The Art of Baking Bread: What You Really Need to Know to Make Great Bread Hardcover – Feb 1 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Well not exactly, I have several books on bread baking and this is the first time I have produced home made 'Artisan bread' successfully.
Thanks to the tricks and not so secret secrets of professional bakers I found that the most valuable part of this book was the steam and humidity required to produce an excellent crust. Having moved continents and now living at a higher altitude Matt described how to get around my previous frustrations on not so good bread baking.
The clear guide to measurements and equations means that any home baker can adjust quantities to suit their needs.
I did however find the steps in getting the end result time consuming and somewhat drawn out but the end result was one of the best home produced loaves to date.
I will certainly continue to use most of the methods but maybe play around with times as it literally took a whole day to make one loaf, as much as I love baking, who has the time to spend the hours preparing, and then having to wait up to 3 hours after removing the loaf from the oven before eating it?
I do however recommend this book and was glad I stumbled across it in the library, I will be purchasing my own copy shortly.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
author states that he wrote this book to enable beginners to decipher other books. he included photos and implies that he needed to do this as this type of resource doesn't exist elsewhere.
the photos are excellent and the descriptions and instructions very good. if you are a beginner and are willing to accept his way of doing things it is a welcome addition to the bookshelf. however, he skips kneading with a machine, declares punching down dough "archaic", declares multiple things better than others without proof. he does state that he is ignoring machine kneading because that isn't what his book is about. fair point, but the overwhelming majority of bread will eventually use it. a page or two would be helpful. similarly, he declares punching down to be "archaic" and yet what he terms "folding" is simply punching down and chafing combined. he also makes way too much of what he apparently believes is a unique discovery. why, you can use your oven as a rising box! who knew?
as for the implication that his is the only instruction with picture book resource available, i have two on my shelf. "Bread" by Treuille and Ferrigno and "My Bread" by Lahey. others exist.
this book has almost no recipes. that (aside from annoying me on page 12) is its major weakness. the above mentioned "Bread" has photos, recipes and instruction and is a better book in my opinion, but as a beginning instruction book this is worthwhile if you don't already own another and don't require recipes. the photos are excellent, the prose is usually clear and most of his suggestions for equipment are good.
so, to anyone still reading, what did he annoy me with on page 12 to cause me to write a picky critical review of a basically good book? he states that anyone who doesn't believe that a scale is the most important piece of equipment is a fool. well, good bread has been being baked for hundreds of years without scales. i don't use one. why? the majority of older recipes do not give the ingredients in weights. also, he is wrong about the most important single piece of equipment. it is the oven. i challenge him to a bake off where we each get a single piece of equipment. he gets a scale. i get an oven. i win.
summary. good book, but he annoyed me. most people will find my complaints petty. Treuille and Ferrigno's "Bread" is better, mainly for the recipes.
Have to agree that the reviewer with the oven would win over Matt and his scales!!! Funny though that 'fool' did not put me into distress. It did make me realize his seriousness over weighing ingredients. Would the bread made 1000 years ago be as good as the bread we weigh today? Some how I doubt it.
Yes, the pictures were not top quality but did flow with the instructions. Still a good investment for my money.