Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best ever book on Bread Making, 20 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes (Hardcover)
In my review of the first edition of this book I wrote
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"Having watched some videos of this master baker working on YouTube I had to buy this book cos this chap has a real knack for making really good bread.

"A comment on one of his videos said "He makes it seem so easy. With a few simple folds he shapes that mound of dough into almost a pillow."

"This book tells you exactly how to do as he does and to produce the most wonderful bread with a minimum of effort. Watch his videos, read the book and you too will produce magnificent bread both full of flavour, with a good crumb and which keeps.

"I have learned so much from this book that I simply have to recommend it to anyone who is serious about bread making - for those with a bread maker it's totally useless because you simply can't make really tasty bread in a bread maker. You need to use sourdough or - as I do - a pre-ferment which allows the full flavour to develop.

Why the question mark in the title? Well - there is a new edition which I have just ordered. I expect/hope that will be even better."
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This is undoubtedly better than the first edition.and so the question mark in the title is removed - this is the best book ever.

What's changed ? Clearer layout, better tables, more on folding (including an easier way), a section on hand kneading (including a no knead technique - which is the one I have been using for years), an enhanced section on pre-ferments which shows you how to bring out the flavour of the bread, but most importantly lots of new recipes - mostly using Brioche dough - almost a cake section but much better. A great book just got better and I am greatly looking forward to making the recipe used in the Swiss Alps where they had no yeast - just waiting to be rich enough to buy all those raisins!

In summary : no serious home or commercial baker should be without this book

Later Edit: The Brioche recipe is to die for (actually, with the butter in it you probably will!) Well worth trying to follow this exactly. I tend to to do all bakes using a whole 1.5 Kg bag (I hate weighing flour as I make such a mess!) and here is the recipe scaled for this:

1500 gms Strong White Flour
145 gms Water
750 gms eggs
35 gms salt
75 gms fresh yeast (37 gms dried)
750 gms unsalted butter
180 gms sugar

For eggs you will need 13 (appropriately a bakers dozen!) : if it is not exact consider the water and the eggs together so make up to 895 gms using water and whisk. At this stage I departed from the book and made a sponge (a pre-ferment) using half the flour, all the beaten eggs and water, and all of the yeast before adding the rest of the ingredients after about 4 hours of fermentation - the butter was very soft and I squidged it in with my fingers. Then used the no knead technique described in the book to complete it - with a couple of 'Hamelman' folds along the way.

On removing the dough from the fridge the next day (stored in a rectangular 6 litre plastic click on lid box) I had great fun making plaited rolls and other plaits - all following the very clear instructions in the book - a real wow when they came out of the oven in overall appearance, colour, texture and taste and all thanks to this book. And No! I didn't eat it all in one go. Most of it went in the freezer and it just needs a quick refresh in the oven to return it new.

This edition has a very good section on home baking with tips you just don't see in other books. For example: why use unsalted butter when you are already adding salt? Answer - unsalted butter doesn't keep so well and therefore has to be fresh, whereas salted butter may disguise a rancid taste which will flow through to the bread.
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