You’ve swirled and sniffed your wine to evaluate the flavor, thumped and squeezed your produce to judge ripeness. Knowing the little things to look (and smell and taste) for in your food is satisfying—and helps you ID what you can expect from what you’re about to enjoy. So, we pulled together a quick reference guide that details what to watch for in artisan bread—and reveals what we strive to achieve in every loaf.
Starting at the Top: The Crust
It only takes a glance to get your mouth watering. Artisan-made bread is baked in high-temperature ovens, creating a caramelized crust that’s thick and crunchy. Also look for hand-scoring on top, expertly placed to direct the rise of each uniquely shaped loaf.
A Slice Above: Inside the Loaf
Low-speed mixing of the dough allows gluten to develop undisturbed, leading to a more flavorful bread—which you’ll notice by what’s called “low stress lines” or, in layman’s terms, big, beautiful pockets of air inside the loaf that enhance the flavor. Another insider term: “crumb,” which refers to the open-hole texture, only achieved by a nice, slow rise. At La Brea Bakery, we give our loaves a full 24 hours to rise to our expectations.
Our Heritage in Action
To this day we still use the original starter—our signature mix of wild yeast, flour and water—that our bakery was founded on in 1989. In fact, it’s the signature ingredient in every single loaf of La Brea Bakery bread. What you won’t find on the ingredient list: additives, preservatives or dough conditioners (an ingredient that short-cuts a bread’s rise time). We don’t need them to enhance our flavor or texture, so we don’t add them.
Love that Loaf Versatility
One of our most popular artisan breads is our baguette, which only came to be after trying dozens and dozens of recipes and approaches. We were determined to get it just right, so that you’d be able to enjoy the countless ways the baguette has become a staple in its home country (bonjour, France!). Want to check out a few ideas? Start here >