I am a confident cook, I love cooking for friends and family. However my baking skills were much to be desired. Desserts were easier for me to handle but baking bread I wouldn't attempt without a bread machine.
Well this book arrived on a Wed. Thurs I was reading through it. Friday I made the master recipe (1st recipe in book), the boule. Saturday shaped my first dough ball into baguettes. They turned out great! I made two baguettes to fit my baking stone and both were eaten quickly. Sunday I pulled out some dough and made a basic round loaf per their instructions. That was finished as well. Monday will use the last of the dough to split it in two. One will be used for cinnamon buns and the other for rolls. Then I will mix another batch.
Nothing like fresh baked bread smell to fill your home. To be honest it turned out better than bread machine bread! My hubby would make bread in the machine and it didn't interest me. That bread machine is going to collect dust ..thanks to this book.
Instructions were easy enough. If you want to get this book, make sure you have some of the essential cooking equipment.
1. Baking stone (pizza stone), it is what will really make or break your bread. Without this stone you wont get a really great crust.
2. Pizza peel (paddle). We have a wooden one. After shaping your dough it rests on this paddle and then you can slide it from the paddle onto the stone.
3. Broiler pan.
4. If using the baking stone and cornmeal as the product you scatter onto the pizza peel, there will be smoke. An exhaust fan would come in handy. If you wish for less smoke they recommend baking the bread on a cookie sheet.
We had all of the above in our stocked kitchen, before purchasing the book so we were able to start right away. Even though we had no idea of the equipment needed.
**Make sure and use organic flour. You wont regret it. They advise it in the book as well.
I am a fan of sourdough bread. In my earlier attempts to learn about baking bread, I really wanted
sourdough flavour. But who has time to plan that far ahead to make sourdough starter? This book gives you recipes to allow for you to have sourdough anytime! The concept is that the longer that recipe sits in your fridge, it will get better (that sourdough flavour) with each day.
Fresh bread anytime..no planning ahead. As long as you have a recipe sitting around in the fridge..you are good to go. You have 14 days to use the recipes. Trust me it wont last that long...at least it didnt in our house.
Other recipes follow the same method. Mix, no kneading, sit out for 2hrs, then refrigerate.
There are other dough recipes and you can make olive bread, foccacia,pizza, pitas, pretzels and bagels, just to name a few. Rye, pumperknickel and whole wheat are covered as well.
I cannot believe how great my bread came out. I now have the confidence to try the ones I just listed. They are all favourites in this house. All these artisian breads and whats even better, I know what went into it.
This concept beats buying frozen dough from your grocer and you finishing it at home.
The recipes of finished dough can be frozen as well, but we didnt get a chance to freeze any. :)
This book will never leave this bread lovers cookbook library. I even plan on purchasing it for family and friends. I rarely do that in terms of cookbooks.
I highly recommend this book and thanks to the authors for making this baking-challenged woman a hero in her home. I am confident enough to tackle the other breads as well.
There is a website as well to go with the book,people get their questions answered by the authors.
Now its time to break bread. :P