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The Art of Making Artisan Bread

Mediterra Bakehouse artisan bread baker

Mediterra Bakehouse

Top bread makers share their passion and techniques for creating beautiful and flavorful loaves we love.

Making a flavorful, balanced loaf of artisan bread takes time, precision and passion. Bread provides much more than a source of sustenance; it brings people together.

“The time we spend eating together is so vital to our quality of life,” Zachary Golper, chef and co-owner of Bien Cuit (meaning “well done” in French said. “We craft a product that encourages our customers to slow down and share a meal with someone they love. We believe that the simple act of eating well has the power to strengthen relationships, improve health and create better social and environmental outcomes for everyone.”

Making artisan bread is like creating a work of art for some of the country’s best bakers and chefs.

Bien Cuit bakery artisan bread

Bien Cuit

Making artisan bread is like creating a work of art for some of the country’s best bakers and chefs.

“Taking one of the oldest fermented foods and trying to perfect it on a daily basis drives the perfectionist in me. Each loaf is handmade, shaped and crafted,” Nick Ambeliotis, owner of Mediterra Bakehouse said. Medittera Bakehouse was founded in 2002 in Pittsburgh, and another bakery outside of Phoenix in opened in 2012. Mediterra’s artisan bread, including multigrain, sourdough and seasonal loaves, are available for nationwide shipping.

The process and ingredients are critical elements in creating the highest quality and best-tasting artisan bread.

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Mediterra Bakehouse multiple artisan bread types

Mediterra Bakehouse

“The simple yet complex procedure of breadmaking requires a balance of patience, knowledge and precision to bring out its flavor from the simple ingredients we use, and, most importantly, the collaboration and teamwork of different individuals coming together to create a masterpiece,” Lisa Chun, bakery bread manager at Tartine, said. Tartine was named America’s Most Influential Bakery by Bon Appetit and has locations in Northern and Southern California and Seoul, Korea and also offers nationwide shipping.

In addition to improving flavor, the fermentation process of artisan bread can also help digestion.

Tartine artisan bread bakery

Tartine

“We focus on whole-grain blends and slow fermentation. Our signature sourdough ferments for up to 68 hours before baking. Our fermentation style allows us to control enzymatic activity and maintain balanced acidity, which results in deeper, more complex flavor,” Golper said. “It also makes our bread easier to digest as slow fermentation breaks down gluten, which suggests that authentic sourdough may cause less inflammation in people who have gluten sensitivities.”

“Because our bread is naturally leavened, our fermentation process helps with improved digestion so we get a lot of feedback that eating our bread leaves you feeling light and surprisingly good,” Chun said.

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artisan bread by Mediterra Bakehouse

Mediterra Bakehouse

Bakers of artisan bread are very selective in where and how they procure their ingredients.

“We have farmers from Washington and Oregon who freshly mill flour for our products. We work with these particular farmers and millers because of their farming practices and focus on sustainability,” Chun said. “We have selected grains that have unique nutritional and flavor qualities. One thing that separates us from other sourdough bread makers is that we use our starter when it’s active but still very young in stage. This helps us control the sourness and keeps the deep nutty flavor in our bread that we are known for.”

artisan bread baker Mediterra Bakehouse

Mediterra Bakehouse

Many artisan bread bakers study breadmaking techniques all over the world. Ambeliotis traveled across the U.S. and Europe learning processes from the best bakers. Mediterra models its baking after the old-world European style using less yeast, more time, cold water and heritage wheat. Mediterra sources three types of heritage grains from its farm in Coolidge, Arizona.

There are several varieties of artisan bread that are ideal for holiday meals and gifts. Mediterra’s seasonal loaves include a pumpkin boule with pepitas, cumin, nutmeg and roasted yams; fig and anise bread with dried Black Mission figs, dates and anise seeds; its popular chocolate cherry loaf made with French chocolate and dried Michigan cherries; and the traditional stollen, a German fruit bread flavored with almonds, cranberries, citrus, raisins, cinnamon and dark rum with a decadent marzipan filling.

Customers can taste the quality and appreciate the time and effort that is put into each loaf of artisan bread.

Mediterra Bakehouse artisan bread

Mediterra Bakehouse

Bien Cuit offers its own twist on holiday stollen. “We always do a riff on stollen,” Golper said. “This year, we’re doing one with bourbon-poached black currants and a toasted almond marzipan that we make in-house. The flavors are familiar, warm and deeply satisfying.”

Customers can taste the quality and appreciate the time and effort that is put into each loaf of artisan bread.

“Some of the most common feedback we get is that customers love our bread because of its freshness and flavor,” Chun said. “Customers love eating a product that they know is sustainably sourced and made with a lot of love and attention.”

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