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Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza Hardcover – 20 Oct 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 1 edition (20 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160774273X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607742739
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 2.3 x 25.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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