"The Handmade Loaf" contains more than 80 contemporary European bread recipes that will teach you the techniques used to turn grain into beautiful bread, using your hands as the perfect kitchen tools to combine and shape dough with.
"I've tried to keep the recipe photography brutally clear and sharp, to explain rather than hide with each picture. There's so much that can be learned looking at the crumb structure and the crust, and the reader loses that detail when we hide it in soft focus. The pictures are rough and hard edged, taken as soon as the bread can be sliced which captures the vibrancy just-baked crust colour, and the moistness in the crumb."
"I didn't want to write a book that the home baker got quickly bored with," says Dan, "that just rehashed bad science on highly decorated but tasteless breads. There are many home bakers who have already made their first loaf,or people who are good with their bread machine and want to bake more, or just bright passionate cooks who love books and learning. This book is for them. These are the recipes I use at home, that I find quick, that give me the best results in my domestic oven."
"Though the countries have been an inspiration, and their bakers have advised and guided me," says Dan, "I wanted to avoid writing recipes that suggested, say, that you can make a perfect baguette using generic supermarket flour and a sachet of easy-blend yeast. This just isn't true. But how about teaching how to bake a beautiful, good flavoured loaf with the flour that you have, with the grain that grows in the region around you. By moving the focus from the bread name to the grain, then making the best use of local ingredients becomes the goal."
"Let's encourage people to be thoughtful, intelligent bakers too. The word 'Organic' is not a brand, but a responsibility towards the environment we all must share. There are farmers, millers and bakers who care about the soil that grows the grain we use, and I'm adamant we will support them. These stories and recipes encourage readers to do just that."
If you've got an aspiring breadmaker on your gift list, buy this book, an inexpensive set of digital scales and a few bags of flour and sit back and await the results.
Don't believe me, find out for yourselves.
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