ABA Product Standards


ABA Product Standards

In 2007, Artisan Baker Association introduced a way of identifying artisan bakeries based on a survey filled in by the bakers. High quality bakeries were featured on our web site and were able to promote themselves as an ABA Accredited bakery.

The ABA Accredited standard has now been updated to include ‘product standards’. These voluntary standards enable bakers to more clearly inform customers about product features.

ABA recognises that the dialogue between baker and bread eater is what determines the standard for artisan bread.

All ABA standards are based on publicly reviewable criteria. Each bakery completes a detailed survey about their artisan practice, and makes that standard available for public review and comment.

The standard is not set by industry, the media or the next big award event for bakers. It is set by the baker’s love of their craft and a desire to meaningfully interact with the people they are baking for.

Our standards are very high. In fact they are so high that many accredited bakeries will only produce several breads that can carry the standard. This is  because  the ABA standard  is based  around breads produced with a leaven made by the baker (sourdough).

Fermentation is seen as a key artisan skill by members of the artisan baking community. ABA acknowledges the skill required for bakers to produce and maintain their own baking culture.

Not all bakeries have the luxury of being able to operate completely with sourdough leaven. For instance an artisan bakery in the middle of a city, paying high rent and with a diverse range of customers, may need to offer a higher degree of product diversity to remain viable in that position.

At the same time, we need to acknowledge bakers that seek out environments where they can produce bread using only artisan techniques.

These standards simply make it easier for bakers to identify their different product styles to customers.

Don't forget. These standards are based on a dialogue between bread-eater and baker.

Please leave a comment below!


Thank you,

Graham Prichard, ABA


* Trade Mark Protection

Please accept ABA's apologies for the amount of 'TM' symbols in this post. We are protecting ourselves from an industry based group that have demonstrated a tendency to imitate (poorly) ABA's innovations.


ABA Marks

ABAXX marks are a bakery's declaration that their products meet minimum criteria identified by consumers and bakers as being important to them.


ABA Holistic™: 100% Organic, Wholemeal, Sourdough

ABA Traditional™: 80 - 100 % Organic, White Flour, Sourdough

ABA Commercial™:  50% (Minimum) Organic bread containing sourdough culture and some or all of the following: gluten/ascorbic acid/commercial yeast pre-ferments.





  • These are the minimum product standards. Products that exceed a marks standard, but do not qualify for the next mark, can state their precise ingredients on the bread label. e.g: ABA20: Wholemeal (50%), etc.
  • Water and salt quality: Discussions will continue about the quality of water and salt required for each ABA Series.
  • Series 1 Artisan™ products must have a minimum of 80% content from the Country of Origin (CO). Exemptions are available in drought and for resource dependent countries, such as Singapore.
  • Series 3 Artisan™ product, ABA32, is expected to have a minimum purity requirement of 80% organic flour by mid 2009.
  • Series 3 Artisan™ product, ABA32 can not be labeled as "sourdough" because it contains commercial baker's yeast.
  • ABA product standards are subject to change in response to the continuing dialogue between baker and bread eater.


  • ABA do not represent products that have: Less than 50% organic flour, No leaven made by the baker (sourdough), Industrially formulated bread improvers, Commercial yeast added without pre-fermentation


ABA Adjunct Trading Marks

HA (Holistic Artisan)

TA (Traditional Artisan)

CA (Commercial Artisan)

WF (Wood Fired)

FM (Freshly Milled)

HM (Hand Mixed)

SC (Sustainable Community)

CO (Country of Origin)

GS (Grey Salt)

FW (Filtered Water)

SW (Spring Water)

RW (Rain Water)



Who can use the ABA Product Standard?

ABA Accredited Bakeries. Accredited bakeries are featured on the worlds most popular sourdough web site, Sourdough Companion.

I am an ABA Accredited bakery. Do I have to use ABA Product Accreditation?

ABA Product Accreditation is completely voluntary. ABA is not a regulatory authority or 'the bread police'. The marks are a device made available to ABA Accredited Bakeries. Bakers decide whether or not to distinguish an artisan product using the mark.

Who is ABA?

Artisan Baker Association (ABA) began in early 2007 and operates as a private association. ABA is a trade mark of Artisan Baker P/L, an incorporated company in Australia. We act independently of the commercial baking industry and do not endorse any industry groups (including BMIAA).

All descriptive trading terms on this page are trade marks of Artisan Baker Association (ABA), including ABA standards 01 - 99, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, Speciality Standards, ABA Holistic Artisan, ABA Traditional Artisan, ABA Commercial Artisan, HA, TA, CA and "The First Standard in Artisan Baking"; TM & © 2007/2008.


JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 5
HI Graham, Good work, but i dont like the term "baker-made yeast" Its easy to make saccharomyces cerevisiae in a bakery. " Baker made leavening" is an alternative,  but why not just use the term"sourdough leaven"?...John
ABA 2008 February 6

Thank you John.

That is a point that I had not thought of...that bakers might extend their fermentation skills to making isolated strains of yeast. It makes me think about the level of control that artisan bakers exert over existing leavens, and how decisions re temperature, hydration, time and acidity determine the success and survival of particular yeasts. I think there is a philosophical discussion brewing, but it is too late in the evening for me to think about what it all means. Amazing.

"Sourdough Leaven" is straightforward and I imagine makes sense to most people. That is something that can easily be changed. Any more opinions on the term 'baker made yeast'?


ABA 2008 February 6

ABA32 was accidently copied over as "100% sourdough" for Leavening. This standard can contain "commercial yeast pre-ferment", so can not be 100% sourdough. However a sourdough component is necessary for any breads in this standard. It now simply says "sourdough".


ABA 2008 February 6

[quote=johnd]HI Graham, Good work, but i dont like the term "baker-made yeast" Its easy to make saccharomyces cerevisiae in a bakery. " Baker made leavening" is an alternative,  but why not just use the term"sourdough leaven"?...John[/quote]


The term 'baker-made yeast' has been removed and replaced with 'sourdough leaven' and 'leaven fermented by the baker'. 'Baker-made yeast' had the potential to confuse customers who currently identify more closely with 'sourdough'.

Thank you, Graham

More feedback welcome....

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