DiMuzio Daniel T. - Bread baking

Author : DiMuzio Daniel T.
Title : Bread baking An artisan’s perspective
Year : 2010

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Preface. It took a while, but good bread now holds almost the same status in the culinary world as great wine. Twenty years ago, you’d have been hard pressed to fi nd a decent baguette anywhere outside of New York or Berkeley. Today, we can fi nd good bread in most cities, even if it takes the form of par-baked loaves that are fi nished in grocery stores. Some artisan bakers sneer at these breads, but their fl avor and texture is often pretty good, and sometimes they are better than what passes for artisan bread in local bakeries. Which leads to the question: What makes bread good? Can we identify good bread in some way that makes it easy for people to know immediately that what they’re buying is among the best stuff available? Many artisans have tried, but it seems that we can’t. The consensus among bakers profi led for this book is that there is no longer any meaning in the term artisan bread. That label was a mark of distinction ten or fi fteen years ago, but marketing specialists at mega-groceries and bakery café chains have co-opted the term. There are no laws in the United States that prevent them from doing so, even though the bread that they sell may not be worthy of special attention. Plenty of genuine artisans are still out there making great bread, but great product cannot be distinguished with simple terminology. So the proof isn’t in the name, or a shiny oven on display, or the quality of the marble on a bakery’s sales counter. The only real evidence of artisanship in bread baking is in the fl avor and texture of the bread itself. That fl avor and texture are usually the result of production processes designed by knowledgeable craftspeople. What may surprise you is that these craftspeople can now be found not only in boutique bakeries but also medium-sized wholesale operations and even large-scale manufacturers who take their commitment to the craft seriously and fi nd the people and tools needed to succeed. The most important aspect of making high-quality bread isn’t the embrace of old-fashioned techniques but rather the identifi cation of what’s essential among those techniques and the acceptance of the need to use those procedures, whatever the inconvenience or cost. This book is meant to aid bakers or students who take bread seriously and who wish to begin their quest for craftsmanship in bread baking. Any real mastery of the subject takes time, of course, and it is only with experience and the personal assistance of well-trained baking professionals and instructors that artisanship can fi nally be achieved. We do believe, though, this book can help you get started. ...

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