Artisan bread and products are flying off the shelves. Why this interest in artisan style baking, and how can you get involved—or do it better?

To help sort through this trend, I bring in a few artisan experts to answer some questions. First off, some visitors from Ardent Mills: Abbey Heikes in specialty sales and Ed Reinwald, a technical analyst.

Abbey works on the grain side of things, offering insight into popular grains and milling practices that go hand in hand with artisan baking. Ed works to help bakeries solve problems, like how to bake with more natural, simple lines. He shares the challenges artisan bakers face, and new technological advances that can help make a successful product

A few questions we tackle are:

  • What are heirloom and heritage grains, and how do they bake?
  • What can add rich flavors to artisan breads?
  • How should you handle high absorption dough
  • What does it takes to be a successful artisan bread baker?

Later, Peter Lachapelle stops by to talk about the inaugural International Artisanal Bakery Expo. This show will be a monumental resource to bakers. Peter shares the struggles and obstacles to opening a new, successful business. As artisan bread starts to boom, it’s bringing in entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily have a background in baking or business.

With this expo, Peter hopes to share support and knowledge. Along with equipment and ingredient vendors, speakers will cover topics such as:

  • Layered dough and pastry
  • Out of the box donuts
  • What the product mix should be in bakery cafe
  • How to start and finance a baking business

To learn more about the expo, visit www.artisanbakeryexpo.com.