What makes good bread

What is good bread? My bread-baking philosophy.

What I expect from good bread is not just its taste or its appearance. The inner values ​​are also important. The overall package has to be right. And so it is no different with bread than with us humans.

A good bread lives from the philosophy of its baker. Regardless of whether it is a large bakery, village baker or hobby baker; if enthusiasm for the highest possible quality is applied, the road to good bread is not far. The craftsmanship plays a major role. But there are also points that start before that.

For me, these include:

  • the use of natural ingredients
  • the waiver of additives (isolated / synthesized substances, such as technical / exogenous / functional enzymes, emulsifiers, thickeners, flavor enhancers, aromas)
  • the use of natural sourdough, originally produced from spontaneous fermentation (the renouncement of dough acidifiers and pure cultures)
  • the use of preliminary stages (pre-dough, swelling / brewing / cooking pieces)
  • the use of as little yeast as possible (usually <1-2%)
  • the use of long-term tours for dough

All of these points ensure extremely tasty, wholesome, long-lasting bread that stays fresh for a long time. This is “bought” by apparently more complex recipes with sometimes many steps. Anyone who has done it once and has slowly developed a routine will notice that the effort is still limited, but thanks to this a bread quality is set that is rarely found. The crux of the matter is the use of little or no baker's yeast. Yeast in itself is not the problem, but the time we steal from the dough by using too much yeast. And the less time a dough has for fermentation, the less flavor and digestibility it develops. All of the substances in grain or bread that are detrimental to our health, such as fodmaps, ATI, acrylamide or gluten, are broken down or changed by the above points in such a way that we can tolerate them (with the exception of gluten in real celiac patients). Working with little yeast and / or sourdough in particular guarantees that the grain is pre-digested (fermented) for our human organism.

Besides that, he profits taste from this tactic. A good bread tastes best with itself. It doesn't need a topping or spread. After I cut a piece of bread, it first comes to my nose. If a musty, dull smell is drawn in, the bread has already lost. The same applies if the bread smells like nothing. Here, too, the yeast makes the difference. With normal bread dough, the yeast tastes first when it contains more than 1 g per 100 g of flour (= 1%), leaving behind a slightly bitter aftertaste and overlaying aromas. Sourdough brings the most complex taste and a wide variety of aromas to bread, including in fine baked goods, i.e. sweet breads and rolls.

The points listed above make baking good bread incredibly diverse. Mathematically, there are several trillion ways to bake healthy and tasty bread. And within this framework there is no right or wrong, everyone can choose their own path - from simple to complex.

For me, a good bread is even more. Let's widen our view. Good bread should also consist of good grain. Grain that has not been transported halfway around the world, but has been sustainably cultivated as regionally as possible according to ecological criteria. It should grow from solid seeds that are ideally adapted to the region and represent a cultural value that we receive through our baking. This is the only way for breeders and farmers to continue working with the varieties. If we bake mainstream grain from the world market, only a few industrial varieties remain, diversity is dwindling and with it our resistance to cuts such as climate change. We also support the badly battered breeder and miller trade. It doesn't always have to be the best flour from Italy, the USA or Canada. You can also bake well with flours from our region. It's the smarter choice in the long run.

Good bread is a world in itself. It not only tastes freshly baked, but also after a few days. Better still: It changes its character over the days, but always remains a pleasure. And when we know the history of our bread from the seed to the cut, it tastes even better.

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Updated on May 4, 2021 |

25 comments

            • Dear Lutz,

              For me, in addition to the things you mentioned, good bread also means that it is healthy.

              This in turn includes a high (100% if possible) wholemeal flour content and a dough that sufficiently reduces the phytic acid content (so that the body can absorb the minerals in the wholemeal flour). I am also skeptical about wheat flour, as the human body has not yet had much time to adapt to the cultivated forms used today (with a high gluten content).

              In addition to the health aspects, it is also important to me that the bread can be kept for as long as possible - i.e. it does not dry out so quickly. I live alone and need a few days to eat a large piece of bread.

              Do you also have recipes that meet these requirements? If not, I would be very happy to receive ideas or literature recommendations!
              With the phytic acid aspect in particular, I don't know how well researched it has already been done (how much should the phytic acid content be optimally reduced and which dough structure lowers it and how much?).

              Best regards
              Tjorven