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What is artisan bread exactly? Unfortunately, the term “artisan bread” isn’t regulated. Any company can design a fancy label purporting its bread to be artisan and put it on a package of factorymade bread. True artisan bread is made the traditional way, by a skilled craftsperson (or artisan) who respects the time it should take to make good-quality bread. Most true artisan bread is naturally leavened the traditional way, which results in what is also known as sourdough bread. Before the discovery of commercial yeast in the mid1800s, all bread was sourdough. Bakers were skilled artisans, and even though they weren’t sure exactly how it worked, they would save a piece of dough from the previous batch since it contained all the yeasts and bacteria needed to give their next dough flavor and make it rise. Like the word “artisan,” the term “sourdough” isn’t regulated, either. Just because a bread, pretzel or other product is labeled sourdough doesn’t mean it was actually naturally leavened. Some bakeries add some commercial yeast in addition to the sourdough culture to speed up the process. Other times, no sourdough culture is used at all — the factory simply adds some citric acid to the dough to create a sour flavor similar to sourdough, which comes along with none of the benefits at all. This is perfectly legal. The only way to know if your bread is truly naturally leavened sourdough is either to bake it yourself — or buy bread from a baker you trust. Let’s talk a little about the history

94 / THE MONSEY VIEW / May 1, 2019 www.themonseyview.com / 845.600.8484

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The Monsey View