Top positive review
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The best bread baking book
on February 18, 2010
I have a very large collection of bread-baking books, and my favorite book has long been the original "Amy's Bread" book (long out-of-print). When I had heard that a revised edition is coming out, I was ecstatic! Finally, new bakers will get to experience Amy's amazing breads. This book is a complete revision of the previous book, and I highly recommend getting it, whether or not you own the previous "Amy's Bread" book.
The style of this book is similar to the style of Amy's other book, "The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread". The photographs by Aimee Herring are amazing. She is a talented photographer, making all of the breads look scrumptious. There are photographs of almost all products in the book. Additionally, there are photos of some shaping steps and also photographs of the bakery. The book is beautifully stylized; it is a joy to look at and to read from. In addition to the recipes and explanations, the book is studded with various stories of life at the bakery.
The recipes all have metric, imperial, and US measurements. This is such a huge plus! I find baking by metric weights far easier than every other method, and it is easy with this book. The other measurements are provided for those who find them more convenient. The recipes are all very clearly written. They are detailed and precise. Almost each recipe is accompanied by tips: ways to enhance the bread's flavor, flour suggestions, etc. Also, every recipe has a headnote explaining a bit about its origin.
The book begins with a detailed guide for bread baking, and also a clear and detailed sourdough section. I have used the method described in the book for making sourdough, and it does work. Then, there is a chapter about easy breads to get you started, containing some amazing and easy breads. Then there are other sections: whole-wheat breads, Rye breads, sourdough breads, semolina breads, sweet breads, etc. There is also a chapter on pizzas and flatbreads, and a chapter on sandwiches.
So far I have baked the whole-wheat bread with toasted walnuts and the whole-wheat bread with oats and pecans. Both were outstanding. The former has been my top bread for quite some time. I have tasted it at the bakery itself, and have since made it several times. It is just delicious. The second bread I made and brought to work. My colleagues finished the loaf within minutes. As one of my colleagues had said: "There is a serious problem with this bread; you cannot stop at just one slice." Now that the sourdough I had made (based on the method described in the book) is ripe, I have a batch of "Toy's Teddy Bread" proofing.
Finally, a quick comparison with the previous book: 9 recipes from the previous book do not appear in this book. Sadly, one of my favorites (Grainy Whole-Wheat and Seeds with Apricots, Prunes, and Raisins) has been omitted. These were replaced with 9 different recipes, including Amy's Brioche, The Picholine Olive Bread, and the Oragnic Miche, to name a few. Many of the recipes that appeared in the previous book were updated, so the recipes are a bit different. Some changes are quite small (the chocolate rolls now have dried cherries in them instead of peanut chips), others are quite large (different preferments, different hydrations, etc.).
All in all, if you had to select just one bread baking book, this is the one I recommend!