From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Containing only flour, water, yeast, and salt, bread is a simple dish that can take years to master. Daniel Stevens shortens the learning curve for would-be bakers in this informative introduction to making great bread at home. Accompanied by detailed photos of key steps in the bread-making process, Stevens patiently guides readers through the steps of crafting a toothsome loaf, explaining the qualities of various yeasts and flours, the particulars of hand-kneading, the cons of letting a stand mixer do your work for you, and tips on shaping dough into the desired shape. Once a baker has mastered Stevens's basic bread recipe, they're free to spread their floury wings and attempt Italian ciabatta, a rich French brioche, or even the intimidating croissant. Tips on storage (never in the fridge!) and leftovers (croutons, bread crumbs, Spanish migas) and a one-page troubleshooting guide guaranteed to get earmarked ensure bakers reap great rewards from their labor. Though readers may not go to the lengths of building their own clay oven (included here in detail) Stevens's accessible take on the subject is sure to inspire confidence, an appreciation for the craft, and a willingness to experiment.
“For a touch of the homemade every day, try the River Cottage handbooks.”
—Everyday Food, Favorite New Cookbooks, December 2010
"Stevens's accessible take on the subject is sure to inspire confidence, an appreciation for the craft, and a willingness to experiment."
—Publishers Weekly STARRED review, 8/23/10
“A remarkably compact, glove box-friendly guidebook to baking. . . . A bread survival book. . . . The River Cottage Bread Handbook
is a refreshing change from so many American cookbooks that magically transform copious recipes into 12 easy steps and still promise fail-proof recipes.”
—LA Weekly, 8/11/10
“Be prepared to make space on your cookbook shelf for these practical, passionate guides. . . . Stevens lays down a bread-making foundation with an in-depth introduction (and full-color step-by-step photos), then proceeds to help readers perfect their skills in his witty, conversational style.”
“These compact yet comprehensive hardcover volumes, part of a series written by experts in the River Cottage fold, inspire and instruct with their English charm, deploying a chatty hand-holding that nudges you through the process. The head River Cottage baker, Daniel Stevens, who put together THE RIVER COTTAGE BREAD HANDBOOK spends over 40 pages on mastering the basic loaf. His kneading explanation was so clear I didn’t need to constantly refer to the photos; and it taught me some new tricks. . . .This wide-ranging book inspires exploration, and not just because I’ll soon be able to slather my warm Scottish oatcakes, roti and even bagels with my own jam, thanks to THE RIVER COTTAGE PRESERVES HANDBOOK. Here Pam Corbin, who runs the Preserving Days at River Cottage, explains the fundamentals of jam, jelly, chutney, cordials, pickles, sauces and more in a demystifying manner. . . . Recipes for hearty ale chutney, spring rhubarb relish and Hugh’s prizewinning raspberry fridge jam are within delicious reach.”
—NY Times Book Review, Summer Reading Issue, Cookbook Roundup, 6/6/10
“This book is not only beautiful and inspiring but it also adds new bread-making ideas and formulas to the lexicon. It definitely goes on my ‘must-have’ bread shelf.”
—Peter Reinhart, author of the James Beard and IACP Cookbook of the Year, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice