Bread is the staple food par excellence. Nowadays, there is something for everyone: white, grey, multi-grain, integral, etc. There are industrial ones and then there are the artisan bakeries. The real artisan bakeries, faithful to ancestral traditions or bakeries that call themselves “artisanal” but often move away from them. Following research on the subject, I wanted to paint a picture of three of the most popular types of bakeries: the “industrial” bakery, the “classic” bakery, and finally the “peasant” bakery. What products will you find in each of them? We decided to focus only on bread. The pastry will be the subject of an article in the future. Are you ready? Then, be on the way to the bakery!
The “industrial” bakery
There is bread made in the factory and then sold in supermarkets. On the face of it, it is not the most attractive if we think a little bit about its composition but we buy anyway, sometimes out of ease, often at the expense of our health. But also without really knowing what’s going on behind the scenes of the industry, can we really trust these products? Because we are talking about “product” and not bread.
In supermarkets, it has to go very fast. With a few exceptions, the loaves of bread are often made in the factory (possibly several thousand kilometers away), bought frozen and then warmed up at the store, behind the “Bakery” space, which highlights a dream décor, with wood and wicker baskets to present the baguettes. Is everything done to give customers confidence – or to put their mistrust to sleep? The emphasis is on decoration and special mentions “Fresh of the Day,” “cooked on site,” “artisanal” or “100% natural.”
Besides that, can we learn a little more about the intrinsic or nutritional quality of these loaves of bread? The answer, you will find it in the product. Taste and you’ll see! The bread is often soft, with no particular texture. Non-cracking crust. In general, after 1 day, it is already dry. Sometimes you buy it in the morning and in the evening it’s not that anymore. In terms of taste, it’s quite poor, and in addition, it is far from the smell so enticing propelled on the shelves of stores. I find it hard to believe, despite all the efforts made, that this type of bakery defends taste and quality.
The “classic” bakery
What could be better than picking up bread from your favorite baker? The bread is fresh of the day and it has a taste that we like. Like almost all food trades, the bakery is a craft-passion. It’s not an easy job, you have to work at night so that customers have fresh bread in the early hours of the day. The consumer is more and more demanding, also demands more variety. Unfortunately, the baker cannot produce more bread at the same time as he is allotted.
Fortunately, when this is the case, there are tips and tricks that he can count on to satisfy his many customers. The “ready-to-use” or “all-in-one” flour mixtures could be said. These come from industrial mills that work only cereal flours from conventional agriculture (selected and processed seeds, plant protection products, and all the bazaar). They add food additives, technological aids, and additives to these flours. More than a hundred are authorized by European law!
The magic in all of this is that all these additives disappear when cooked. So, in terms of ingredients, we will tell you that it is flour, water, yeast, and salt. On the practical side, the baker is certain to have a constant result, quality at a lower cost, and above all to save time. Everyone’s happy! The manufacturer sells its products, the baker saves time and makes more margin, and the end customer is satisfied with the variety offered. At, again, let’s taste and see! The bread usually dries quite quickly, tastes the yeast, and sometimes lacks consistency.
The “peasant” bakery
Here, we enter another dimension, that of purists, craftsmen of taste, the real one. The work here is completely different and the baker practices his trade as he sees fit, away from the law of the market. The process is honest, sincere, and also full of common sense. The techniques learned in conventional bakery no longer need to be and it is nature that takes over, the baker is a kind of guide, you could also say a composer because he composes with what nature gives him.
What is “peasant” bread? It is organic flour, certified natural, and without chemical treatment of any kind. In general, for organic flours, we speak of wheat crushed with a stone grinder, the traditional way. This flour is mixed with pure, living water, sea salt, and sourdough. The sourdough, a microbial culture made from a mixture of flour and water, is unique to each baker. It gives the bread taste, acidity, and texture. Add to this the cooking in a wood-fired oven. Bread is thus made as it was hundreds or even thousands of years ago.
And then there are the “bakers.” They do everything! They grow their own wheat – between 100 and 200 varieties, all the work is done by hand (from sowing to harvesting). They are also millers, grinding their wheat with a stone grinder less than 24 hours before making bread so that the flour does not oxidize and lose its nutrients. And finally, they produce their bread. Thanks to long fermentations, they have bread that dries much less quickly and have more taste.