During this last year we had brought you an amazing selection of bread cookbooks. As many of you have asked us, we'll continue with this series. So, in this week's cookbook review, we are back with another bread cookbook. This time with Mastering Bread, a book that will teach you the art and practice of handmade sourdough, yeast bread and pastry.
The Marc Vetri bread program began over a decade ago and has been part of the American movement to reclaim high-quality bread as a cornerstone of their food culture. In Mastering Bread, Vetri and his head baker, Claire Kopp McWilliams, will show you how to create simple breads with unique flavors in your own ovens.
Mastering Bread opens the doors to the minds of Vetri and McWilliams. In this book, these amazing bakers share everything they have learned over the years about the art and science of making incredible bread. They explain how to use fresh milled and whole-grain flours as well as local and regional wheat varieties, with easy instructions for adapting bread recipes for success with whatever flour is available in your market. Also included in the book are bios and interviews with grain farmers, millers, and bread bakers that show you the other side of the bread-making process.
One of the great things about this book is that the process of bread-making is broken down into three easy-to-digest chapters: Mix, Shape, and Bake. We love this structure because it makes everything a lot easier for less experienced bakers. In these three chapters, you'll find essential information that will make you a better bake. Knowing the importance of autolyze in flavor, and that salt flavors bread, tightens gluten, and slows yeast, are just some of the things that you will learn.
Besides these three chapters, Mastering Bread also offers dedicated sections with recipes ranging from yeast and sourdough breads to pastry and bread dishes such as Bruschetta, Panzanella, and Ribollita. There’s even a bonus chapter revealing the secrets of Vetri’s coveted Panettone.
Many of you have asked us how accessible the bread books we have been reviewing are to people with no experience in baking. To answer this question we'll look at the Mastering Bread score. As you'll see at the end of this review, we gave a score of 4.5 out of 5 in the accessibility. This score doesn't mean that all the recipes are incredibly easy to do. In fact, it would be wrong for us to say that bread baking is easy for anyone without experience. What this score means is that this book has almost everything (knowledge and techniques) you're going to need to replicate the recipes in it. We didn't give this book a 5 because some of the flours can be difficult to find, and especially because when it comes to bread baking, you'll always need some experience to get the recipes right.
Included in this book are more than 70 recipes for sourdough and yeast loaves as well as accompaniments to serve with the breads. Most recipes have photographs of the baked goods and on top of that, some even have step-by-step photographs. As we already mentioned the recipes are diverse, giving you a lot of options to choose from.
Mastering Bread is another excellent bread cookbook that we had the opportunity to review. Its easy-to-digest approach makes this book accessible to anyone, and its diversity of recipes will please all palates. For everything that we point out throughout this review, we consider this book a must-have for anyone who wants to know the art and practice of handmade sourdough, yeast bread, and pastry.
Mastering Bread is an excellent bread cookbook that will teach anyone how to bake incredible bread at home. Throughout its pages, you'll find delicious recipes, interesting stories, and everything you need to become a better baker.