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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Review - Simply Great Breads

I love baking fresh bread by hand.
So a book with a title like Simply Great Breads is always going to appeal to me.
The author, Daniel Leader is as enthused about bread baking as I am, and the introduction is wonderful. He discusses the necessity of using the best ingredients and using recipes that allow the grain you're baking with to take center stage rather than using a lot of fats and flavors that mask the characteristics of the grain you're using. It also explains a bit about the science part of bread making and about artisan doughs.He lists different ingredients and their attributes like cornmeal which is used both as a release and as a nice bit of texture to things like English muffins.
The recipes are a mix of savory and sweet. They are yeast breads, he suggests using a dough hook in a stand mixer, but they can all be done by hand as well.
The recipes and the photos are just gorgeous. This is one of the prettiest bread baking books I've ever seen. The recipes are drool worthy and inspiring. All yeasted, even things like pancakes that aren't generally made with yeast. The author also came up with what has to be my favorite crumpet recipe ever.
The variety of methods and types of yeasted breads is just wonderful, 28 recipes total with extra variations for some of them to increase the range. There is even a recipe for yeasted fry bread. Most fry bread recipes call for baking powder, but the recipe my family uses is a sweet yeast recipe. This one will make a lovely base for savory treats.
If you love baking bread, I really do recommend this cookbook. You can get it directly from the publisher, Taunton Press My review policy is visible using either the link on the right side bar or using the page tabs at the top of the page.

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