01 October 2019

Sourdough Bread: Natural Growth

To counter the power of industrial bakeries many artisan bakers are intent on showing another facet of bread: "clean" artisan bread loaves that are baked using ancient flours and natural leaven.

A number of "neo-bakers" are keen to revive good tasting bread, real bread, by working with quality raw products that respect our environment and by opting for longer fermentation using natural leavens. "It's really great to work with leaven that we create simply using flour, water and time", says Matthias Velter, cofounder of Archibald bakery in Paris.
Natural leaven has many benefits, thanks to the slow work of the bacteria during the fermentation process: better nutritional properties, easier to digest, improved conservation and a great variety in flavours. "The result you get with leaven is very different, even the texture of the dough and caramelization of the crust are different", explain Erwan Blanche and Sébastien Bruno, owners of the bakery shop Utopie in Paris.
For Matthias, working with one's own leavens makes perfect sense: "I wanted to make my own leaven because I wanted it to have the highest possible content in bacteria. During the fermentation process it produces aromatic derivatives as well as acetic and lactic acids. The conditions for the fermentation (hydration, temperature, length) will then favour the one or the other. Personally I prefer the sweeter flavours conferred by lactic acid" he explains. He is not alone in promoting his love of natural bread. All over France the emphasis is increasingly placed on artisanal work for bread loaves. "Over the recent years, leaven has made a great comeback, as has the bakery industry as a whole, and that's really a good thing! Leaven represents quality know-how", insist the two friends from the Utopie bakery.

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