Bread baked by a skilled person (artisan baker) in an oven using only the minimum of ingredients such as flour, water, salt and yeast is called artisanal bread.
Artisanal bread is mixed, kneaded and punched down by hand. No preservatives or other additives are added to the bread to make it last longer on the shelf. This way of baking produces a bread that is tastier, healthier and better developed than the usual fast bread you buy at a supermarket. Artisanal bread is baked at home or at the local bakery in small quantities.
Bread Machines with Artisan Dough Settings
You may use kitchen appliances such as a stand mixer or a bread machine to prepare artisan bread dough, but using a bread maker for the whole process is more ‘automatic’ than it is ‘artisan’. This type of baking is best suited to doing by hand because the process needs an amount of flexibility, skill and experience. It is unreasonable to expect such a level of creative crafting from a kitchen appliance with preset baking cycles.
However, we know of two bread machines that have a menu program for preparing artisan bread dough. It is the Breadman BK1050S and the Cuisinart CBK-200. We continue with an overview of the basic features of each bread machine.
Breadman BK1050S with Artisan Dough Cycle
The Breadman BK1050S has a control panel with 14 baking functions including an artisan dough preparation setting. This can be used to prepare the dough which is then taken out of the machine, put into an oven pan and baked in a conventional oven. The artisan dough cycle provides a much longer rising time at cooler temperatures when compared to the other bread making programs.
There are three crust colors and three loaf sizes to choose from as well as a 15-hour delay timer. Please note that crust color and loaf size is not active when using the artisan dough program.
The Breadman BK1050S also features a collapsible kneading paddle which is pushed into the upright position during mixing and kneading. The paddle then collapses by turning in the opposite direction just before the baking starts.
Its automatic fruit and nut dispenser is another extra feature that may be useful if you want to bake raisin bread overnight. The rectangular baking pan can accommodate a 1, 1.5 or 2-pound bread loaf.
Cuisinart CBK-200 with Artisan Dough Cycle
The Cuisinart CBK-200 has 16 preset menu options. The artisan dough setting prepares the dough with a number of slow rise cycles for better bread texture and taste. Listen for the add mix-ins audible signal at 4 hours and 39 minutes into the program, if you want to add nuts or seeds to the dough.
The artisan dough cycle takes longer than any other program to complete: 5 hours and 5 minutes! You can then remove the bread dough, shape it and bake it in your kitchen oven.
Interesting features include the convection fan, 12-hour delay timer and the nonstick horizontal loaf pan with a single kneading blade.
It has a 15-minute pause button which may prove useful if you want to pause a preset menu program so that the bread can rise a little longer or to take out the dough and knead it a little by hand.
—> You may read our review of the Cuisinart CBK-200 for a longer discussion of its features, advantages and disadvantages.
The Breadman BK1050S costs less than $100 (see prices at Amazon.com). Some owners do not like the collapsible paddle of the Breadman BK1050S and would prefer an ordinary kneading blade. The collapsible paddle might end up scraping the Teflon coating of the nonstick bread pan. Other people actually like the way the paddle collapses: they do not have to dig the paddle out of the bread loaf.
The Cuisinart CBK-200 is the better choice. It costs more than $100, but it gets better reviews (read reviews at Amazon.com). It has an ordinary, non-collapsible kneading blade. There is an audible tone that sounds right before the baking starts that reminds you to remove the paddle. The CBK-200 instruction book provides a timetable for all the programs, preparation cycles and audible tones. Check at what time the remove paddle audible tone plays for each bread program. Removing the kneading paddle does not apply to making artisan dough with the CBK-200.