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The River Cottage Bread Handbook Hardcover – June 15, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
—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
Top Customer Reviews
The book is a small size about 8"x5", the pages are heavy so you will need to weight it down in order to keep your place while cooking. Despite the smaller page size the print is easy to read. There are plenty of pictures, both of techniques, dough and finished bread products. The introduction is interesting, telling why mass made machine bread is bad for you. Baking equipment needed is described.
The recipes themselves are given with weight, grams and ounces - this originally is an English cookbook, but has been `translated' in `American'. There is a section on wild yeast, basically what Americans call sourdough - making your own yeast.
The many breads from different cultures are probably too ambitious for a beginning cook, but would be interesting to try none the less if they are adventuresome; including roti - bread from India and Nepal, tortillas and crackers. A section is included on what to do with left over bread and even how to build your own clay oven.
This is not the ordinary bread book, it would seem to be for someone looking for a bit of venturesome baking.
I've have had baking classes but never really "got" the whole bread-making process. Wish I had paid better attention in culinary school now that this allergy is wreaking havoc and I have to bake my own breads.
Enter "The River Cottage Bread Handbook". I read through it in less than an hour, and got going on a sour dough starter right away. I didn't want to wait that long for bread, so I started with the walnut honey bread. Oh My God - it was delicious. I've also used Stevens' scones recipe and, while it was much different than my go-to recipe - Stevens' is more tender and flaky than a typical American scone - it was out of this world.
I wouldn't recommend this book to someone who is deathly afraid of yeast breads. You have to approach these recipes with a sense of confidence. However, once you can grasp Baker's Percentage and feel a little adventurous, you'll be SO glad you bought this book. The illustrations are beautiful, and Stevens' sense of humor is truly appreciated.
The basic recipe that can be altered at will was a great way to introduce creativity into baking, something I've always thought of as quite rigid. I have made almost 10 batches of bread (30 loaves!) now using the basic recipe and I'm having a blast! It's wonderful to see, feel and taste the difference one ingredient can make. I'm also gaining great confidence in my ability to "do it right" and yet be creative. From this book I now understand what the dough should "feel" like, how the yeast should smell and what happened when my first loaves came out too chewy.
I've also made the breadsticks, foccacia and, this evening, the bagels. All of the recipes were straight-forward and easy to follow - especially after taking the time to read the book cover-to-cover. My family is thrilled with my new hobby and so am I. This book is great. I recommend it for everyone, especially beginners.
This book changed all that. I can bake bread now.
The style is detailed in a way that most recipe books are not and in a way that I actually learn from. For example, if you are the type of person who encounters in a bread recipe "shape the dough into a round" and angrily wonders "HOW IS THE RIGHT WAY TO DO THAT?!" then this book is for you (hint: the Handbook describes in detail how to shape dough into a round).
Best of all, the resulting bread is fantastic. I've not tried all the yeasted dough recipes but those I have (doughnuts, bagels, english muffins, pizza dough) all turned out better in texture and taste than others I'd tried pre-Handbook.
Sourdough took me a while to get but now I kick ass at that too. All thanks to the River Cottage Bread Handbook.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My Husband is a professional baker and this book is his constant companion. He reads it like a regular book and is constantly trying its recipes. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Heather Marie
answered my questions re bread making, providing ongoing reading to make further improvements.Published 12 months ago by dianne frost
Great resource for beginning bread makers and moderately experienced amateurs. They do a good job of balancing idealism with practicality, and it never comes off as preachy. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Schuur451
A good bread baking book, but their methods are not the only ones that will produce good bread. It is worth trying if you have the time. Lots of good recipes.Published 21 months ago by KH
We got this book a few years ago and every recipe definitely seems to be 'off' in some way. It seems the conversion from weights to volume ( UK to US ) seems to have made a lot of... Read morePublished 23 months ago by J. Anderson
Fantastic!!! A great book for anyone who wants to make homemade bread. :)Published 23 months ago by Louise Atkin