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on 30 January 2002
The detail in this book is wonderful, providing absolutely everything you'd want to know about baking bread.
Beginning sections break down each ingredient and the role it plays in breadmaking, baking and loaf shaping techniques, and advice on flours, yeasts and fats. It then discusses the different types of bread you can bake, what distiguishes them and how to achieve the best results. The section on how to create your own starters is fabulous!
What I love about this book is that it assumes you are coming to breadmaking as an absolute beginner and as such, leaves no detail unexplained - yet the tone is intelligent and thorough, with no hint of talking down to the reader. I've been baking my own bread for the past 15 years and found so much of the info interesting and enlightening (especially the 'troubleshooting'section explaining typical problems and how to fix them). Breadmaking is an art and a skill - there are as many techniques as there are bakers, and one never stops learning.
But the best part of the book (besides the ample colour photos) are the wonderful, detailed recipes. Included are recipes both basic and extravagant for Italian, French, British, American, Middle Eastern and other world speciality breads; as well as quick breads, holiday breads, and even recipes for leftover bread. There are authentic recipes for ciabatta, pain ordinaire and San Francisco sourdough, as well as bagels, pita, schiacciata, baps, bloomers, lavosh, challah, grissini.....
A perfect book for the beginner, a wonderful resource for the experienced baker.
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on 4 October 2007
This book is the BEST for bread making - you only have to be a bread eater and a bread lover to enjoy it. Mouthwatering photographs and step by step recipes from around the world enable you to cook up a treat every time!

I have owned this book for a few years now and I have worked through several of the recipes without any failures or problems. Breads you only ever read about are photographed and explained - sour dough bread and corn bread and cinnamon bread from the States, potato bread from Hungary, pitta bread and lavash bread from the East, festive breads from around the world...and all sorts of amazingly inventive techniques like plaiting, toppings, ingredients and troubleshooting. Also some rapid (non-yeast) breads. It has helped me to understand what is going on with the bread dough and what to expect at every stage. Developing a feel for the process helps eliminate those really frustrating mistakes...

Buy this one and borrow the others from the library. The only problem is not enough time to make them all - and too many folk interested in eating them with you!
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on 4 November 2002
This is the first and only bread book I've bought (so far). Everything I've baked from it so far has turned out perfectly and, more importantly, tasted fantastic. The instructions are straight-forward and easy to follow and the recipes are lip-smacking. Don't be put off by the idea that making bread is difficult, it's not, it just requires a bit of patience.
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on 12 July 2009
Once you try some of the recipes in this book you will defenitely feel that the you have been taking the bread you buy for granted!! You think it's so easy? Guess again!

Just baking a simple baguette can take four hours in rising, knocking back, and proving time!!!
I'm not saying you have to be a rocket scientist, it's more time consuming than difficult. This is something to try during a boring day when you have loads of time. Working with the different textures of flour, water, dough, salt, and other ingredients is quite exciting, plus I personally find working with dough quite relaxing and theraputic. It's also a good way to pass a few hours by creating something homemade, unwinding, and finding something new out about one of the most basic foods ever.

The book is quite educational when it comes to the baking process and the materials used and even gives brief descriptions about bread in various cultures, it also uncovers tiny little tricks that make the bread all that much better. Once you try a recipe twice or thrice you will get it down.

They are simple recipes, however, my first attempt at a baguette ended up in a horrible failure!! The reason being, there are some terms used by the authors which are open to individual interpretation, such as sticky paste, sticky dough, et cetera. My first failure was purely because of this problem, to me a sticky dough was obviously too sticky when compared with what the authors had in mind!

The book holds a wide array of recipes from Middle Eastern to European breads! A fantastick range really! I've already tried a few and look forward to trying even more!The book goes into great detail on techniques, necesary items, the differences in the many types of flour, and much more.

All in all a great book filled with knowledge, you wouldn't really think a book could contain so much info on a topic as simple as bread. It will change the way you look at this piece of food that has survived for centuries!

October 2010 Addition to Review:

This book come back to my attention and I am referring to it more often now, however that is only because of what I learned from another little book that has added to my knowledge of flour. Since purchasing this book, the results have been acceptable but nothing extraordinary, however after reading The Art of Pizza Making: Trade Secrets and Recipes by Dominick A. DeAngelis and understanding the difference between the commonly available types of flour and the flour used by bakeries and pizzerias, I revisited this book to retry some of my favourite recipes and my whole family was shocked at the difference the type of flour made to the results.

I am on the war path once more and trying recipes in this book I have never attempted before. My baguette has become so good that I don't buy baguettes anymore, my first attempted ciabatta loaf was fantastic as well! I think I just might try every single recipe in this book now!
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on 18 April 2009
This book contains quite a few inspiring recipes. There is an emphasis on French and Italian breads (although croissants are omitted), but also breads from other countries such as Israeli/New york bagels, American corn bread, and Hungarian Potato bread are described. In short introductions a few interesting comments are provided about the meaning and use of bread in different parts of the world.

The general information is largely useful and easy to follow, but many of the details described are not really necessary to make a tasty loaf in my experience. I'd have preferred a bit more of a no-nonsense approach to having a go at bread making. Still, the amount of information about ingredients and baking processes is quite impressive for the limited space that is used for this purpose.

Too many recipes contain too much white flour to my taste. There are no recipes with spelt flour, barley flour, gram flour or soya flour for example. Most of the darker breads that are described are sourdough breads and that is for many people not very practical as the starter preparation takes a long time, and it is not possible to make this type of bread in the breadmaker. There are some general remarks about adjusting flour type to taste, but no guidelines or information about adjusting rising/baking times or amount of fluids used.

The book has a standard DK lay out, which is clear, but reminds me a bit too much of children's books. The photographs are an invitation to start baking though.
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on 1 February 2006
This is a shining example of what I have come to expect from Dorling Kindersley. The pictures tempt you to try the recipes and provide clear support to the written information. The book covers a wide range of breads from the everyday to the more exotic and each recipe is well explained and easy to follow. Unlike most books the layout and photographs make it really easy to follow and understand. As well as recipes there are some really useful sections dealing with getting the dough right and showing the skills needed in checking the stages of proving, kneading etc. It has a troubleshooting section and some wonderful information on glazes and finishes with before and after photographs. I would highly recommend this book to anyone from beginner upwards.
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on 4 October 2000
I've got quite a collection of books on breadmaking, all with plenty of recipes for interesting breads. However, this book details the actual process which is common to almost all breads best of all.
Even better, the breads I've made using the book have turned out exactly right. This is a first for me!
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on 15 November 2006
This book pretty much covers everything you would want to know - breads from all over Europe, starters, sourdoughs and ingredients. I bought it with Linda Collister's Bread Book and personally thought that this was more clear and consistent. The recipes are reliable and it is well-organised and well-illustrated. I am a big fan of the authors - it is worth having a look at some of their other books as well!
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on 10 December 1998
This is a great book by the manager and chef from Books for Cooks in London - THE specialist cook book store in the world as far as I know. They do cookery courses as well as run a small restaurant. They really know what the public likes. The book is both wonderfully inspirational and practical - a real plus for anyone contemplating breadmaking. It also has a part on breadmaking machines so it is complete.
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on 30 January 2010
Cooking isn't rocket science, but to appreciate that, you need to understand how things interact in the kitchen lab. The DK cookbook takes this approach, explaining clearly WHY things rise and fall (when it comes to dough) and HOW you do things (measure, mix, preserve, correct). To me, this is worth more than Jamie Oliver's chatty style and Nigel Slater's literary touch, which make their books a pleasure to read, but never satiate my curiosity about the hows and whys of cooking.

While the recipes I've tried so far from the DK book of bread do need some tweaking (e.g. the naan came out far too dense for my taste), hence only four stars, the how-to tips are all in there. Plenty of decent photos to whet your appetite, well laid-out instructions, and a great variety of recipes from around the world.
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