on 6 October 2012
I heard about this book on virtuousbread.com. I ordered it as a present for someone else, but have enjoyed it so much, I am keeping it for myself. In 3 days I have made 3 breads -with no disasters. I am a novice & £200 spent on books by "the famous experts" has left me confused & unsuccessful. But this book is different, this woman is a teacher. Simple step by step instructions - no confusing terms - even step by step photographs. The narrative sucked me in - an interesting world tour of bread - with easy to follow recipes for really interesting breads. The book even feels good - lovely slightly glossy pages that will withstand prod-ing sticky fingers. Fantastic.
on 7 December 2012
Home baking here in the UK is on the rise. It's probably the Great British Bake Off factor, but baking books are springing up everywhere, and one of the latest is All You Knead is Bread by Jane Mason.
There is such a huge difference between proper bread that's been given time to rise gently and develop its flavour and with a proper crumb and rich texture, and the sort of pap that's found on supermarket shelves, that turns into a little ball of mush as soon as you start chewing, and that you can tell just from picking it up is a loaf without any substance.
When bread really was the staple carbohydrate, I don't think that the general population would have even looked at a loaf of sliced white. The rich range of traditional loaves found in each country beat the modern mass produced, Chorleywood process loaf into a cocked hat (why are things beaten into a cocked hat anyway?), and for a truly satisfying breakfast, there's nothing like a slice of proper toast, with proper marmalade on top.
This book is wide ranging, introducing me to all sorts of different breads from around the world, but by necessity it isn't exhaustive. For example, there isn't a recipe for saffron buns, nor for soul cakes, but there are plenty of recipes for breads that I haven't come across before. I really fancy trying the potato and rosemary bread, Danish rye, pide ekmeghi, maritimers' bread, beer bread, and the Easter bread. As well as the recipes for less common breads, Jane also includes a chapter on introducing the concepts and ingredients for straightforward loaves, including sourdough. I do like the little essays about Jane's travels around the world, and her experiences of the local bread wherever she goes.
The recipes themselves are clear and well explained, aided by the longer section at the front of the book which gives more details about each stage of baking bread. The photography is also good; nicely styled and clearly illustrating the finished results, showing us what we're aiming for. Giving further guidance are her videosfollow; so you can really see the process in action - a great help for the inexperienced baker.
In summary, this is a great book for those who wish to explore the world of breads, and particularly those who are looking for inspiration from around the world. As I said, it's not exhaustive but as apparently there are 3,600 different types of bread in Germany alone, it' really can't be, but for the keen baker, it's well worth adding this book to your shelf. The punning title does set my teeth on edge, though.
on 28 October 2013
I've been baking bread since a boring, wet winter's afternoon when I was 12 and decided to experiment with my mother's old cookery book. That was over 50 years ago and I haven't looked back since.
I bought this book on the basis of the reviews. It is gives comprehensive overview of baking and a lot of interesting recipes. I particularly like it that she gives such a wide variety of recipes for "ethnic" and continental breads.
However, I don't agree with the reviewer who said this book is suitable for a total bread beginner. The author does tend to contradict herself, for example, she says in the preamble that the dough should not be "proofed" (but with no indication of what this is) but then in the next section where she tells us the steps involved in making bread she quite is clearly telling us to proof (aka "prove") the dough (although she doesn't call it this). She also perpetuates the idea that yeast should be activated with cold water. This may be fine if you are working in a hot, centrally-heated kitchen, with all ovens working at full capacity but in winter when your working area is un-heated and the water pipes come in from outside so the water is icy cold, the yeast takes forever to work - when I experimented with this, having heard it on a television programme, the dough took nearly 36 hours for the first rise - I know a slow rise is better than a fast one but that was slightly ridiculous!
The recipes, however are very well written and include a lot of useful information in a chatty, uncomplicated style.
All in all I like this book and will use it for the recipes but it won't make me throw away my tried and trusted "English Bread and Yeast Cookery" (by Elizabeth David - who else!) which I turn to in moments of bread making crisis and for practical advice.
EDIT: Just realised that I should have added that the author says that this is not a book for anyone who needs a gluten-free loaf.
on 20 March 2013
This is a really good book for beginners or those with a little more experience. It was recommended to me on a bread making course run by Bread Angels (I think the author, Jane Mason, runs the company that offers the courses). It's well illustrated and written in a friendly, accessible style and what's most important, the recipes work every time. The information about bread at the beginning is also very useful.
on 28 June 2013
This books has lots of recipes from around the world,all well explained and easy to follow.If you still feel in need of more help,Jane Mason has some videos on youtube depicting how to knead,bake,etc.
on 3 October 2012
Jane Mason's 'All you knead is Bread' is a wonderful book, and an excellent resource for any kitchen bookshelf.
It's informative and interesting, with beautiful prose, excellent photographs, easy-to-follow recipes and interesting anecdotes of travel/bread customs from around the world (who knew that if you dropped bread in Armenia, you had to pick it up and place in a high place (tree etc) to show respect?)
The authors style makes it easy for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced cooks.