It is not uncommon to find Vienna bread in a bakery that is far from being authentic. The production method of Vienna bread varies from shop to shop. Some bakeries use the Straight method while others use the sponge-dough method. Authentic Vienna bread needs a tight dough and needs more fermentation time than bread made in a pan. The Vienna baker made his loaves famous through much care and detail along with using quality ingredients.
The dough for Vienna bread were molded and then placed on boards that were covered in cloth with the smooth side of the dough down. The dough was then fermented until the size had doubled. It was baked with a good supply of low pressure steam if possible. Otherwise the dough would have to be washed with water before cutting the dough into loaves. Some bakers bump loaves on boards after dusting them with fine bread crumbs or corn flour placing them far enough apart so they would not stick together while fermenting. When this method was used, the dough had to be placed smooth side up. Traditional French bread can be made in much the same way only a softer dough is needed. Both Vienna and French bread dough can be used to make quality hard crust rolls.
Americans tend to have a fascination with foreign cuisine. This seems to be the case with the baguette and other types of French bread. We romanticize the French and their cuisine. French bakeries have captivated Americans and motivated bakers in America to create breads of the like. It is no surprise that the baguette has gained popularity in America and can now be purchased at any bakery or supermarket. Boulangeries have become recognizable in cities all over the world.
Bakeries today capitalize on the ancient recipes of the Old World which have gained undying popularity around the world. Long, slender baguettes, buttery croissants, loaves of crusty Italian bread, ciabatta, and French boules are all favorites that adorn the shelves of modern American bakeries taking advantage of America’s love for foreign cuisine.
The delicious flavors brought to the United States by immigrants have survived the ever changing tastes of the American people and regained popularity, as has the American fascination with foreign cultures. Even breads that are thought to be American, such as sourdough, have their roots in other civilizations.
Gains in technology have changed the ancient methods of bread making to produce bread that is more consistent and quicker to make. The marketing of yeast has ensured bakers everywhere that every batch of dough will rise and provided with recipes that will consistently make the same bread each time you make it. The invention of the steam oven made production of baguettes possible even when French laws prohibited bakers from working before four o’clock in the morning. Techniques that mechanically knead dough have reduced the production time of bread and now bread machines are available for use in homes everywhere.
White bread used to be consumed by the higher classes, as it was more expensive to produce, and bleached flour was not available to the poorer people. This has taken a recent turn as we realize the health benefits of whole grain products. White bread has become the cheaper, less nutritious product available for everyday consumption by those who can not afford or choose not to spend the extra dollars for more expensive whole grain bread. There are now even enriched varieties of white bread available for the consumption of children or others who prefer the flavor to darker breads.
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