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.

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.

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.

hand crafted breads

Conversation and Croissants

Croissant
French crescent-shaped roll made of sweet flaky yeast dough, eaten for breakfast.

A cornerstone of French pastry – the croissant is known internationally. We know that everyone eats it differently depending on preferences.

Should you add butter, marmalade or strawberry jam or should you go for the savoury option with ham or cheese? Warm it up or keep cold? Cut in half or hold it all together?

Tasty, small packages of folded buttery dough that has been handcrafted into the shape of golden crescent smile to brighten up your day. How should you really eat a croissant?

How do you eat a croissant?

  • Go Savoury
    Whether it’s cooked, preserved meats such as pastrami, salami, Parma ham or perhaps Cheese whether it’s sliced, melted – soft or hard cheese. Eggs scrambled or fried. The options are endless and the croissant is as versatile as sliced bread.
  • Get Sweet
    If you have a sweet tooth – chocolate spread would make the croissant even more divine. Perhaps add jam (whether its homemade or bought from the supermarket) or Sevillian orange marmalade. Some argue you don’t have to add butter to an all-butter croissant. But if you’re like us – adding another level of luxury is a guilty pleasure! Spread it on! You can also purchase/order Almond Croissants or Pain au Chocolat if you’re looking for straightforward no-hassle divine sweetness!
  • Back to Basics
    Why add things to it when you can savor the croissant for all its golden glory and richness of life? Wrap one end with a napkin and tissue; eat from one end to the other. This ensures it maintains its form and prevents it breaking and falling apart! Some croissant lovers enjoy it simply with a creamy coffee, which adds a complimentary bitter flavor to intensify the sweet elements of the pastry. Some enjoy it with freshly squeezed orange juice.

Perfectly flaky and buttery pastry. Crispy and soft with a glorious flavour. Are we making you hungry?

Looking for freshly baked croissants for your conference, meeting or event? 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.