used in novels, newspapers, informal correspondence and everyday conversation.”
(McMillan and Weyers, 2007:255)
Students are taught their writing style needs to be: Formal, Precise, Concise, Evidence based, Objective, Referenced, Cautious language, Passive voice, Consistent style.We are taught it should not have the following : Use the 1st person (except in reflection), Address reader as ‘you’, Use ‘we’, Use emotive language, Use slang, Use contractions.A report more importantly should be an informative factual paper written in the third person and must most definitely be referenced.
Putting all this into consideration I got down to work and started writing my report, as I said it was not the best report in the world each time I read it back I cringe. All that being said the best part of my report was the researching.As a college student we given practical’s and theory assessments, I was extremely lucky to have great tutors who always encouraged me to strive for the best learn about my profession and take pride in my work. I took this attitude forward to university which placed me in good stead.
I decided to investigate the history of bread and bread making. The various methods of bread making and baking, different bread recipes, the science behind bread making and fermented goods.The definition of Artisan is one whom is a worker in a skilled trade that involves making things by hand. Artisan bread is bread made by hand in smaller batches rather than being mass produced by a factory.The difference between artisan bread and that of bread that is mass produced is the flavour the quality the taste the texture and the smell most importantly the ingredients
In France people by freshly made bread on a daily basis, there bread shop’s are known as a boulangerie the definition of boulangerie is a bakery or a place where bread is made. A basic food made from flour water yeast. These simple ingredients have the ability to create a meal for the family have been a food staple for millions of years.
There is a long history of bread it is even referred to in Our Lord’s Prayer. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Bread is and has been a basic food of everyday life, the communal bread oven was the focal point for many communities as domestic ovens were not universal until 19th Century. In many countries there are still communal ovens where ladies bring their loaves every morning to be cooked and looked after by the town baker, their bread is moulded or marked in order to identify it once ready for its collection.
The history of bread making dates back to 9000BC leavened bread was invented in 5000BC attributed to the Egyptians whom discover fermentation by accident when a piece of dough had become sour. Some may argue that bread was founded in Iran / Syria /Egyptians/Nordics.
As I started to look into bread the process of bread making the one thing that came up repeatedly was with bread making it is about learning about long fermentation pre fermentation pre ferments autolyse and temperature management. Understanding your ingredients and the science behind how this ingredients works when mixed together.
Managing dough fermentation is to get the best results means finding the perfect balance of rising time proofing time and ambient dough temperature which is 24-27.C The longer the rise there is more opportunity to build flavour and the appropriate amount of acidity. Dough temperature affects the metabolic rate of the yeast warmer yeast develops faster however If the temperature rises beyond 50.C the yeast will die.After dough is mixed yeast replicates until there is no oxygen remaining in the dough at which point the yeast cells as they consume the sugars from the flour begin to produce gases carbon dioxide ethanol sugar in and gas out.
(BFT) Bulk Fermentation Time. This is the first rise of the dough after all the ingredients has been incorporated. Extending the bulk fermentation process is essential in developing flavour to your dough. Less yeast and more time will produce better bread.
There are varied methods for bread fermentation:
Poolish is a pre-fermentation starter used in bread making and is referred to as an indirect method. It may also be called mother dough.
Biga is a type of pre-ferment used in Italian baking. Many popular Italian types of bread such as ciabatta are made using a Biga. Using a Biga adds complexity to the breads flavour and is often used in breads which need a light open texture with holes
Levain bread recipes makes pungent bubbly culture made from wheat flour whole-wheat + water in 5 days. Pure Levain breads are bread with no commercial yeast.
Fermentation is the most important part of bread time is the essential key to making great bread. Bread was made thousands and thousands of years ago with natural yeast and is the original artisan bread making we are now bringing that back by making bread with the four main ingredients of bread and slow fermentation.
Fermentation is caused by yeast a living organism part of the fungi family. It also creates carbon dioxide & alcohol. The alcohol is removed during the baking process.Yeast is a fungus form of plant life available as a fresh or dried product. Fresh yeast should be kept wrapped and in a cool place, it should have pleasant smell and ordered only when it is required as it spoils quickly. It should also crumble easily and should be as fresh as possible.Yeast is rich in protein and Vitamin B. It therefore helps towards building and repairing body and provides protection.
Yeast is used to ferment and leaven dough. It has been used for about 4,000 years. Responsible for the first leaved breads in the evolution of modern baking. The scientific discovery of yeas as a microorganism responsible for fermentation occurred in the mid-19th Century by Louis Pasteur a French Scientist. Methods where later developed for isolating culture pure strains of yeast.
To make a sour dough loaf you must first start with a culture also known as a starter. Strong flour spelt flour honey warm water Richard Bertinet recipe mix and leave for 48hrs. There are various recipes for starters some people use a fruit like grape or raisin or apple for the acidity some people only use plain strong flour and do not incorporate a whole meal or other flour. It is a living product that needs to be fed on a regular basis and looked after. It is also possible to dry out your starter and create into a powder which instruction for doing so can be found in Richard Bertinet book of dough. There also a thing called a pre ferment which is similar to a starter however it is bread dough made left to rest and added to bread mix. After making bread over 6 weeks at home and at university I have found that fresh yeast is best, the fermentation is much better and the smell and taste well they are superior to dried yeast. Of course there is a place for dried yeast in every kitchen it is an amazing product that gives great results the slapping technique allows you to incorporate air every time you slap down the dough and fold over it allows little air pockets to be created which in return overs you a great dough filled with air which creates the beautiful gas pockets we require to get a great loaf of bread. When shaping your dough and lifting each corner into the middle it gives the dough extra air and strength.
Try baking some bread this weekend I promise you its worth it
lots of foodie luv
Ken Forkish’s book on bread was very enlightening and provided me invaluable information for my report as well as the talented Richard Bertinet