When it comes artisan baking, there are several commandments that most bakers generally agree upon, and at least one commandment.

“There are no shortcuts,” said Etai Baron, owner and chief executive officer of Izzio’s Artisan Bakery, Louisville, Colo. “You have to give it the time to make great bread. Artisan must rely on very high-quality flour because we don’t use any additives or conditioners that smooth out variations in quality or make bad quality flour better. They must depend on natural, extended fermentation to create flavor and texture and use a minimal amount of machining to make their products.”

Likewise, Richard Eley, director of commercialization for Highland Baking Co., Northbrook, Ill., recommended taking the slow road results for a satisfying journey.

“Don’t cut corners on the fermentation,” he said. “Let the dough develop its flavor and strength. The longer you can work with it, the better it’s going to get. When you make the final dough, you want it to be we well fermented. You want to divide it gently and shape it carefully. Let it proof in a cloth canvas. You can let it proof and retard for a couple hours. All of those long periods develop the flavor and characteristics of it.”

For Mr. Baron, it comes down to that one question: What are consumers are going to love? That’s what inspires him as an artisan baker.

“That cuts through everything,” he explained. “I always believed that it’s really important that consumers can taste the difference. You can tell someone that something tastes delicious, but consumers have to taste it and believe it’s actually delicious. There’s no fooling them at the end of the day.

This article is an excerpt from the April 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature, click here.