You may have heard of the term ‘Artisan Bread’ but what does it really mean? Does it refer to the type of bread or how it is made? Can a large-scale bakery be ‘artisan’?
Simply put, ‘Artisan Bread’ is made by an artisan - someone skilled in the craft of bread making. So it's not about how rustic the loaf looks or how uneven the crumb, although these are attractive qualities that indicate the changing nature of bread from day to day.
It's not even about how hands-on the process is, as there are very few artisan bakers who have not embraced the time and energy-saving potential of technology. Vienna certainly has, although we’re far from fully automated.
And it’s certainly not about size. Although artisan baking might conjure up an image of a flour-covered baker toiling away all night in front of a wood-burning oven, we are proud to be the biggest bakery in the Channel Islands.
So what is the key ingredient in achieving ‘artisan’ status? We believe that what fundamentally makes an artisan bread ‘artisan’ is integrity.
Integrity flows through Vienna Bakery – from where we source our flour and the way we make our bread through to the type of people who work for us and how we sell it, either through our customers in retail or directly to Islanders from our Central Market shop.
Clearly behind integrity is skills and knowledge. Having the highest quality flour is pointless without someone who knows how to use it. Fortunately, we have an expert team led by Master Baker Christophe Vaudry, who has over two decades’ worth of experience and comes from a family of bakers.
For Christophe, artisan baking is not just about adhering to traditional values and recipes; it is also about experimentation and innovation – after all, what might have been popular 100 years ago might not be so popular now. Equally, what works in Rouen or Paris might not work in St Helier.
Like artisan bakers everywhere, we're working out how to stay true to the traditional methods of baking and learn from the skills and knowledge of the bakers who have gone before us and apply, where we can, advances in technology that can help us continue to make the best bread we can.
The French bakers, especially in Northern France, end their Christmas celebrations on the weekend of the 12th Night, the 6th January, celebrating the visit of the three Kings to Christ in Bethlehem, by baking the Galette des Rois, which translates into the King’s griddle cake.We have made our own version this year. We hope you will try it and enjoy it – please let us know what you think.Read more >>
Look out for our distinctive logo for a hallmark of qualityRead more >>