Artisan Bread – Chew on that!

 

Flour, water & salt – these are the basic ingredients for bread.  Though, most breads are also leavened and so we can add yeast to the list.

From these 4 ingredients come a veritable cornucopia of deliciousness.  Even the gluten intolerant are able to enjoy non-gluten bread simply by changing the type of flour used in the recipe.  Bread is considered a staple in most diets around the world.  The reason?  The three primary ingredients listed above are readily available to almost all societies.

Most don’t realize it, but salt is a crucial component in bread.  It helps stabilize or even inhibit yeast growth.  It also strengthens the glutens which helps make the crumb more firm and meaty, or even chewy if that’s what you like.  Bread with this type of “chew” must have salt added, typically somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.75% – 2.25% though some artisan bakers use even higher salt quantities and then add more leavening agent to increase overall flavor.

A bread that provides a firm crumb (the inside of the loaf) and a crispy crust (the outside of the loaf) is really where it’s at!  Want real world proof?  Go check out Mediterra Bakery.  You can find them online or in person at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market.  Stone hearth steam injected ovens and a 60-year-old sourdough starter are just some of the notables for this INCREDIBLE bakery.

We brought home the Ciabatta, the Mt. Athos, the Paesano, the Kalamata Olive and the Rustic Italian.  That was after we consumed an entire loaf of the Kalamata white at the market.  Each of these breads is comfortingly similar and uniquely different all at the same time.

The ciabatta was used to create the tasty morsel shown above.  You can cut the bread about 7/8″ thick and then top it with two slices of prosciutto, some sautéed mushrooms (we added Applewood smoked sea salt as we sautéed), fresh mozzarella and then garnished/ finished with fresh arugula.

Some would call that an open-faced sandwich, others a bruschetta of sorts.  We just called it a mid-afternoon snack, paired it with a Pinot Gris and enjoyed it immensely!  The textures, and the flavor profile deliver a rich, hearty, mouth-watering combination that can only be enjoyed as the result of an artisanal bread crafter who provides the simple well-balanced palette on which to build creations like this!

And, because they use salt to produce their wonderful wares, we say, “Chew on that!”