More Natural Breads for a More Natural Lifestyle

Bread has been known as the “staff of life” for centuries, and most world cultures have at least some form of bread made from whatever grains are available. It is one of the oldest man-made foods, dating back to at least the beginning of organized agriculture for grain-based, and before that for starch-based made from pounding plant roots and cooking the results on rocks over open fires. Later on, naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria were seen to help aerate and raise the bread and became a staple of bread making as a form of leavening

With a trend toward more natural foods with less artificial ingredients, more people are looking for ways to incorporate this more wholesome approach to their diets into their lifestyles. Any artisan bread is part of that trend, with its simpler, less mass-market uniqueness. Some natural foods supermarkets and bakeries are cashing in on this trend by offering large selections of delectable specialty breads to choose from. 

The basic process and ingredients for making this bread remain much the same as they were in antiquity. These breads generally have around five ingredients, where mass-produced bread has up to twenty or more, quite a few of those chemicals. If the breads have more than five, it’s usually because extra goodies like olives, peppers, seeds, etc. for savory breads, or dried fruits and nuts for sweeter breads, have been added to the basic ingredients of flour, water, yeast, and salt. Most contain about 60 to 75% water in professional bread recipes. Sugar, sourdough starter, milk, and eggs may also be added to make the breads fancier. The texture and flavor tend to be more complex than mass market bread, even with those simple ingredients. These breads are slow-risen, hand shaped, and are made in small batches, sometimes in specialized masonry ovens and sometimes using steam to help with the baking process, creating special crumb and crust textures. Usually, they have an elastic sponge-like interior with a golden caramelized crust, perfect for eating by themselves. Familiar types are ciabatta, focaccia, and the French country loaf, or even the Indian naan. Because of the complexity, they are made in small batches. Because of their lack of chemicals, they should be eaten or used within a day or two of purchase or baking, or frozen for later use. 

The quality and type of ingredients is key to making the best loaves. Some breads require specialized flours, but some need regular white bread flour, so substituting whole wheat in any form for white isn’t always a good idea because the texture and flavor of the bread will be affected. There are recipes out there for gluten-free loaves, though others rely on the gluten in the flour to enhance the texture and taste because enzymes break it down during the fermentation process. Specialty grains like Einkorn, semolina, maida, and spelt are being used, as well as commoner ones such as rye and stone ground whole wheat.

How To Know You Have Found The Best Bakery

Finding the best bakery is often the most important thing that you can do when you get into a new town. The bakery is the place that you can go to get a nice cup of coffee, and you can eat something delicious. The bakeries are the places that people congregate before and after work, and it would be smart for you to learn all about bakeries when you move to a new town. Each step in this process will bring you more joy, a better eating experience, and a place to meet new friends. 

The Bakery Should Have A Signature Item 

The kaiser buns and cinnamon rolls at a bakery are likely their signature item. You might go to a bakery that has great donuts, or you might come by because they have the best bagels you have ever tried. The bakery should have a list of things that they make every day, and they need to have a glass case that you can look at when you walk in. The bakery might even take requests from you if you are a regular customer. 

The Bakery Should Have Coffee 

The best bakeries are the ones that have good coffee. You need to find a place where they serve the coffee hot and provide crema, sugar, and honey. You also need to find a bakery that does not make strange or abstract coffee. There is no need for the bakery to have a signature blend because that simply makes things too complicated. You are much better off going with a bakery that faithfully makes the coffee every morning. 

The Bakery Should Be Close 

You need to find a bakery that is close to your location, and you will notice that there are more than you realized. Go to a bakery that you believe will be a short walk or driver from your house, and remember that you can use the bakery as a place to get work done, to rest, and to meet people. You could use the bakery as a place to have all your meetings, and you might want to introduce people to your favorite item on the menu. 

Does The Bakery Have Savory Food? 

The bakery is likely going to have savory food because they want people to come in for lunch or even dinner. You might run across a bakery that does not stay open past 2 or 3, or you might find one that will stay open for dinner because they have lovely slavery dishes. The bakery that you visit every day will become a familiar haunt that can give you a place that feels like home. You will always feel at home when you have the right pastry in your hand and a good cup of coffee. You could come back to this bakery any time you want to get lunch or a savory dish, and you might even ask the bakery to make your next birthday cake.