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Hand-crafted artisan loaf


March 23, 2009
By Henry Hawkins of NZ Bakels

nz_artisan_breadMarch 23, 2009 – Whole-grain/whole-wheat varieties are a key growth area as the drive toward more healthful eating inspires consumers to turn to this segment. I found this information reassuring for the core of our industry: the humble loaf of bread.

nz_artisan_breadMarch 23, 2009 –
Whole-grain/whole-wheat varieties are a key growth area as the drive
toward more healthful eating inspires consumers to turn to this
segment. I found this information reassuring for the core of our
industry: the humble loaf of bread.



What is not so reassuring is the artisan product or the term artisan bread. Artisan as described in the dictionary as a skilled workman; craftsman. A skilled worker who makes things by hand.

The term artisan bread when it comes to producing bread can often be off-putting to people because they assume that only skilled craftsmen can make it or that only people who have been baking for a long time can produce it. To some extent this might be true because the recipes that have taken many attempts to understand and then perfect.

The recipe that I have here gives you an opportunity to experience artisan style bread with some confidence while still using traditional methods.

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The skill most required with artisan breads is patience and a passion for baking.

Full of flavour, falling into the healthy eating category and being able to call it a hand-crafted artisan loaf, what more could be appealing to your customers? (Or indeed yourself?)

Recipe yield: Six loaves at 600 grams each.

Liquid Ferment (sponge) ingredients:
Bread flour                500 grams
Instant active yeast    4 grams
Liquid honey              32 grams
Water (room temp)    950 grams

Method: Day before (up to 24 hours).
    1. In mixer (or this can be done with a hand whisk in a bucket) combine all ingredients and whisk for approximately 2 minutes to incorporate air.
    2. The consistency at this stage will be that of a thick batter.
    3. Transfer the liquid ferment to a bucket at least twice the size of the dough formed and set it aside while you make the flour mixture.

Flour mixture:
Bread flour                1kg
Instant active yeast    12 grams
Gluten flour               60 grams

Make after completing the liquid ferment:
    1. Combine all ingredients into bowl
    2. Mix thoroughly until all evenly distributed through flour
    3. Sprinkle all of the above over the liquid ferment to cover completely
    4. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap to seal completely
    5. Leave to ferment at room temperature for 1 hour
    6. Then refrigerate for eight to 24 hours. Longer fermentation will produce a better flavour
    7. You should see the liquid ferment bubble up through the flour mixture sprinkled over the top of ferment. This is normal.

Soaked grains:
NZ Bakels eight-grain base*    450 grams
Sunflower seeds                     50 grams
Salt                                       40 grams
Warm water                           500 grams
Mix and leave all of the above overnight, covered at room temperature.

Mixing the dough:
Take the bucket of dough from the fridge place it in a bowl with dough hook
    1. Add soaked grain mixture including all water that remains and mix for another three minutes on slow speed or until evenly distributed through the dough.
    2. Mix for two minutes on slow and then seven to eight minutes on medium speed or until developed. (Check with window test)
    3. The dough should be slightly sticky but not wet.
    4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled rectangular container three times the size of the dough
    5. Give bulk fermentation time of 70 minutes
    6. Knock back by folding dough like folding a letter into three
    7. Cover and ferment for a further 50 minutes until doubled in size.
    8. Transfer dough onto lightly floured bench
    9. Scale at 600 grams and shape into torpedo-shape loafs
   10. Dry proof is recommended for 40 to 50 minutes. Check for proof with finger indentation test.
   11. When proofed, cut breads as required
   12. Preheat oven to 230° C, drop oven to 220° C.
   13. Bake for approximately 30 minutes with steam then vent for another five to seven minutes.
   14. When baked transfer to cooling wire immediately.

*NZ Bakels’ eight-grain base consists of soya grits, flax seeds, flaked wheat, kibbled barley, flaked barley, oatmeal, corn grits, kibbled rye, kibbled soya beans and millet


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