A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Fresh breads are particularly nice in cold weather.
What kind of cookbook is Artisan Breads?
Kastel and Charles have created a textbook for the ambitious breadmaker. Before the reader gets to actual recipes, she finds introductory sections on equipment, ingredients, and methodology. Chapters on basic and advanced breadmaking follow.
Is this cookbook easy to use?
There are few shortcuts in Artisan Breads, as the idea is to make professional quality breads. Still, the instructions are clear, and many tables and illustrations help the student baker.The authors help the home baker select flours, rise yeast, shape breads, and control temperatures for baking. Eventually, the student will be able to make a variety of specialty breads.
Can you easily buy the ingredients for the recipes?
Barley malt syrup and special flours will be available in large markets or online. Otherwise, most of the ingredients are common.
What is special about this cookbook?
To help the baker get measurements of ingredients right, the authors have multi-columned tables for each recipe that show ingredients as ounces, grams, volume. The final column called “Bakers %” may confuse anyone who has not read the introduction. Flour is always 100%. All other ingredients are measured compared to the flour, so the total is always more than 100%.
What are your favorite recipes from this cookbook?
There are numerous unfamiliar breads that I am dying to try:
Cottage-dill Rolls (page 86)
Flatbread with Sun-Dried Tomato and Asiago Cheese (page 135)
Onion Sourdough (page 238)
Panettone (page 311)
There are also instructions for making your own English muffins, bagels, and pretzels.
Review by Rick