The farm-to-fork movement does not pertain to meats and produce exclusively, and it permeates all forms of retail food, including the bakery. Another trend that has begun to walk hand-in-hand with farm-to-fork is artisan bread.
The movements are similar in that they both emphasize the idea of fresh, clean label food. Like the farm-to-fork ideal, artisan bread bakers concern themselves with quality and health rather than that of quantity and the lowest possible cost of production and highest profit margin. That’s not to say that profit is not important, because it is. But if artisan bread sells well due to its ingredient list, profit margin will be there.
As the bread choices in restaurants have shown through their increase in variety, the American relationship with this historical food, and its role in American diets, continues to evolve. Some retail and wholesale bakeries have driven and continue to drive the movement of offering fresh, baked in-house, artisan breads.
According to www.restaurantnews.com, American menus will continue to feature bread in various styles like never before in 2014. Many restaurants have begun baking their own artisan breads in house, livening up sandwiches and burgers with special loaves, from ciabatta, to challah, to pretzel with options like brisket on brioche and Panini on sundried tomato focaccia.
This trend presents an excellent opportunity for retail bakeries to take advantage of by using their bakery skills to secure wholesale accounts with local restaurants and supermarkets alike. With the growing trend in artisan breads, you can position your bakery to offer restaurants and grocery retailers the artisan breads that the American diner wants to see and eat. This is not only a great source of alternate income, but also a way to get your bakery’s name and product, into the minds of potential customers.
Not Just a Stand Alone
Use artisan breads for more than just another single item for sale in the store. Pizza remains, and most likely always will, an American classic and favorite. Today’s baker understands that pizza making and bread baking are almost identical crafts. Pizza and bread make a natural combination and throughout history, pizza makers have started out as bread bakers who upsell their products through the addition of toppings, says John Arena, owner of Metro Pizza in Las Vegas, NV, and professor of History and Culture of Pizza at UNLV.
Of all the popular artisan breads, focaccia lends itself best to an alternative for a traditional pizza crust. Because focaccia and traditional pizza dough share many similarities, making pizza from focaccia is a natural for bakers, and an easy way to sell more bread, more pizza, and generate more revenue. The main difference in the two doughs is that focaccia uses more leavening, giving it a taller rise. This allows focaccia to absorb large amounts of olive oil. This in turn gives focaccia the capability to be the base for a number of non-traditional pizza varieties.
Another great way to integrate focaccia bread into your line up is sandwiches. For focaccia sandwiches, it’s easy. Make any sandwich you might normally make, but use focaccia bread. Italian style sandwiches will probably fit with the focaccia better, but experimentation always has the potential to yield something new or innovative and great. Use focaccia for paninis, grill them or serve them cold.