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on 22 January 2013
I really like the idea of this book - an introduction to bread-making with different recipes all basically following the same method. The book is divided into five main sections. The first covers the basic method used throughout the book, then there's a section each for 5 basic dough recipes (white, olive, brown, rye and sweet). For each basic dough, there are I think about eight different recipes - different ways of shaping the bread and with small additions, such as saffron or sesame and star anise (a lovely combination, by the way). Although some reviewers dislike the fact that there is actually very little difference between the various breads, I think it's an advantage, at least for a beginner. It allows you to really get to grips with the bread-making method introduced, and to understand the difference small tweaks can make.

There are some things I don't like about the book, though. For example, sometimes I find the author a bit arrogant. His comment about salt infuriated me - that it's those parents who tend to worry about salt intake who are most often the ones who give their children bags of salt-laden crisps to eat. What a load of generalising rubbish. (By the way, I find the bread way too salty with the stipulated 10g of salt anyway).

Another thing that bothers me is that the bread never quite turns out just as I want it. I've only made the white and olive doughs, so I can't comment on the others, but they don't make the most tasty bread in the world. Perhaps it's just due to the fact that I haven't got a ferment going. But mostly, I just can't get the crust right, and I can't figure out why. The texture inside the bread is fine, but the crust is always too soft, despite my best efforts to follow the method exactly.

This is linked to another problem - there isn't enough detail. I'd like more on what makes a good crust so I can go back and try again. Also, he recommends using fresh yeast, but he doesn't actually say why. Considering that using dried yeast is so much easier, I need to know what difference it will make to the end-product. The same with flour - all he says is to use 'proper, good-quality strong bread flour, the best quality you can afford'. What difference will better quality/more expensive flour make to my bread? He just doesn't say.

So I feel I've come to the end of my journey with the book. I'll try a couple of the other recipes, giving the brown and rye doughs a go. But I think it's time to move on, find another method, see what difference it makes. It was good as an introduction, but I don't feel I can learn much more from it.
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on 18 October 2012
So you are there cooking and constantly need to turn the pages of the book because even if you are at page 57 you need to follow the steps on page 22-23. Thank you so much.

You are reading a recipe and have no idea of how the thing works, you just have to read the whole book, learn it and then maybe you can follow a recipe. Forget it. Also, the bread is not THAT nice at the end.

Also: if you are not a pro this book is fairly useless. I suggest instead Bread from Linda Collister. Now THAT is a book that you can use in the kitchen (for dummies and pros).

To Mr Bertined: less Paris and more Italy. French only have baguettes, after all.
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on 13 October 2010
I was looking for a book that gives the basics to simple bread making in a clear concise format ... this isn't that book.
I'm an absolute beginner wanting to produce a daily loaf, this book seems to want to engage those that are beyond the basics, not for me.
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on 23 February 2009
I'm Portuguese and have been living in the UK for over 10 years. Never been really happy with the tin bread you buy, just seems wrong for any bread to last well over a week even though its left just in the plastic bag?! :) I then started buying the supermarkets in store baked bread which is better. Still missed my own country bread, which has a richer flavour and next day its great as toast, so sometimes bought bread from an artisan's shop which is on the expensive side at £2-£3 a loaf. Sometime ago i bought a breadmachine but the holes at bottom simply were no good. Enter Dough! I then came across this book and been using it for nearly a year. As long as i follow the recipes, weight everything for correct measures, dough coming off the fridge need to come to room temperature and way we go: always with good results. Soon enough you'll get the feel for the perfect dough consistency too. I've also looked for a bread stone, but on the net you'll find them costing as much as £30!! and off-cuts might be a bit hard to get hold off. Nonetheless, I found a granite stone sold in asda as a chopping board (other supermarkets have similar at are same price but thinner), for me this one is a perfect oven bread stone, rectangle shape, thick and perfect fit for my oven - for £10! If you are or want to be passionante about good bread, this book is fantastic especially alongside with a breadstone. In fact just eaten some fantastic bread :) Good baking!
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on 1 July 2011
I have made bread by hand off-and-on for years and fancied starting again with this method to see how it would work.

I was very surprised to see the author is so very prescriptive about the liquids in his recipes. He gives one quantity and even strongly suggests weighing the water rather than using a measuring jug. This is confusing as most bread recipes I have used acknowledge that different batches and brands of flour will absorb different amounts of liquid.

I have decided to throw caution to the wind and follow his white dough recipe to the letter. I have produced a very tight dry dough which refused to stretch much when being worked and was so non-elastic i nearly pulled my marble pastry board off the work top!!

It is having its first proving now I just hope it rises and is edible.


After a very helpful email conversation with the author it seems the recipe needs some amendment for "very strong flour" such as the Marriages Very Strong Canadian and a very strong flour sold by Waitrose. He suggests 800g water to 1Kg flour. The recipe should work for the more normal strong flour.
His assistance was very quick. Within an hour or so of writing my review.

The loaves I produced from the rather tight dough turned out perfectly good. Especially with butter and a cuppa.
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on 2 September 2011
i really like this book although my white dough is really wet & i sometimes feel like i should throw it away & start again, i just add more flour when this happens
i have found by cutting some of the water out the dough is easier to handle
and all the bread i have made so far tastes really nice

i have decided to update this review as i am progressing so well with my bread making, i now follow strictly by the book & by resting the dough when it becomes messy hard to work does make things easier , i love making my bread so much that i have not bought a supermarket loaf in about 4 months
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on 27 March 2016
I have now used most of the recipes, with complete success. I nearly lost my nerve on the first batch of bread and considered adding more flour, but decided to trust the recipe and carry on. It seemed hopelessly sticky at first. By the second batch I had the hang of it. When I progressed to the sweet recipes my first batch was just a little too sticky so I added only about a teaspoon of flour at the end. I think it may have been needed because the eggs were a little large.

I have weighed the liquid for every recipe as it is much simpler than trying to measure it. I put everything in cold, but sometimes put the dough in the microwave for twenty seconds at the end of the kneading. It takes the chill off nicely while the weather is cold.

I have resisted buying any special equipment as I have very little storage space. I have used an upside down baking sheet to drop the bread onto a pizza stone in the oven. I first put the bread on silicon baking paper and slid that out onto the stone with the bread still on it. Very easy.

For the Pain Campagne I used a sieve (stood in a saucepan) and a colander lined with t towels as rising baskets. They worked perfectly, if not elegant to look at. I used a sharp knife or scissors to slash the dough. I am too clumsy to want to try razor blades.

The only instruction I the recipes I have ignored is to put the oven on at the start of the recipe. It would cost far too much in electricity.

I thought I knew how to make basic bread but this book has simplified the whole process and given me much better results. The only problem I have now is to stop eating so much of it.
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on 1 November 2009
This was an interesting read but I do agree with the comments about there only really being 4 or so different dough recipes throughout and just a lot of tweaking or clever knife cuts to distinguish them. I guess this book just wasnt what I was looking for: ie a book full of great recipes for large loaves that I could happily cook day in day out. Instead I got a lot of instruction on how to make 4 different recipes look nice and the rare 'loaf' recipes turned out tiny loaves which disappear in a sitting in my house (though that does say something about the quality).
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on 9 August 2013
I really want to improve my yeast cookery and this had good reviews but I have found it very hard to use.
The book expects you to have lots of specific kit (raising baskets, fresh yeast ...).
If you are trying to get into bread making without a lot of up front investment and fitting it around a normal working day I don't recomend this book.
I wanted something to draw me in deeper and this has pushed me away.
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on 12 April 2011
I came across this book on the Delia Smith's site. I had never heard of Richard Bertinet but as I was fed up of making bread in the machine because my own always turned out as a brick I decided to give this one a try and at the same time I bought his second book Crust: Bread to Get Your Teeth into as well. This one is the one for real beginners, which happens to be my case. I knew the basics, had tried them a few times but, again, without a lot of success. The first bread I tried according to this method (which seems to be the French method of baking bread, just work the dough without adding any flour), although not one of Richard Bertinet's recipes was great, good crust, nice and soft.... a great bread! I am now making it again (just waiting for it to rise). My only problem is that my dough always seems to stay quite soft and sticky, no idea why. The DVD was a great help although it is better to watch is more than once to refresh what you have learned. The next best thing would be to attend one of Richard's workshops but well, I live too far away.

He seems to be very precise as to the amount of water he adds but according to what I have learnt it depends very much on the kind of flour you use, the humidity of the air.... so you should add bit by bit and see how much you need.

In this book Richard talks about using tea towels but in the other he talks about special bakers' towels. For us beginners tea towels are easier because we all have them at home but in the other book he says that the dough sticks to them. Maybe not if you follow his advice and never wash them!

We don't eat a lot of bread but I hope to be able to try many of his recipes and also to adapt them to the recipes I have from other books! As far as some comments here that he only uses a few types of dough... well, that is what bread is all about! There are a few types of dough to which you then add whatever ingredients you want! The bottom line is... do you want to bake really great bread? Give this book a try, follow the instruction and you will get there in the end!
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