That smell of freshly baked bread is a sensation that transports us back in time to childhood. And although that smell is synonymous with comfort, warmth and relaxation, the smell can actually vary between breads. Many people may not be able to distinguish the difference in smell, but you would certainly be able to describe the difference in taste.
What we are talking about is an Artisan loaf and the fine detail and depth of flavour that comes with the product. This depth of flavor is due to the process involved in making the bread.
Regular commercial bread is made using flour, fast acting yeast, and possibly sugar to start. The yeast feeds on the sugar and produces carbon dioxide which helps give the dough volume. Other than these ingredients, in order for the bread to last on the shelf, they require preservatives and additives. In comparison, a true Artisan loaf uses a yeast culture that is not fast acting. This yeast creates a ferment. When the dough is left exposed to a clean and cool temperature, a fertile environment is created for lactic acid bacteria to form. These microflora consume little energy and multiply slowly, thus the need for time. This fermentation process accounts for the distinctive taste.
From a health perspective, these breads do not contain preservatives or additives. Therefore, as it stands this style of bread is healthy due to containing minimal ingredients and no chemicals.
Another added bonus of the Artisan bread is the slow fermentation process. The microflora and wild yeast also changes the structure of the nutrients in the grains. This combination moves into the flour and water and ferment it. During fermentation, these organisms digest the starches and produce lactic acid and carbon dioxide. While they digest the starches they also degrade some of the proteins. The protein being degraded is gluten. Therefore, for those looking to have lower gluten intake would respond well to this type of bread.
Anecdotally, in some studies individuals have observed less symptoms associated with a long fermented bread (>12 hours) compared to their regular bread consumption. Scientific studies have not indicated it being easier to digest the gluten, however the longer the ferment the more the inflammatory properties such as gluten have been degraded.