Do you love bread? Do you have questions about all the things that can go wrong during making bread from scratch? Do you not have time to do incremental changes to a recipe because you a) have no one to eat all that bread and b) just don’t want to? If you answered yes to these, you may just be like me. Wanting to make a successful loaf of bread, but not wanting to spend months perfecting it! Go out and get “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”. This book is absolutely incredible.
So a small caveat, I love the science behind cooking. Alton Brown’s shows hit that spot about why food and flavor does what it does. This book goes into that in great detail. There is some intense science/chemistry, but Peter Reinhart does a good job of throwing anecdotes and breaking down information for everyone to understand. The first 100 pages cover all the questions about bread. How it is made, why it is dense at times or fluffy, what your dough should look like, be shaped, be handled, low long to ferment your yeast, why you should, etc, etc, etc. A treasure trove of information.
Then we get to the recipes. These are delicate in their simplicity. If you read even part of the first 100 pages (which you should totally do), the recipes make sense, the “bread ratio” is demystified, and each ingredient makes sense. I can’t wait to buy all bakers I know this book for Christmas because it answers all the questions I’ve asked proficient bread makers for years, only to get an unsatisfying answer. Not because of the bread maker’s inability, but because the sense of touch, of sound, of barely tangible qualities are hard to explain in absolutes. If you have been interested in bread, in any aspect of the making, the baking, the rich history behind it, this book is an incredible read. Even if you don’t ever pick up a bag of flour!
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.