Artisan bread is created in small batches in local bakeries. Many restaurants and cafes use it as part of their menu options whilst many people much prefer to eat a properly crafted product as opposed to a supermarket manufactured loaf. Artisan producers are highly trained and use quality ingredients to create amazing bread every day.
As it has no artificial ingredients or enzymes added to it the bread will be better for us. But wholemeal or grain bread is still better.
There is a site in the UK called the Real Bread Campaign, you can use its locator to discover a bakery that has joined the scheme. If you are in the US there is a really good list of bakeries across the nation on The Bread Bakers Guild of America These are not 100% accurate as there are many bakers that don’t include themselves so don’t worry if they are not on the site! Another typical way is to google the phrase “artisan bakers near me”. This should pick up a few results
Some bakeries may declare they are artisans. But if in doubt, they will mention that it’s made without additives, concentrates or improvers. Or state that their ingredients as flour, water salt and yeast (for sourdough producers, it’s usually without yeast). The bread will usually be made on-site and the description of the bread will usually describe the flour and the fermentation technique used.
Some cheeky baker “cowboys” may try and spin the truth of how the products are made if you chat with them, just ask them about the ingredients and if anything extra is added! (sometimes it takes a few opportunities for them to open up!).
Overall the flavour will be far superior anyway. You’ll taste the sourness from the acidity of natural fermentation and see a strong crumb. Once you’ve found it, you’ll know!
The Real Bread Campaign also have a logo that artisan bakers can use next to their sourdough products:
Typical prices are around £1.80-£4 for a loaf, maybe £5 in London. These can increase for speciality loaves such as brioche due to the higher cost of ingredients. Harrods sold a £10 loaf made by Paul Hollywood once, I’m not sure if they do anything in that price range now.
Bread is taken very seriously in France. From the country’s reputation, you would think every bread is carefully sculptured by an artisan baker who works in a dark after learning his trade for 15 years. But the reality is no.
Bread quality is taken seriously by the population so sliced bread and overly western bread do not feature. But they do use the same equipment and bakers can use similar artificial additives which are common elsewhere. It’s just not as common as in the UK or US. French high streets are laden with small bakeries serving up quality artisan products. The way of life is artisan baking for most but it’s not hard to find modern commercial bread.
There are plenty of colleges and bakehouses around that run how to bake artisan bread courses, you can try google to discover one local to you. I also have a guide on how to make bread on this site which teaches you everything about artisan baking at home which you may like to view.