Rise to the occasion – the key to creating artisan quality bread at home
There would hardly be a person left among us that hasn’t tried to bake their own bread since the beginning of the pandemic. Before long, flour mills couldn’t keep up with demand, grocery store shelves were left bare and bakers were forced on a wild search for alternative flour sources.
The truth is that breads of all shapes and sizes have been fundamental to families and cultures for centuries. According to food writer Dani Valent, the nutritious grass used to make breads all over the world has been farmed for its grain for almost 10,000 years, underpinning civilisations since Neolithic times.
“Societies flourished, fought, crumbled and rebuilt – and wheat was there too, fuelling human activity, a humble yet essential staple.”
And the baking process itself, especially when it’s done for others, can bring a host of psychological benefits including self-expression, communication, mindfulness, and love. However, as all too many have found these past few years – there is far more to creating artisan quality bread than meets the eye.
Cutting to the heart of craftsmanship
From the type of flour you use to the craftsmanship of your utensils, an artisan loaf is one that extracts the true qualities of its ingredients and creates something that is even greater than the sum of its parts.
For MD Knives’ Founder Mathieu Dechamps, the craftsmanship of the humble kitchen knife is such an important part of our lives, helping to prepare meals every single day from the home to the professional kitchen.
Born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, Mathieu trained as a maker of fine furniture. He spent a number of years travelling the world, where he was first introduced to knife-making in Scotland. Now he calls Mount Dandenong home, on the picturesque outskirts of Melbourne, where he creates hand-crafted artisan knives for generations to enjoy.
Sharing Miele’s passion for quality craftsmanship, MD Knives pushes performance to the limits, and Founder Mathieu wants to make sure that the enjoyment to be had in creating is there with every slice.
Teaming up with chef Jo Barrett, Mathieu brought his signature passion and commitment to sustainability to craft the perfect knife for creating artisanal bread, through a process of constant iteration, connection, prototyping, and perfecting.
Quality starts with intention
In many ways, we have become so removed from the processes and people behind our food. From farm to mill, bakery to table – each grain has a story and being respectful and connected to that story results in better finished products.
Like the best knives, the best loaves are created with thought, intention and care for the materials you use. Using a custom hand-crafted dough knife that replicates the ease and quality of a chef’s knife, Jo Barrett was excited to put MD Knives’ creation to the test with her famous recipe for Herbed Potato Bread.
Visit Jo Barrett’s recipe for Herbed potato bread
Getting the grain right
Just like the wooden handles on MD Knives, getting the grain right in your loaf can be the difference between a delicious family favourite passed on for generations to come, and something that doesn’t quite rise to the occasion. Not all ingredients are created equal and this is the secret of artisan bread.
Chef Barrett suggests using a quality plain flour, sourced locally, and really getting to know its story and process. Slow fermentation processes and plenty of time to rest or ‘prove’ and your loaf will be all the better for it.
Quality lasts forever
In a world of convenience, many of our homes are overflowing with poorly made items only for them to fall apart not long after. However, as more and more consumers look to invest in tools and appliances that are more sustainable and stand the test of time, making the investment in quality pays off. Thanks to Miele oven functionalities such as the automatic proving function and Moisture Plus, you can achieve bakers quality results in your very own home.
Expert craftsmanship never goes out of style – from baking the perfect pull apart to the knife used to create it. For Miele, Dechamps and Barrett, quality is designed to be passed down from generation to generation with every slice.
Enjoy more of Miele’s new Sustainability Series featuring artisans like Mathieu and Jo, who share the passion and intention behind their craft.
And be sure to visit the Miele Experience Centre’s Recipe page for plenty of family-friendly inspiration and delectable treats to try at home. For a free demonstration of Miele’s best appliances for breadmaking, simply visit: www.mieleexperience.co.nz/experience-centre