What is Artisan Bread in Chicago and What Makes it Special?

Artisan Bread in Chicago earned its name from the concept of combined simple ingredients and the art of properly blending, fermenting and forming the shape of the bread. Artisan bread making is a skilled craft that requires the experience and understanding of what goes into the process of creating the bread. Unlike the traditional loaves of bread found in a supermarket, Artisan bread from a bakery is handmade, not mass produced. The ingredients used in making Artisan Bread in Chicago require special attention and skill in order to obtain the correct natural chemical reactions.

Correct reactions of the ingredients are needed for the dough to form correctly and the bread requires the proper environment for the yeast and other ingredients to come together and create the flavor Artisan bread is known for.The ingredients used in making Artisan bread are simple and have been used for centuries as the primary ingredients in many handmade baked goods. Ingredients basically consist of flour, water, salt and yeast; however, it is common for other ingredients to be added to change the flavor or to create holiday breads. It is common to find ingredients such as fruits, nuts, cheese or herbs in Artisan bread. Specialty Artisan breads may include ingredients, such as milk, eggs and/or butter, that are intended to change the density or the texture of bread.

Unlike mass-produced breads found in the supermarket that may contain as many as 20 different ingredients and all loaves have the same appearance, Artisan bread only requires four to five ingredients and each loaf is uniquely different than the other. Artisan bread is typically created by hand in a bakery and each loaf will have a different size and irregular shape. The bread can be eaten alone with butter, used as a dipping bread or sliced to be used as a sandwich bread. However, the most traditional way to eat Artisan bread is warm, directly from the oven with a light layer of homemade butter. If you are looking for Artisan bread, the only place you will find fresh Artisan bread made with all natural ingredients and made by hand is at a bakery.

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