The Handmade Loaf
So I bought this book for two reasons. The first is that you can’t read bread blogs for long before Dan’s name comes up, and how can you deny so many peoples respect. The second is my intended involvement with The Mellow Bakers project.
I have already discussed the book a bit, but it is worth talking about it a bit more:
A lot of the recipes in this book are based around leaven (starter), and so require a bit more work and attention than the usual, stick it all in the bread maker and have fresh bread 3 hours later.
This isn’t a problem but it does require a bit more forethought. As for the recipes themselves, they span the most simple of white bread, to extravagant flavoured loaves. All the while remaining very accessible (if you have the ingredients, and the right leaven).
Not all the recipes are for the conventional idea of a loaf of bread, again not a problem, just a slight change in expectation. Through the presentation of the recipes Dan takes you on a wonderful tour of Europe, discussing the motivation and scene of all the bakes. This makes for a wonderful read, full of inspiration (if thats what you are after).
Another little touch I love with this book is the scientific rigor, all ingredients are weighted in grams. So no messing around with cups.
I have not made enough of the recipes to start suggesting my favourite, but I have tried, and documented a few.
- The Mill Loaf – Page 30
Jeff Hertzberg & Zoë François
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Again this book is quite new to me, so I can not give a very comprehensive review of the success of the recipes, but I can give an overview of the book.
I was inspired to buy this, because of the website which I have baked a few recipes from. So I thought why not get the book for more ideas, and to support the guys.
The whole basis of the book is a fundamental concept of keeping a mass of dough in the fridge for a couple of weeks, using up chunks of it each time you want to bake. Thus the dough rises very slowly, and starts to activate to give it a slight sourdough taste. Essentially it is a time saving method, to strip out all of the ‘unnecessary’ components of bread making. I quite like this idea, and it is well worth a try, at least once.
As for the actual recipe book I quite like it. My only complaint (as with so many other recipe books) is that there are not enough pictures. How do I know if I want to invest that much time without seeing a picture of it?
The pictures they do include look lovely, and the range of recipes is great. I will let you all know what they taste like when I give it a try.
Fresh Bread in the Morning (from your bread machine)
I have to give this little pocket recipe book a mention, it is a very simple little book with a selection of interesting recipes for the bread maker. I oddly really like it, despite a complete lack of pictures. I find it really useful when I want tasty bread, but lack the time to make it by hand. Though quite often I only use the dough setting of the bread maker and do the rest by hand.
Bread Made Easy – BM450
I had to give this a mention. It is the ‘recipe book’ that come with my bread maker. As much as I shunned it initially I do still come back to it.
Not just because it has the instructions and timing information for the bread maker, but also because it actually has some nice bread in it.
I have used the recipes as a basis for many of my ‘normal’ bakes, adapting over time to suite my tastes and needs.
Specifically I like the Naan Bread recipe on page 28 and the Croissants on page 26.