The warm, complex aroma of a fresh-baked loaf of bread can be utterly tantalizing; the first bite, a revelation. In Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes , award-winning master baker Jeffrey Hamelman presents the definitive, one-stop reference on the art and science of bread baking - a kitchen essential for seasoned home bakers and ...
The warm, complex aroma of a fresh-baked loaf of bread can be utterly tantalizing; the first bite, a revelation. In Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes , award-winning master baker Jeffrey Hamelman presents the definitive, one-stop reference on the art and science of bread baking - a kitchen essential for seasoned home bakers and professionals alike. Hamelman, a professional baker for nearly three decades, was a member of the United States national baking team that won first place in the 1996 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, the bread-baking World Cup. Here, he shares this experience, putting world-class artisanal loaves within reach of any serious baker. Opening with a comprehensive overview of the foundations - essential ingredients; hand techniques for kneading, scoring, and shaping; the basic process from mixing through baking - he lucidly guides bakers through all elements of this richly rewarding craft. Bread contains 118 detailed, step-by-step recipes for an array of breads: versatile sourdough ryes; breads made with pre-ferments; and simple, straight dough loaves. Recipes for brioche, focaccia, pizza dough, flat breads, and other traditional baking staples augment the diverse collection of flavors, tastes, and textures represented within these pages. From the delicate flavor and aroma of classic French baguettes to the mellow smoothness of Roasted Garlic Levain, a bread for every season and every palate is here. Each recipe clearly outlines the key stages, with easy-to-use charts that list ingredients in both American and metric measures, quantities appropriate for home baking, and baker's percentages. Hundreds of drawings vividly illustrate techniques, and 35 handsome color photographs display finished breads. Sidebars accompany each recipe and section with valuable tips, from the subtle art of tasting and evaluating breads to the perfect fare to complement Vollkornbrot. A complete chapter on decorative breads - with instructions on techniques as well as a wide variety of exquisite patterns - will inspire magnificent display creations. Laced throughout the book, Hamelman's personal narratives offer a compelling portrait of a lifelong love affair with bread and vividly communicate this passion. For bakers seeking to finesse this time-honored craft or simply to learn the tricks of the trade from a real master, Bread is a resource to be consulted time and time again.
I have baked bread off and on for 10 years. With craft loaves now approaching $4.50, I am back to baking regularly. I learned first from "Bread Alone" which was a good learning book. Hammelman's book introduced new techniques which immediately improved the loaves I was baking. The folding of the dough during the main fermentation gave it extra strength and improved the oven spring ; it was also easier to load the baking stone. He has a nice full discussion of hand techniques for preparing loaves for baking. I have used his Pain Rustique recipe with great success and with modifications to include whole wheat flour up to 25 %. It is nice to have a bread ready in 3 hours or so (not counting the long time for the poolish). I do not have an electric mixer but so far it hasn't been a problem. I break up a stiff poolish or biga with my fingers. It is messy but it works. I steam by spraying water on the oven sides. My loaves have looked nice like the pictures in books.
Apr 24, 2007
I have read many a bread book trying to understand the art of bread baking. I own several and this one is my favorite. The author is not just a cookbook author, he is a baker with many many years of experience. He describes in detail what each ingredient contributes to the final product and passes on his wisdom so that we can achieve great results at home. The recipes are easy to follow and the results are suberb. Highly recommend.
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