Cookbook review: Bread

Bread – Dean Brettschneider (Penguin Group)

Dean Brettschneider, known as the Global Baker and the host of Hottest Home Baker TV show, is all about Bread. This is the twelfth cookbook Dean has written or contributed to, each of them in some form or another to do with dough and pastry. Brettschneider, professional baker & pâtissier, shares his tips and passion on how to create the best bread possible in your very own kitchen.

This book is not just about giving you a bread recipe and letting you loose with yeast and flour and hoping an edible loaf is the end result. Brettschneider begins with the ingredients; the types of flour, salt, sugar, spices – pretty much anything that flavours & enhances bread. The function or reason the ingredient is in bread is described which helps eliminate baking failures. Then comes the equipment section which begins with your hands being the two most important tools in your bread tool box.

The ‘Bread Knowhow’ section includes detailed photographs of the bread proving, kneading & shaping process. The tips & detail can seem overwhelming but if you are serious about baking glorious bread, then this book will help iron out any proving problems. Then there are the recipes – from yeasted breads to not quite breads, bread salads & bread puddings. There is so much to inspire the aspiring bread baker – I’m off to try the Chinese Five-Spiced Boston Bun with real Raspberry Icing.

Some of the recipes in the book are also featured in the August 2014 edition of Taste magazine.  The Carrot & Coriander Ciabatta sounds so good that I think I will try that as soon as the Boston Bun (recipe also in Taste magazine) is cooling on the cake rack.

It could be argued that I am not a “real” bread baker and I agree to a certain point.  I am not so keen on the kneading part.  I blame it on the fact that I am so short so to knead the bread on the bench that is a little bit too high is fairly hard work.  If I can hand the kneading off to someone else, or something else, I will.

When it came time to make the Boston Bun, I decided to try to be clever and convert the recipe to my bread machine.  The first effort didn’t rise much as I didn’t leave the bulk rise until it had doubled (I went by the time guidelines as given in the recipe, not the quantity). The flat buns turned out quite a dense in texture but Mopp said it tasted really good bread.

The “real” bread baker in our house, The Anster, looked over the recipe and gave me a few options. I already had my next option all sorted out so I sort of ignored what he said.  The second lot of buns weren’t much better than the first.  After reading through Dean’s book I figured it was the bulk rising that was the real problem.  As I was making this in the bread machine, I decided to activate the yeast first.  Success…… although Mopp said now the bread is too soft and it rips when he tries to butter it.

So far, having made three lots of Boston Bun and not getting around to icing them before then get eaten, I think I might have to make another one.  At least they are popular and get eaten.  As for the Almond Bread I am attempting out of a different bread book – two loaves made so far and both of them brick-heavy.  They taste good though.  Once I have that sussed, I feel an Apple & Almond Bread coming up.


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