Tradition Preserved: Focaccia

The word ‘Focaccia’ is derived from the Latin word “focus”, or hearth (which means in itself: the floor of a fireplace/the base or lower part of a furnace).

As one of the most popular types of bread in and from Italy, focaccia bread has a long history that reaches distant times of early Ancient Greek culture and Etruscans who lived in North Central Italy before the formation of the Roman Empire.

Focaccia is yeasted flat bread which belongs essentially to the northern shores of the Mediterranean. Early versions were cooked on the hearth of a hot fire or on a heated tile. Skilled bakers often punctured the great with their knife to prevent the appearance of big large bubbles on the surface of the bread. In other cases, they used needles and dotted the bread in regular patterns and at times, using the handle of their utensil.

One of the most essential ingredients is olive oil – which is added to the top of the dough to preserve the bread’s moisture after being cooked. The bread is topped with spices, olive oil and other products.

In the 20th century Italian immigrants to the United States brought with them recipes for pizza, bruschetta, grissini, and of course focaccia. Throughout time, the bread gradually morphed into one of the most famous Italian meals – pizza.

The ingredients of focaccia bread includes but isn’t limited to olive oil, rosemary, sage, garlic, onion and cheese toppings – and ultimately depends on preference. It could also be made sweet with addition of honey, eggs, sugar, lemon/orange peelings or raisins.

With a wide variety of seasonings, focaccia bread makes a very tasty sandwich bread, and is frequently served with cheese and ham fillings. The beloved focaccia can now be found internationally under different names and recipes (in France it is called “fougasse”, in Argentina “fugazza”, and in Spain “hogaza”). But still it’s origins and traditional methods remain preserved and passed on.

Provide your customers with the artisan experience – Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno.co.uk to find out more about our craft artisan bakery and breads delivery services.

What exactly is Artisan Bread?

What exactly is artisan bread? You probably hear or see the term in your local supermarket but the true definition is that it is made by someone with a craft or skill in producing this specific product. In regards to bread – it is a skilled and experienced baker in the craft of bread-making. Something made in small quantities and a far cry from prepackaged supermarket loaves.

Many people think artisan bread ultimately comes down to the texture and colour. It’s by these two features that attract #breadlovers to artisan bread but it doesn’t exactly make it #artisan.

Throughout the centuries, bread has taken on many guises, recipes and results. But artisan #realbread brings us all a gourmet experience which satisfies our hearts and stomachs (and also can bring up nostalgia!).

Made by a craftsperson using largely and predominately traditional techniques, the concentration is on on the core processes involved in producing the bread, including the ingredients, mixing, fermenting and baking processes.

Skill and knowledge are integral to making artisan bread. High quality ingredients has to be conjoined to a experienced and passionate baker who knows how to use them. Quality ingredients are mixed, slowly fermented, hand shaped and then baked in small batches.

Perfecting a craft like this is developed over time and is ultimately a life-long learning process which has been passed down generation to generation. Special attention is taken to each batch – returning to the process and fundamentals of the age-old bread making tradition.

The consumption of artisan breads continue to climb and with it so does our ever-expanding passion to provide the ultimate artisan experience with #realbread.

Provide your customers with the artisan experience – Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

We offer sample trays of our artisan breads and pastries…

Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno.co.uk to find out more about our craft artisan bakery and breads delivery services.

Scandinavian Rye Bread: Hearty and Wholesome

As the traditional bread of Scandinavia with variants from region to region, Scandinavian rye bread is noted for it’s sweet and sour taste, dense texture and complex enticing flavours produced through its sourdough fermentation process. As a nation known for being big bread lovers, Scandinavian rye bread is distinguished as being healthier, darker and denser, containing more nutrients.

Rye was and still is a key ingredient to many traditional rye and pumpernickel breads. Dark rye bread was considered a staple through the Middle ages and many different types of rye grain have originated from central, eastern and western Europe. Historically, rye was common in the Nordic countries. Vikings were the first people to grow this type of grain and believed that rye provided them increased amount of strength and sustenance.

Scandinavians have been using rye flour for generations in making their signature wholesome hearty rye loaves. Dense, moist and flavorsome, rye is often combined with caraway seeds, oats and barley to create lighter rye bread.

Did you know?

Scandinavians invented Smørrebrød (pronounced shmur-brugh), a traditional Nordic open sandwich consisting of rye bread and topped with various fillings. The sourdough rye is usually buttered to stop the fillings soaking the bread. The choice of toppings are endless and can range from cold cut meats and cheeses, spreads and fresh herbs, vegetables and salad. Dating back to the 19th century, Scandinavian agricultural workers would have Smørrebrød for lunch using previous nights leftovers as fillings. Many note that the concept stemmed from the Middle ages when stale bread (called trencher) was service and used during meals to soak up juices and flavours of the accompanying food. Nowadays, open-faced sandwiches are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can be served as a starter, main or desert!

Authentic and #realbread rye bread can be identified by its chewy, dense, sour, nutty and very filling form. Artisan bakers perfect the bread-making process (including the fermentation) to ensure that each loaf is a unique artisan experience.

Here at Dolce Forno we provide various rye breads. Serve your customers and guests open-sandwiches with our range of rye breads. Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked pugliese, ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

Contact us today to arrange a FREE sample tray of our artisan breads or pastries. Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email  contact@dolceforno.co.uk to find out more.

Puglia – The Breadbasket of Italy

Italy’s answer to French Pain Rustique bread, Pugliese bread origins stem from the Puglia region of Italy, in the Southeastern “heel” or “boot” of the country.

Puglia is widely known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and wide tranquil scape of Mediterranean coastline. Its attractions include the vibrant port Capital Bari and the historic city Lecce, being the ‘Florence of the South’ for inspiration baroque architecture. The small town of Alberobello is famous for it’s preserved and unique historical trulli buildings, which are small dwellings built from the local limestone with dry-stone walls and conical roof.

Puglia is also Italy’s top regional produced of olive oil with approximately 40% of total output with an estimated 60 million olive trees. Making it heavenly liquid gold within local recipes and dishes.

Puglia’s overall landscape and blissful settings is as memorable, satisfying and historically rich as their signature bread. It’s often noted as the breadbasket of Italy.

Puglia, or Apulia has a long tradition of bread making dating back to the Roman empire. Pugliese bread has small holes due to the dough being stretched and folded at intervals during the bread making process. This gives the final load a chewy heavenly texture. This artisan handmade bread often crafted with lots of extra virgin olive oil is produced through a slow fermentation process for a greater depth of flavour. From wet dough a pre-ferment is made (often known as a starter). Some of the finely milled flour is mixed with water and yeast and left overnight to develop flavour. The following day, the dough is mixed with the remaining ingredients. Pugliese bread is typically shaped as a batard (oval) or a round loaf with a dimpled top. It is then processed with long slow rises before being baked.

The recipe for Pugliese bread also requires a Biga, an important step within Italian baking. A type of pre-fermentation that adds complexity to the bread’s flavour and provides the light, open texture whilst helping to preserve the bread by making it less perishable.

Like all good things in life Pugliese bread requires dedication, skill, patience and time – and can never be rushed. Its flavour is enhanced by a long fermentation period making it a crucial step within its production. A remarkable and distinguishable flavour you can enjoy.

Its light, airy and moist and sometimes complimented with the flavours of basil or freshly hand-stripped rosemary to create a gourmet aroma and memorable taste. It’s soft porous and moist interior contrasts with a thin, light and crisp crust. Beautifully caramelised crust and chewy textured interior. The handcrafted bread is great with prosciutto, salami and similar fillings. Pugliese bread is great for making sandwiches or simply dipping into olive oil.

Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked pugliese, ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.
Contact us today to arrange a FREE sample tray of our artisan breads or pastries. Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno.co.uk to find out more.

The French Baguette

The ‘baguette’ is considered one of the iconic symbols of French culture. A traditional baguette is made with wheat flour, water, yeast and salt, and consists of a crisp crust filled with a soft, fluffy centre.

Like Italy, France has a strong history in bread. Long wide loaves of bread have been around since the time of Louis XIV, and thin ones since the mid-18th century. It’s increasing availability was due to the cheapness of wheat during the 19th century. This meant that white bread was no longer exclusively for the rich.

The first steam oven was brought to the city of Paris in the early 19th century by an Austrian office. This was also when the the croissant was introduced. With the use of deck and steam ovens, loaves could be baked to produce a crisp crust and white airy centre. Deck/steam ovens are a combination of a gas-fired traditional oven and brick oven, a thick ‘deck’ of stone or firebrick heated by natural gas instead of wood.

In 1920, a law passed that prevented french workers to start work from 4.00am. This made it impossible for bakers to get the bread cooked in time for customers’ breakfast. The solution was… to make bread into long thin forms, allowing them to cook faster – and just in time for breakfast!

Interesting Facts about the French Baguette

  • The baguette was not labelled the ‘baguette’ until the 1920s. Stemming from the latin word baculum which became baccheto (Italian) meaning staff or stick.
  • The average French man eats a half a baguette a day, compared with almost a whole baguette in 1970 and more than three in 1900.
  • National law dictates that ‘French’ bread should contain only flour, yeast, salt and water.
  • Baguettes are now widely eaten as sandwiches. Cut a baguette in half then slice each half along the middle. The bread is versatile enough to be sweet or savoury and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • March 21st is National French Bread Day.
  • According to a legend, it was Napoleon who asked for the baguette to have a long shape. This made it easier for his soldiers to carry their bread around down their pants while in the battlefield.
  • In 2013, a Parisian baker installed the first vending machine for baguettes, available 24/7!

There are ways of telling the difference between a artisan produced baguette and one from a supermarket… Many feel the loaf will smell much more strongly of bread, the crust tends to be darker and richer and the interior is usually a cream colour rather that pure white.

So while you enjoy the memorable taste, texture and sight of the beloved french baguette – take a bite and think about the long history this magic baton has created since its beginnings!

Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

Contact us today to arrange a FREE sample tray of our artisan breads or pastries. Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno.co.uk to find out more.

Tradition Preserved: Communal Ovens

Bread throughout history has always been a by-product of creating a community and intertwines with tradition and heritage. Right from the sourcing of ingredients, producing the dough, right through to placing in the oven – it’s a process passed down generation to generation.

Baking in the south of Italy has long been a communal affair, especially within the small towns and villages situated within the region. Depending on the calendar and cycle of harvesting wheat. Growers would come together at the mill for grain to be processed.

Within small villages outdoor communal ovens were situated at the heart of the the community. This was the place where all the bread in the village was baked. Sometimes done by the women of the village or by the resident baker, the bread was then distributed out depending on how much grain was given or based on bartering or services shared within the community.

The communal oven can be argued to be place where the village gathered. The daily place where neighbours shared news and gossip, debated on the latest politics and created memories. It plays a key part in the history of italian bread and in the preservation of long standing tradition in bread making and baking.

For us at Dolce Forno Breads, our vision is to preserve the idea of shared experiences – through our bespoke delivery of artisan handcrafted bread. We believe in cherishing the key origins of artisan and handcrafted bread.

We offer a range of italian bread such as ciabatta and foccacia.

 

Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

Contact us today to arrange a FREE sample tray of our artisan breads or pastries. Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno-breads.co.uk to find out more.

A Slice of History

Ever contemplated about the origins of how bread was invented?

We would have to go way back in time…

Historians note that humans processed and consumed wild cereal grains as far back as 23,000 years ago in the Upper Palaeolithic period (also called the Old Stone Period). Simple but effective stone mechanisms helped to smash and grind various cereals, removing the outer husks to leave just grains.

Our ancestors began to crack and grind grains, mixing it with water to create more options and variety of palatable food such as gruel (which didn’t need to be cooked) and thicker porridge. By experimenting with the heat of the sun and leaving it out, the paste dried created a bread like crust.

When wild yeast from the air combined with flour and water this created a fermentation process. It would be unpredictable in results and depended entirely on the flour texture, liquid, type of grain, wild yeast and highly influenced by the weather. A far cry from any oven!

You could think of this as a art form – as the skill of controlling various ingredients in addition to turning grain and water into edible bread required a ‘artisan’. Specific individuals within groups and communities were given high status and importance.

The trade of a baker is one of the oldest crafts in the world and was appreciated throughout history. One key example is that within Ancient Egypt, bread making was considered an important life skill. It’s importance is still to this date inscribed within tomb chamber walls.

Currency, Status and Art

Ancient Egyptians often paid their officials with good bread. They also noticed that they could take a piece of dough from a produced batch and save it for the next day. It is said that this is where the origin of sour-dough stemmed from. As valuable goods, bread was offered to Gods such as Isis and Osiris (protectors of grain and givers of bread). They also aimed to perfect the milling process to make grain refined, leading to the availability of baking whiter bread.

Empire Expansion

The skill of baking bread spread through travellers and soon flourished within the Roman Empire. It was in 168BC that the first Bakers Guild was formed. Within the space of 150 years, there were more than three hundred specialist pastry chefs in Rome.

The artisan craft was developed in a guild of bakers, “COLLEGIUM PISTORUM’ and has significant importance within the Roman empire. They enjoyed a variety of breads and often added milk, eggs and butter to make it richer. However, only the wealthy and privileged could often it.

Only a Slice

This is only a thin slice of the long history artisan bread-making. But it emphasises how for more than a thousand years the impact of bread, the baker and artisan bread has become part of human history.

Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

Contact us today to arrange a FREE sample tray of our artisan breads or pastries. Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno-breads.co.uk to find out more.

The Simple Pleasures of Life

As the clocks went back last Sunday providing us all with an extra hour in bed, it made us here at Dolce Forno UK consider making a short list of all the satisfying simple pleasures in life.

The smell of freshly-cut grass, finding money you didn’t think you had in one of your pockets, popping bubble wrap, hearing your favourite song while you’re driving and flipping to the other side of the pillow…

We depend on our five senses to experience the day-to-day and throughout life. It’s the simple pleasures which are the most positive, uplifting and treasured. For us, we truly believe that. Bread and baked goods brings pleasure – for us and not only for those who consume it, but also for those who craft and produce it.

From its beginnings as separate ingredients, the process of production, the action of baking – for an artisan baker this is their passion and commitment in producing high-quality crafted bread and baked goods that makes the experience enjoyable. For those who purchase it – the smell of freshly baked bread, the visual aesthetics of bread, the feeling of tearing apart or slicing and the unique tastes provided ultimately creates a memorable experience that is incomparable.

Provide your customers with the artisan experience – Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

We offer sample trays of our artisan breads and pastries for those interested in our services. Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno-breads.co.uk to find out more.

 

The Renaissance of Craft Bakeries and #RealBread

Similar to craft breweries, there has been a surge and demand for artisan and handcrafted bakeries and #realbread in recent years. More consumers, not solely in the UK but internationally, are demanding new pleasures in taste and textures within their white, brown and multi-grained bread. In addition, they have also become more interested in the methodology and processes behind what they consume.
All breads were “artisan” in the earlier days prior to mass produced and supermarket bread. It was long before preservatives were added so it could be stored for longer periods of time. It is during this time bakers really were able to demonstrate and develop their craft and skill in producing delicious baked goods with fresh, quality ingredients coupled with their enthusiasm and passion.
Now, collectively we’ve become a nation passionate about #realbread – with no generational gap when it comes to good real bread. It can bring us to our childhood or even spark new memories by the people we share it with. This is one of the key factors of “artisan” bread which essentially makes it timeless.
The label ‘artisan’ in respect of food denotes, none-tech-assisted methods, high-quality ingredients and truly skilled – we truly provide this in each loaf, bun, cake and pastry we offer. At Dolce Forno Bread, we are aware that our customers take consideration about what goes into the final product – the ideas and concepts, the process, right through to the final result.
This #realbread renaissance is truly evolving, and Dolce Forno are proud to be part of the movement.

Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno-breads.co.uk to find out more about our craft artisan bakery and breads delivery services.

 

The Delicious Ciabatta

Ciabatta: A flattish, open-textured Italian bread with a floury crust, made with olive oil.

Ciabatta literally means ‘carpet slipper’. Which we think personally creates great imagery of placing a foot of filling into – prosciutto ham, the finest cheese and other savory delights!

An Italian white bread made from wheat flour, water, salt and yeast, many think that the ciabatta has a long history that stretches hundreds of years, but it’s actually origins stem from the year… 1982.

During this time the French baguette was very popular, making Italian bakers concerned as it endangered their businesses. In response, Francesco Favaron, a baker based in Verona, Veneto in Italy, collaborated with Molini Adriesi (who provided the flour to produce the bread) to create the ciabatta with it’s well-known features. Elongated, broad, flat and of course delicious.

Favaron named the bread ciabatta as he believed the bread reminded him of his wife’s slipper.

Ciabatta bread was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1985 by Marks & Spencer and has become a much loved bread recipe to this day.

Ciabatta tends to be used for sandwiches but is also great with olive oils and other dips due to the crumb’s easy absorption of dips and liquids. Dried ciabatta bread is also ideal for creating croutons. Like all artisan bread, ciabatta tastes its best when it is fresh.

Are you a cafe, venue or restaurant looking for a local supplier of fresh baked ciabatta, sourdough and other artisan breads? Dolce Forno delivers freshly baked artisan breads and pastries within Hertfordshire, St Albans, Surrey, Berkshire, London and Buckinghamshire.

Call our team at Dolce Forno Breads on 01727 762 456 or alternatively email contact@dolceforno-breads.co.uk to find out more about our craft artisan bakery and breads delivery services.