I purchased a bread machine last year mainly because I was horrified at the amount of chemicals and additives in commercially made breads. I wanted homemade and organic bakery goods, then again I was afraid of trying it by hand. Plus, who wouldn’t take the easy way out - measure, switch it on, and you’re rewarded with a fresh loaf in just a few hours! While this works rather well for conventional sandwich loaves, it just doesn’t take the place of what I call “fancy” rolls and breads. A machine will likely never fully replace handmade breads and I’ve recently obtained a newly released cookbook which makes creating loaves by hand something I think I can master now.
“The Art of Baking Bread: What You Really Need to Know to Make Great Bread” is much more than a recipe book. The author, Matt Pellegrini, goes into a lot of depth about what makes a great loaf, how to choose the right ingredients, what each does in the chemical make-up of the bread, and how to get the crumb and texture you’re looking for. Even machine bakers like me can really benefit from this additional knowledge.
Pellegrini also gives a lot of detail about the equipment that you’ll need to make your bread baking more successful. He’ll help you decide just what products are a must and more importantly, what you don’t need to invest in. He also gives shortcuts and tips and detailed instructions on shaping and baking.
“The Art of Baking Bread: What You Really Need to Know to Make Great Bread” also includes hundreds of photos which for me is a must in any good cookbook. I want to see what I’m making to know if I’m on track during the mixing and baking process so I don’t make a costly mistake. Plus, I can generally tell from a photo if the recipe is one my family will like.
Pellegrini has an easy writing style and the “The Art of Baking Bread: What You Really Need to Know to Make Great Bread” is a joy to read. It’s easy to pick it up and read a relevant section or you can start from the beginning and get really deep into the subject. It works both ways. I’m excited about adding the book to my cookbook library and looking forward to trying some of the fantastic looking recipes. This is a perfect book for a new or experienced baker and one I’d love to receive as a gift!
About the Author
Matt Pellegrini can be described as lifetime home baker plus cook and he coauthored “Cowboy: The Ultimate Guide to Living Like a Great American Icon.” That book includes a section on mastering the art of chuck-wagon cooking. In addition to his writing career, Matt has spent some time working as a carpenter, strength coach, public policy analyst, litigation attorney, and numerous other things between. Pellegrini lives in Denver, Colorado, along with his cattle dog, Appaloosa.
Buy Matt’s Books at Amazon.com
Skyhorse Publishing February 2012
- Easy Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting (miscfinds4u.com)
- Southern Style Holiday Recipes Inspired by DreamWorks’ “The Help” (aimlesscurator.com)