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.

Irish Soda Bread: From the Emerald Isle

From the Emerald Isle, Irish soda bread remains an international favourite with a strong sense of history. The recipe isn’t as old as others and its traditional recipe has not been around for thousands of years.

Soda bread wasn’t primarily invented in Ireland but the country has become the automatic country associated with it. As a key ingredient in Irish soda bread, bicarbonate of soda was first introduced to Ireland around the 1840s. The bread was originally produced using the most basic of ingredients: flour, baking soda (which is used as a leavening agent instead of yeast), soured milk and salt. During this era the key ingredients for making Irish soda bread were the most basic and cheap ingredients meaning that it was accessible to make by most Irish households.

 


It wasn’t popularity but necessity that lead to the adoption of soda bread becoming a household and daily staple. All around Ireland, various types of soda bread were created. The Northern Irish province of Ulster are known for their wholemeal version called wheaten bread, whereas the county of Fermanagh formed white flour soda bread known as fadge.

Irish soda bread is soft textured cake-like bread that rises due to the reaction of buttermilk and baking soda. With its filling, wholesome and satisfying taste and texture it can be eaten during any and every meal.

Did you know?
– The concept of using soda to leaven bread was started by Native Americans centuries ago using pearl-ash or wood ashes
– The cross seen on the top of the baked Irish soda bread was to ward off evil and protect the family and home
– Others argue the cross was made to easily divide the bread into 4 pieces
– Most families during this time had kitchens with only open hearths not ovens. Bread was baked on griddles or in cast-iron pots (a bastible) over turf fires.
– Traditionally Irish soda bread does not have sugar, fruit or seeds

Families and artisan bakers have carried the tradition of Irish soda bread down generation by generation. It’s features and distinctive aroma and taste is unique to the country and has become a beloved favorite internationally. Its characteristics include a tangy crunchy delightful crust and a tender, light and mouthwatering crumb.

Customers can enjoy Irish soda bread with citrus marmalades, a nice hot stew, a hearty sandwich or simply with butter. Ireland remains the heartland of soda bread and customers can enjoy this beloved bread at any time and any place.

Provide your customers and guests with the ultimate artisan experience. Dolce Forno deliver authentic Irish soda bread similar to ones you find in Ireland to cafes, venues and restaurants 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.

Sourdough Bread – Time and Tradition

What features make bread #realbread? Some argue it comes down to taste, but others note down it is a combination of the crust and texture inside the bread, smell and characteristics of taste.

Artisan bakers use passed down traditional processes to ensure that these features are embodied within each loaf. The fermentation of the dough during bread-making plays a pivotal role.
Bread such as sourdough requires a long fermentation process to achieve a good rise. But the process towards #real bread begins with the pre-ferment (also known as bread starter). Also referred to as the mother dough, it becomes the main foundation of the bread-making process. The combined water and flour (starter) requires wild yeast, which lives everywhere (in the air, in a bag of flour etc), which is then regularly fed with more fresh flour and water until the starter is bubbly and billowy. Due to this process, breads such as sourdough are distinctive to each bakery and no two bakeries as the same.

Yeast is the most commonly used leavener in bread making and fermentation is the key secret to making great #realbread. For fermentation to take place, yeast requires food, moisture and a controlled warm environment. The by-products are carbon dioxide, alcohol and other organic compounds – with gas acting as the rising agent and alcohol and compounds playing a significant role in flavouring and texture.
Yeast provides the enzyme zymase, which acts as a catalyst in fermentation – this largely begins after the dough is mixed. This creates the leavening effect, with gas bubbles created by carbon dioxide causing dough to rise. This then allows protein and water molecules to move about and form more gluten networks.
The fermentation process results in better-developed and more extensible dough. This also gives the bread a greater aroma, which is notable during the final steps to baking.
Did you know?
– Fermenting dough with wild yeasts for at least 12-15 hours improves the digestibility of the bread and lowers its glycaemic index.
– Ancient Greeks used wine in their bread making process
– Ancient Gauls and Iberians used the foam produced atop ale for dough fermentation
– Breads that have gone through a timely and proper fermentation process have a better shelf life than those that have not

One popular, well known artisan bread that utilises the long fermentation process is sourdough. Its notable features include a glossy, open crumb structure with large holes, a irresistible crackling but chewy crust and a complex, delicious and mouth-watering taste and aroma. Sourness is dependable on both the skill and choice of the baker ranging from barely noticeable to a robust tang.

Fermentation is considered a great art and artisan bakers work towards preserving tradition by offering a unique experience with each loaf of bread. Dolce Forno provides breads such as sourdough, which you can enjoy with a dip, in a sandwich or even enjoy by itself (toasted can accentuate certain flavours!).

Dolce Forno offers five delicious, hearty and wholesome sourdough breads with each loaf developed with a fermentation process that is more than twenty-four hours. We believe in keeping to traditional processes to provide the ultimate artisan bread experience with #realbread.

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.

Cake for every occasion

Will there be cake at the event?

Everyone knows what cake is. A sweet dessert, typically baked with the main ingredients comprising of flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking powder/soda or oil. Nowadays, cakes are made from various combinations – with thousands of recipes developed and passed down generation by generation.Served as a celebratory dish on big occasions such as someone’s birthday, wedding or anniversary, times have changed and we consume a sweet slice of cake whenever or whenever!

Cake has always been part of life…

According to food historians, the first culture to show evidence of baking and an interest in cake were the ancient Egyptians. However, their cakes were more bread-like and in substitute for sugar, honey was used.

Did you know…

  • The term “cake” has a long history, with it’s origins from the Old Norse word “kaka”.
  • In ancient times cakes were used as offerings to gods and spirits around the world
  • The Chinese celebration of the Harvest Moon Festival included moon cakes to honour the moon goddess
  • Russians have sun cakes called blini to pay their respects to a deity called Maslenitsa
  • Ancient Celtics rolled cakes down a hill during the Beltane festival
  • Medieval European bakers often produced fruitcakes and gingerbread which could last for months

However, the precursor of modern round cakes were first baked in Europe during the mid 17th century, due to the advances in technology such as more reliable ovens, availability and production of food holds and ingredients (such as refined sugar). It wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that cakes were produced with extra refined white flour and baking powder instead of yeast.

People still consider cake to be the wow factor to every occasion whether it’s a meeting, corporate or launch event. Cakes have certainly kept their image as ‘treats’ which emphasises importance. We certainly believe cake is for every occasion!

For us at Dolce Forno, each cake is a work of art and we truly believe in the artisan and handcrafted experience. Each cake is created without machinery and solely just the skilled hands of bakers.

 

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.