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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars follow the instructions and you can't fail, 5 May 2011
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This review is from: Bread Matters: Why and How to Make Your Own (Paperback)
I made some attempts at making bread some years ago. The loaves would have made admirable house bricks, or with appropriate decoration, fake gold bullion bars. I gave up. Bread machines then became available and I started making loaves again. This time with more sucess but I find the loaves a little "cakey". I ultimately moved to France and for the last 5 years I have been enjoying (mostly) the offerings of the french bakers. But don't be fooled, it's not always everything it's cracked up to be. With the recession biting, I decided to dust off the bread machine and start baking my own "cakey" loaves again. Not the best but I know what goes into them.

I then stumbled across an old Garden Organic mag and found this book reviewed. I decided to give it a shot although I did wonder if it would be hot air, since even here in france the local artisan made wholemeal organic loaf is dry and bricklike, so how could I possibly do better?

Well I can confidently say, having read this book, I have easily surpassed the offerings of my local bakery! It takes relatively little time. Make the dough the night before in the Kenwood Chef with the dough hook, takes maybe 10 minutes, shape it the following morning and bake. Much easier than getting the car out etc and saves me a bit of cash. Over the couple of weeks I have owned this book I would say it has easily paid for itself (I can make a 1kg loaf - organic wholemeal - for less than 1).

So far I have made only the basic loaf, wanting to perfect that but it would be quite easy to manage on just that. Although there is a whole range of exotic breads you might like to try (and I probably will eventually). Incidentally I find that the loaves cook really well on a gas barbeque sat on a metal tray dusted with flour.

This book could as easily have been called Bread Demystified. It seems bread making is not that difficult, you just need to know how. This book contains that information. The key is temperature. The temperature of the flour and the temperature of the water you add to it. You will find the formula (very simple one at that) included, and that was the key for me to graduate from cooking bricks to loaves that my family can't get enough of. I should also add that when the oven opens, I no longer wonder what the loaf will be like. I KNOW what the result will be. The luck factor has been removed from the process!

Do the loaves keep? Yes very much so. I haven't tried to keep them for more than 48 hours, they get eaten too quickly. But they will certainly keep from one day to the next (I store mine in a crock). I am sure you could easily make a large batch and freeze the dough (I haven't tried that). In addition, I also find that we eat less than the shop bought bread, which is down to the fact that we get more nourishment from them. A couple of slices is really plenty, whereas shopbought, we tend to not to be able to satisfy ourselves with it.

There is a section devoted to the evils of the bread you buy in the supermarket. You don't have to read that. You can just as easily skip to the nuts and bolts of bread making, but it is interesting to read if you really care about what you put into your body.

If you want to make your own edible bread (esp wholemeal) then this is the book for you. Follow the instructions, and you really can't go wrong. I am getting perfect loaves every time, so can you.
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