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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 20 December 2015
I took up making bread as a hobby and diversion from 'work' a few years ago. I got the mixer, and found the right flour practiced and made hundreds of loaves. I thought they were pretty good.

Until I bought this book..

This book completely changed how I make bread, and I think it's brilliant.

The methods take more time, but it's time waiting, while you sleep or do something else. The effort is miniscule compared to other 'kneading' methods (that you've spent time perfecting), this needs just a bit of gentle folding, microscopic amounts of yeast... It's completely counterintuitive. But read and follow the instructions exactly and be careful with timing and temperatures and you'll make bread that looks exactly like the one on the cover. It's crusty, chewy and full of bubbly pockets.. Really brilliant bread that you'd pay at least £5 for in a artisan bakery.

A few things you should get when you buy the book
- electronic scale,
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B000ZNM51O/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1450629549&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=electronic+scales+kitchen&dpPl=1&dpID=31tudZF4mWL&ref=plSrch

- a electronic thermometer (I bought the Heston one)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00IXM4T5O/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1450629503&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=heston+thermometer&dpPl=1&dpID=51ikfAJlyCL&ref=plSrch

- a banneton (basket) to prove the dough
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B006J7JWHU/ref=mp_s_a_1_7?qid=1450629397&sr=8-7&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=proving+basket&dpPl=1&dpID=41%2BJ82-jG0L&ref=plSrch

-a medium to large size cast iron casserole with a lid to bake in. You could splash out on a le creuset casserole but take a tip and get any other brand for a tenth of the price they are just as good. I use a 24cm diameter casserole for each loaf.. This 23cm one would be fine :
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00FAU4J2A/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1450629281&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=casserole+grunwerg&dpPl=1&dpID=41Fs9MkhcdL&ref=plSrch
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on 26 June 2013
This is a very good book on true Artisan bread making - Forkish takes you through from the basic ingredients via simple yeasted breads right through to complex levain based (sourdough) breads. His methods are very easy to follow, but are completely different from the typical "leave it to rise for one hour" approach. This is a good thing. Most of his breads rise overnight and have a much more complex flavour because of it. He gives example schedules as well, so you can plan out the baking over a couple of days. This doesn't mean there is lot of work in creating bread here, it just takes a while - most of which time you can easily be out at work or off doing something else.

My favourite recipes are the "Overnight Country Blonde" and the "Pain au Bacon", both of which are stunning!

I have a couple of comments though:

In the levain based bread section, he advises building up an awful lot of levain, then chucking most of it away. I think this is wasteful, but I have had good success building up half the amount he specifies.

Also, to get the best from this book, you will need to either already own or invest in a Dutch Oven or large cast iron lidded casserole that fits into your oven. I use a Lodge Combo Cooker (see link below) which is absolutely perfect. If you don't have such a container, it really is worth buying one as it will take the bread to another level - there's also the benefit of being able to cook other stuff in it too!

Lodge Combo Cooker with Shallow Skillet Lid, 3 qt

Other than the recipes and techniques, Forkish's story is pretty interesting and entertaining.

All in all, it's a good read, a good recipe manual and a good book on the art and science of bread baking.

One final point....if you get hooked on this approach to baking, it is well worth buying good quality flour and salt. The yeast you can create yourself if you follow his advice on creating a sourdough starter. If you are in the UK, Shipton Mill produce fantastic flour for online ordering....
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on 7 May 2014
I have really only started baking bread properly since our daughter bought me Paul Hollywood's '100 Great Breads' which is a great starting point. I then bought his book 'How to Bake' and that takes you further. This book is much more concerned with you understanding the chemistry of bread-making and then letting you try it. There are aspects which surprise you at first - 3 grams of yeast instead of 20, 12-14 hours fermentation instead of 4, using much less salt and using plain flour instead of strong white flour and last, but not least, baking bread in a dutch oven! I have to say that, if you persevere, you will marvel at just how fantastic bread can taste! The only downside is that you will realise just how tasteless most shop-bought bread really is, even the stuff made by nationally recognised bakers. In a world where quality has been forsaken for efficiency, this book will remind you that less is more and that patience really does bring its own, wonderful rewards.
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on 4 April 2014
I purchased this book from another seller. I am working my way through the recipes within this book and so far they have all come out brilliantly. The author gives a list of equipment that he believes is needed for his recipes, but he does state that things like the 12L tub for mixing are his preference & not essential. I for one have no intention of getting one of these and use a 6L mixing bowl. Forkish always makes enough dough for two loaves of bread, I half his recipes and make enough for one at a time. He does not use a stand mixer, nor does he do lots of kneading, as his recipes are slow rise and most take at least 18hrs.. Forkish gives concise instructions and reasons for working the way he does and if you are not sure you can watch his methods on YouTube.

Some say that this book is not for the novice but I would argue why learn to make bread the wrong way, when you can start off as you should go on. I do agree with Forkish that we know far more about the science of bread making and we all have fridges, so why continue making bread the way we have made for over 100 years. We need to learn and adjust. Also if you just want to turn out a loaf of bread that tastes the same as you can buy from any bakers what is the point?

The one piece of equipment that you'll definitely need for his recipes is a Dutch Oven that can withstand very high temperatures.
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on 21 April 2013
This book is a must for everyone who wants a top notch loaf at home! Believe me your bread would stand up against those sold in the best bakeries anywhere!
I have decided to write a review after reading some bad reviews about this book on the US Amazon. Someone said that the book is too personal and the author dedicated too much of it to his personal details and life. I personally loved that particular chapter as it made me think about bread beyond just as a food. Anyone who is looking just for new easy bread recipes don't bother buying it. This books offers you complete artisan baking education with a collection of recipes for fabulous breads and pizzas, as well as very precise instructions. I would say this book is for someone who is interested not just in perfect results but in the process as well! I thought that I was quite an experienced amateur baker, but this book opened up a completely new world of baking to me and made me understand that to produce a decent loaf from thousands of fancy ingredients is not difficult. To make gorgeous looking and tasting bread using just water, flour, salt and yeast- this is a challenge and an art! I would say it's no less important and magical than in wine making.
My first attempt was white bread with poolish, which is an overnight pre-ferment. It was quite challenging as it is tricky to handle a wet dough but the results exceeded my expectations - perhaps it is the best loaf I have ever made.
Cannot wait to test all these recipes!
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on 12 January 2015
It's a good all rounder great breads parts in depth others plain and simple ,love the baguettes, this book would be in my top 5 of bread books

There are a lot of very dark crusty breads here , I prefer some lighter but it's all choice and I wish I had an oven that goes to 500 deg

But all in all a good book
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on 5 February 2016
Making bread is my hobby. I have several books, and have attended an expensive bread making class. This is absolutely the finest book I have read. It is the only one which actually results in the bread looking like what's on the cover. Instructions are meticulous for each bread; no detail is left out to save print - every recipe is complete in itself so that you don't have to cross reference. Superb. If you like to bake bread, you need this book. Note: best results by far are obtained by baking in a Dutch oven. I use a pyrex glass 4 quart oven from Amazon which cost £12.95. Get two so that you can bake two loaves at once. It makes a huge difference. Any Dutch oven (e.g. le Creuset) will do but if the lid has other than a metal lifting knob it may melt. Stick with Pyrex - I think the glass actually makes the bread rise more than metal in the baking. My baking stone cost over £20 and I never use it. Forkish often uses microscopic quantities of yeast, so I recommend a little electronic jewellers' scale which you can find on Amazon for less than £10. Since yeast amounts are so small, it should be fresh, quality yeast. See photo - good luck!
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on 8 June 2016
I've been baking bread for years, and started sourdough baking a few months ago using James Morton's "Brilliant Bread" and a recipe from a friend. My results were mixed; often the bread was a bit too sour for our tastes. Now I've started using the Forkish book and the results are amazing. Controlling the temperature of the water you use, and the proving times, has made a huge difference. The loaves look and taste gorgeous.

I do use an enamelled cast iron covered pot ( similar to Le Creuset), but I don't have proving baskets - I just use ceramic bowls in which I place a floured cloth napkin.

I only bake once a week so I keep my starter in the fridge, and re-fresh it like Forkish says. The only problem with his book is the quantity of starter which he tells you to make. Why does he say to make 1000g of starter, only use 100g of it, and discard 900g??? No one likes throwing away food, even though it's just flour and water. I just prepare a fraction of the starter he says, in exact proportion to his recipe, and the results are fine.

I will go back to "Brilliant Bread" as I liked the recipes for things like pretzels, bagels and baguettes which are not in the Forkish book. But Forkish is the sourdough master.
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on 1 November 2013
Having made my own bread for some years I find this book both challenging and exciting. It is both challenging and exciting to make bread without the normal yeast and 2 rising methods and allows you to experiment with the wetness of the dough to your own preference. It is also challenging learning methods used in a bakery condition and reproduce them at home in a domestic environment. I have made some of the breads and the flavours do take getting used to if you bake normal breads but it is worth it. I am no expert baker of breads however I have a variety of books on bread and I find the description of the recipes very easy to follow and to adapt to different quantities. This will take my baking to another level.
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on 20 September 2013
It's an interesting book, and I enjoy reading it. But I would say it's different from other cookbook. It doesn't directly tell you how to make a good loaf. You got to read through the book and gain insights of different techniques and skills in order to achieve a successful loaf. It's definitely not a book for beginner. You must be pretty serious about bread for this book readers.
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