Beyond Artisan Bread

4 years ago

Inside a slice of bread, there are historical and revolutionary elements slipped. As one of the most popular staples in the world, bread has existed for thousands of years ago. From era to era the ingredients of bread evolved. Started by a paste of flour and water then later when industrial revolution, chemicals added to create a softer texture. The world of bread changed with endless variants to satisfy global consumers. However, seeing the market shifts today many people have already been aware of their health. Especially due to numbers of health issue has continually risen, putting damages into countless families. Food scenes in Bali, for example, has displayed healthier choices. Vegetarian and vegan menus continue becoming limelight on the island. Gastronomers are looking for quality over anything else as one’s well-being is prioritized. As well as bread. If coffee and tea can be artisanal, so can bread. In fact, not only to provide better flavors, but artisan bread also stores philosophical values in the process.

According to BLANCO par Mandif’s Sous Chef, Mardikha Prasetya Nugraha, baking bread makes him strictly appreciate the perfection in the kitchen where patience is key. He explains, “Baking bread teaches me how to appreciate tastes. It is important to follow basic recipes but it is more important to experience the process in case of appreciating taste. The result of the same recipe may not be similar as the process of every hand will go through different circumstances. To explore rich tastes is a way to innovate.” Basically, artisan bread has a different texture, mouthfeel, and taste from usual bread such as white or wheat bread. A loaf of artisan bread requires time discipline and complex steps to produce the best out of it. Nevertheless, this is the life philosophy from it. Artisan bread bakers can hone their persistence, detail orientation, and patience. 

Artisan bread contains only four main ingredients:  flour, salt, water, and natural yeast. However, the process from the dough, baking, to serve is not as simple as getting those four ingredients in a grocery store. As if a fine bottle of wine that focuses on the fermentation, to serve a delicate profile of artisan bread, bakers need to maintain the fermentation well. First things first, natural yeast plays a significant role before baking. Bakers have to feed the yeast 8 hours before mixing the dough. To test the levain is ready, one teaspoon of levain is dropped into a glass of water. Wait until they float on the surface of the water.

The following step is autolyze. Autolyse is a gentle mixing between water and flour. Afterward, the dough needs to be resting for about 30-60 minutes. The reason is to let the flour become more elastic, allowing the bread to develop tastes. Next is kneading the dough to proceed the protein inside the flour. The reason behind this step is to texturize the dough followed by folding the dough every 30 minutes for 4 to 6 times to stretch the gluten strand, aligning the strands of gluten to give the dough more structure, and the expected crumbs. Retarding, later, is known to be the fermentation process where the dough is placed in the chiller overnight. Only after the dought can be pre-shaped, rested and baked.

In BLANCO par Mandif, the artisan bread served for starters is put into combi oven. It is a plus that the dough is steamed to help it perfectly layer and puff. Everyday artisan bread in the fine dining restaurant is freshly baked to ensure quality and taste. Not to mention, the additional local ingredients to put extra flavors. At the moment garlic kemangi (Indonesian basil) focaccia and fried shallot sourdoughs are listed as the signature sided by Singaraja homemade vinegar and homemade cultured butter. Special is the Singaraja vinegar made from palm fruit juice called lontar which has been fermented for 6 months delivering robust flavors inside one’s palate. 

This post was last modified on January 23, 2020 6:44 pm