Top positive review
A great buy for a first time bread baker
September 5, 2017
This book was my introduction to baking bread. I read it through prior to starting, and purchased all of the components as recommended. This book was very helpful with introducing me to the theory of baking bread, and also equipping my kitchen to get the job done well. I have made a few adjustments along the way, outlined below.
1- I found the recipes waste a lot of flour. When making the levain culture, Forkish calls for using 500 grams flour for each levain culture day, 75-90% of which gets discarded. To reduce waste, I scaled back the starter recipe by 75%. On day 4, I kept all of the product and placed it in the fridge as my starter for future breads.
2- When feeding the levain on recipe day, I reduced the levain feeding amount by half. This means I ended up throwing out a total of 10% v.s. 80% of the remaining culture, by scaling down.
3- Because of scaling back, I found the recommended tub sizes were too big. I ended up using a 2 quart Tupperware to grow my levain. When making the bread, the 16 quart tub made folding bread easy, but I had a hard time watching the rise given how big/flat it is. So, depending on preference, a 6 quart tub is harder to fold in, but much easier to see a 2-3x rise with accuracy.
4- I live in a house with air conditioning but don't run it all the time (house temp between 21-24 celsius). Forkish sometimes quotes a house temp of 18 celsius. So, I think my bread would usually rise faster than what was called for in the recipes (My first attempt at the overnight country white was a fail, I think it was because it rose really quickly and I did not catch it on time). This is why I think a smaller tub size is better to more accurately see the rise, since the time to proof should be based on rise amount, not necessarily time!
So far I have made the Saturday white bread, the pain de champagne, and the field blend 2. The two latter recipes are deliciously complex (being a hybrid of levain and instant yeast culture). The Saturday bread was simple but tastey (being a pure instant yeast recipe). I have not made the other recipes.
For me, the field blend 2 is my go to recipe.
Overall, I am very happy with this book, it has equipped me with the tools and knowledge to make amazing breads at home. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!