Bread Illustrated-Review

BREAD ILLUSTRATED- A Step by Step guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results at Home

I make almost all our bread. By almost, I can count on my fingers the times I have bought bread from the store this year. The health benefits were a major consideration when I took up bread making, but I love the taste of fresh made bread and I have discovered an immense satisfaction baking from scratch. I do not use a bread machine but I do use a stand mixer for the majority of the kneading.

I spotted Bread Illustrated edited by America’s Test Kitchen while browsing through a Barnes and Noble bookstore. A quick glance was all it took to make it to the check-out line. Each recipe is accompanied by multiple photos illustrating the process. The book also includes a troubleshooting section at the end of the recipe.

The troubleshooting sections address common problems with the final product. For example, if pizza dough is to soggy the tip is to use less sauce. One of the troubleshooting explanations discussed the jagged edges of whole wheat. The solution was to let either the wheat berries soak in water before processing or add additional liquid to already ground wheat.

The book gives weight amounts in the dry to wet ratios and following these ratios keep the loaves from being too dense. The section on hydration is part of a series of pages that explain how-to before the recipes even start. Other sections include pages on mixing and rising.

The recipes range from sweet rolls to rustic breads and includes a section of breads that take a bit more time to make than I have this summer. Maybe next winter! So far my favorite recipes have been the easy sandwich bread, pan-grilled flat bread (delicious with hummus) and the hoagie rolls which I shaped into hamburger buns.

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