The best tips for artisan bread baking will often depend a great deal on individual recipes and the types of bread being made, though there are some general tips that can be helpful. Many recipes will call for baking in a stone oven, which can be replicated through the use of a pizza stone or terra cotta pot. Some recipes will also call for a moist or steamy environment for the bread to bake in and this can be created using a pan of water or a water bottle with spray nozzle. It can also be helpful to have certain tools for artisan bread baking such as a French “lame” or a patterned basket.
Artisan bread baking typically consists of baking certain types of breads in a way that is artisanal and produces bread that is as nice to look at as it is to eat. One of the best tips for artisan bread baking is for any baker to carefully read a recipe and make note of how long it will take to make the bread and any special requirements. Artisan bread baking is not always complicated, but it can often by time consuming and require multiple long rising times.
The recipe will also typically indicate special tools or conditions that may be required for artisan bread baking. Many recipes will call for a stone oven or suggest that the bread be baked on stone. This can be easily accomplished with a standard kitchen oven, simply by using a pizza stone on which the bread is baked. If someone does not have a pizza stone, he or she could use a wide terra cotta pot used in gardening, and simply turn it upside down in the oven. When baking bread on a stone, the baker should prepare the dough on a peel or paddle with some cornmeal to make it easier to release the dough onto the stone.
Artisan bread baking may also require a moist or steamy oven in which to bake the bread. This can be achieved simply by placing a pan with water in it on a lower rack in the oven before heating the oven, and leaving it in while baking to create steam. Water can also be sprayed into the oven to create steam, though this may need to be done repeatedly while baking. Some recipes may also call for scoring of the bread, which can be done with a French tool called a “lame” or a razor blade, and artisan bread baking can also involve the use of a patterned basket in which the dough rises to create a pattern imprinted on the baked bread.