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Bread: River Cottage Handbook No. 3 Hardcover – 2009

346 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st edition (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074759533X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747595335
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'My team at River Cottage really know how to find and cook good, fresh food. Together we are creating a series of handbooks crammed with expert information. They will be passionate, but practical so that you can have a really useful book to hand whenever you feel the urge to forage, preserve, bake, grow or cook' Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall PRAISE FOR THE FIRST RIVER COTTAGE HANDBOOK, MUSHROOMS: 'The best guide to gathering and eating wild mushrooms there has ever been' Independent

About the Author

As well as baking fresh bread every day in the HQ kitchens, Daniel Stevens leads the ever-popular Build and Bake courses, which equip students with the skills to build their own outdoor wood-fired oven. Daniel has been cooking and baking in professional kitchens for several years, in Hertfordshire, where he grew up, and more recently in Dorset, where he now lives. He has been part of the kitchen team at HQ since June 2006.

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

187 of 191 people found the following review helpful By D. Armson on 12 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
What a glorious book. I started to make my own bread a little over 8 months ago and had a reasonable level of success, but was always disappointed by the lost loaves that didn't quite work out. This book put an end to these problems and I can honestly say I've not had a bad loaf since.

The basic bread recipe is explained in great detail with information as to why you're doing each stage, and what is going on with the dough at each stage. This takes the mystery out of your loaf and helps you to understand if anything is going wrong, giving you a chance to correct it before its to late. One you've followed this through a couple of times then the basic recipe is given in a short version, much more like a normal recipe, making it easy to follow.

After the basics have been learnt then the skies the limit. There are plenty of other recipes to have a go at (not to mention the gorgeous focaccia bread) and a rather useful section on what to make with your bread that is a little past its best. There is even a section on how to make your own outdoor bread oven that has got me dreaming of outdoor feasts over the summer.

A simple to follow must have guide without the waffle about the "terrible state of the modern bread industry" that is often present in other books. Buy it now!
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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Pardo VINE VOICE on 8 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book on bread I have ever come across. My bread making as improved out of sight since reading it. At a first glance this book, like the others I've seen in this series, looks too pretty to be much good. But like all the others in the series it manages to have a huge amount of substance to back up its beauty. The first 50 odd pages go through the process of bread making and the techniques involved step by step and in real detail but without being dull or pedantic. They are worth the price twice over as reading these is what has made such a massive difference to my bread - the rest is a very nice bonus. Thanks for writing such a great book. One of the highlights of what is a very, very good series.
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91 of 95 people found the following review helpful By S. Girvan on 13 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is simply brilliant. The 'basic' bread recipe takes 54 pages (yes, 54!) because goes through each stage in detail, explaining why each step is important. This section alone is worth the purchase price because it contains all the basic skills you need. I thought I made pretty good bread already, but since I got this book and read through this section, my bread has got 100 times better.

He covers aspects most others don't such as how to shape the loaves and the basic ratios that almost all bread recipes are based on and has the customary (and well deserved) attack on the Chorleywood process that has all but killed 'real' bread for most people.

Dan's writing conveys his enthusiasm really well and makes you want to get stuck in straight away. He also covers the more specialist breads well (such as bagels, ciabatta) and yeast free breads (like soda bread).

Highly Recommended.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Winstanley on 23 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
As an avid fan of anything HFW does I actually veered away from this series of books, as I have the early River Cottage books and had feared for the ineveitable over-kill such an industrious output usually engenders.

However, I found Daniel Stevens book on bread making to be so accessible it was untrue. I also have several other bread books by leading lights in the new bread making canon but they cannot touch this book for ease, simplicity, common sense, and a refreshing lack of 'up-there-own-backside' attitude.

Put another way, Andrew Whitely's book on bread is a polemical and fascinating read, and an essential for serious bakers. But it just isn't an easy book, and the directions for bread making are lost amongst the artisan politics of the author. For instance he goes into great length on the ins and outs of various dough making techniques (such as the overnight sponge, poolish, sourdough etc.) but fails to direct the reader adequately on how to achieve these things. One of the first things I found in Bread: River Cottage Handbook No.3 was a simple recipe for an overnight sponge - weights and measures, technique, everything.

One of things pointed out in other reviews has been the extended sequence on a basic bread dough recipe. For me this works as it is amply demonstrated in pictures and directions and gives the reader a crash course in creating a dough, kneading, shaping, and baking. Just brilliant, simple, and informative. Stevens then goes into page-by-page detail on all manner of bread recipes - focaccia, flat bread, spelt loaf, brioche - in the same simple but informative style. You literally could buy this book, get it home and have a loaf by tea-time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John on 24 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Not often I write a review, but this book has inspired me. Have only recently got into bread making. Have only had 3 attempts so far. First loaf, a Delia recipe of the net. Turned out not bad, a bit dark round the edges, a bit dense, tasted ok. 2nd attempt, a recipe from Elizabeth Davids English Bread book, recommended by many, but totally unreadable and un-user friendly. Loaf came out a bit of a weird brown/grey colour and was a weird texture. Tasted quite good, almost sourdough like, but too salty for my tastes

And then I bought the River Cottage book. Straight away I was really impressed by the no nonsense writing, clear instructions and great photos. Thought I'd try a simple white load based on the basic loaf recipe. And it turned out perfectly, I seriously cannot think of any way it could have been better. The sort of bread you see in specialist shops that I'd happily pay good money for. A crisp but chewy crust, springy but soft crumb, amazing smell and loads of flavour. Seriously impressed, and I'd recommend this book 100% even if it was this result alone. Wish I could post up a photo of it so you could see how great it turned out

The rest of the book also looks excellent, with recipes for the other breads I plan on making (brioche, bagels, sourdough) plus all sorts of other recipes (pizza, muffins, roti). There are other more involved bread books out there if you wanted to get into baking bread more seriously, but as a clear and effective first purchase, I don't think you could get better than this
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