In this week's cookbook review, we are back with another book dedicated to bread. Today we decided to bring you one the best bread books are ever written, The Bread Baker's Apprentice.
Co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper’s Bakery, author of ten landmark bread books, Peter Reinhart has been a leader in America’s artisanal bread movement for more than thirty years. Never one to be content with yesterday’s baking triumph, Peter continues to refine his recipes and techniques in his never-ending quest for extraordinary bread.
In this updated edition of the bestselling The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter begins with a fascinating story about his discovery of the delayed fermentation technique in bakeries in Paris. Then he dives into method sand techniques and explains the twelve stages of bread, with beautiful and abundant step-by-step photographs.
The rest of the book includes a whole range of recipes that go beyond the basic French loaves – several varieties of sourdough, challah, sticky buns, cornbread, rye, and more. You’ll put newfound knowledge into practice with fifty master formulas for such classic breads as rustic ciabatta, hearty pain de Campagne, old-school New York bagels, and the book’s Holy Grail—Peter’s version of the famed pain à l’ancienne as well as three all-new formulas.
En route, Peter distills hard science, advanced techniques, and food history into a remarkably accessible and engaging resource that is as rich and multitextured as the loaves you’ll turn out. In this revised edition, he adds metrics and temperature conversion charts, incorporates comprehensive baker’s percentages into the recipes, and updates methods throughout. Most people will be tempted to skip this part, but we encourage you to read it. Baker’s percentages, while odd to get used to, are still the best measurement system when it comes to bread. After using them for a while, just looking at the percentages will tell you everything you need to know about the general characteristics of the dough.
For us, the best thing about this book is that it is accessible to everyone. All of the 200 recipes are easy to follow, and most of them have step-by-step photographs that guide you through each different step. Many recipes also include "commentaties“ at the end, often disclosing the kind of information you would have to hunt the Internet for, like characteristics of the bread or alternatives to some of the ingredients.
We really like how the book is organized, giving us weights in ounces and grams as well as measures and bakers percentages. There’s so much good commentary and notes that even if you might not follow his formula, you might be able to apply some tips or techniques to your recipes. On the whole, The Bread Baker's Apprentice is a great book for anyone interested in bread making ti any degree–wether you like to make it all by hand or use a bread maker.
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is without any doubt one of the best bread cookbooks ever written. This new 15th-anniversary edition has some nice improvements, that make it even better than the previous editions. If you don’t already own the original version, and you love bread, this is a book that deserves a spot in your library, as a reference as much as a recipe book.
The Bread Baker's Apprentice is a phenomenal bread book that is suited for professionals as well as the home cooks. This book is an essential piece in any bread baker’s collection.