The new Artisan baker

There is a global movement which is all about a return to authentic food. It’s not trendy, and is basically driven by a desire to eat food that is both good for us, and which tastes good too.

Also it is driven by a desire to experience food outside the supermarket, and for our food to be grown or made by other than a machine in a factory, and to be formulated by someone food-savvy rather than a technician. It’s a matter of record that the modern western diet is causing ill health, and through aggressive marketing of debased fast-food, ruining the pleasure of our meals.

I have been making genuine sourdough bread commercially for almost 30years. In that time, I have had a steady stream of people thank me for being able to eat bread again. Their complaint is that regular bread gives them anything from serious bloating to stomach cramps and lots more. It’s not called “white tiles” or “white death” for no reason. Why should bread, once the staple food of the “civilised” do this?

Its actually difficult to know where to start with a critique of modern bread, because almost every aspect of its production can be called into question. The grain is grown in depleted soils which are pumped up with chemicals and then it is treated with chemicals to preserve it/ the flour is milled to excessive whiteness and the actual nutrients given to stock/the flour is treated with lots of additions(more chemicals) to render it fit for baking/ gluten is added to make strong enough to withstand the rigors of  factory production…this gluten is directly responsible for today’s plague of gluten-sensitivity/ more chemicals are added at the production stage to enable wonder bread…and then you eat it and some wonder why it makes them sick???

The real artisan baker uses organically grown grain, which has been proven to contain higher levels of nutrients and more flavour. The real artisan uses flour, not a chemically reinforced pre-mix. The real artisan doesn’t use mega-fast acting engineered yeasts, but a sourdough culture, and time is an ingredient in artisan bread, as the dough’s are left to mature properly. This enables fermentation of the flour which makes it digestible. In essence, the real artisan has a degree of care for customers, not simply profit, and this is rewarded by increased custom.

But beware, as always, there are fake artisans and fake sourdough bread…just to cash in. It’s a fair bet that real artisan bread does not come from a bakery which also produces white tiles…a real artisan cant actually make that…and doesn’t want to. 

John Downes

The Natural Tucker Bread Book
by John Downes
Hyland House Melb. 1983.

Consultation inquiries:
Artisan Baker Association (ABA)
Email. aba@artisanbaker.com.au
Web. www.artisanbaker.com.au


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