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on 1 December 2007
I've had this book a year, and it is undoubtedly a five-star book. The author writes so insightfully about the whys and wherefores, and when you follow the non-too-difficult recipes within you realize just how much talent, consideration and experience this excellently presented book offers. You'll find instructions for kneading and shaping, how to make and store your own leaven plus recipes from around Europe adapted for the home baker working by hand. The author has gone to the trouble of actually going to these places to talk with other bakers, and the corresponding photos of location, people and their wares give what I would describe as a sense of community. The recipes use all manner of flours and grains, and raising agents from fresh yeast to leaven and soda. Someone below had complained of a limited variety of recipes, but I don't find that justified since there are plenty of recipes and there's no need for 23 variations on the same theme - in particular I find this book imparts a real feel for what's going on so that you can use your own initiative to experiment, though you'll find it hard to improve on the recipes provided here by Dan Lepard. Another complaint below is about the time it all takes, and there is some justification here if you're looking for a 40-minute loaf. Performing multiple tasks in a restaurant, the author found that dough sorts itself out nicely and the flour is best and properly saturated if left alone rather than pummelled to death. So it's often about 10-second kneads once in a while with lower proving temperatures of, say, 21 C. The `worst' it gets with a white leaven bread is around 3 kneads at 10 minute intervals, then a half hour, then an hour, in the tin and another hour, wait a few hours more (even 5). Naturally you can be doing other stuff in the kitchen at the same time or simply leave the house altogether. Other recipes are rather quicker. Another complaint is that you need to keep feeding your leaven (with more flour and water) - not so, as you can stick your jar of fermenting, gassy dough in the fridge and put it to sleep for quite some time. To conclude: fantastic hands-on stuff by a true expert who cares deeply about bread and puts it across superbly, great value, not a quick fix but if you're in the kitchen on Sunday you should be able to work something in. I had hardly baked before, so no experience necessary. Many thanks to Dan Lepard for reminding us just how important bread really is. Don't underrate it, or this book.
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This is definitely one of the better bread books on the market, although it is not alone in receiving accolades for being the best: it does have a great range of bread recipes and provides good instructions for preparing and making the dough for pretty superior bread. I am very interested in bread making, make a range of breads for home consumption and teach bread making as part of my professional cookery course. The Handmade Loaf has many recipes that are of interest and new to me, but it is more than this, alone. It is a book written by someone who, though professional, remains at heart an amateur in that he loves the whole experience of making bread and has found others, throughout the world who enjoy this slow labour of love also and who can express their sense of connectedness with the art of bread-making through the pages of the book. This is a book you can read as well as explore and discover methods and recipes that are not too difficult to follow, merely requiring care and attention to produce something wonderful to eat and to share at home. I have a couple of hundred, or more, cookbooks, half a dozen of them are exclusively on bread: this is one of the best.
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on 4 July 2016
Thisis one of the earlier books to encourage and inform the home artisan bread baker.It is Illustrated with his own photographs of breads and the people who bake them across Europe. The recipes are more varied than many books on bread making and his recommended kneading technique, though not orthodox, is effective and shows that bread making is a quite flexible process.
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on 28 May 2015
Really nicely written, Dan is obviously passionate about making bread. Have made one of the recipes.. yum!
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on 27 September 2015
I bought it for my brother who following this book, he makes amazing bread!! I should get one for myself and start baking as well! Yum!!
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on 2 February 2015
Superbly written and some great recipes, very much an artisan bakers tome, perhaps not for the novice. Further develop skills and understanding of the 'craft of bread making'
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on 3 January 2014
I found the processes suggested interesting,but not practical It is fine if you are in the kitchen for hours but knead for a few seconds, wash hands and come back 10mins later and then do it all again several times. One long knead and then several hours free to do something else suits me much better. Consequently I have not yet tried any of th recioes.
It is a very interesting read and I will probably try out something during the winter.
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on 4 May 2016
Amazing book
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on 8 October 2015
Yet Another Good Book Worth Buying!
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on 2 February 2016
Great book i use it to teach the kids and its got a great variety of foolproof exact recipes we love it
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