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Using the skills he has amassed during more than 25 years as a professional bread baker, Whitley clearly explains the process in detailed discussions of the tools, ingredients, methods, and tricks of the breadmaking trade. He also ...
Using the skills he has amassed during more than 25 years as a professional bread baker, Whitley clearly explains the process in detailed discussions of the tools, ingredients, methods, and tricks of the breadmaking trade. He also offers more than 50 foolproof recipes for all types of bread, including yeast-free and gluten-free loaves, as well as uses for leftover crumbs once they've passed their prime.
Bread Matters is an essential bread book for beginning and seasoned bakers alike. Once you see how easy it is to make your own delicious bread at home, you may never buy commercial bread again.
"Anyone who understands bread as a transformational food the way Andrew Whitley does, is a friend of mine. In his wonderful book, Bread Matters, he not only brings this powerful and ancient symbol down to earth and demystifies the process, but also communicates from his heart how anyone can easily participate in the joys and rewards of the bread baking craft." --Peter Reinhart, author of Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor
"Now and then, a book about food is so revelatory, so shocking, that it is likely to change the industry. Andrew Whitley's new book is such a work." --Rose Prince, The Daily Telegraph
"What an important book; passionate and polemical and full of truth. The chapter too on gluten-free baking is original and inspiring." --Bee Wilson, Sunday Telegraph and New Statesman
"Whitley gets down to brass tacks about what exactly makes artisan bread healthier and tastier, then offers such alluring cases in point as arkatena from Cyprus...and dozens of others, both savory and sweet." --Saveur
Posted March 24, 2010
When I received 'Bread Matters' to review from Andrews McMeel Publishing I was excited. I looked forward to reading it and to trying the recipes. 'Bread Matters' is not just a book about baking -- it's a book about a lifestyle. Author-baker Andrew Whitley has owned an award-winning bakery near Cumbria, England since 1976. He has devoted over twenty-five years to perfecting the craft of baking bread. In 2002 he founded Bread Matters, an organization devoted to improving the state of bread. He is also a founder of the Real Bread Campaign in Great Britain which started in 2003 and aims to encourage the increased and local consumption of 'real bread' in Great Britain.
The first three chapters of 'Bread Matters' are devoted to the issues surrounding the production of commercial bread. Whitley believes that store-bought bread has little nutritional value and unnecessary additives, and that it is made too quickly. He advocates that slowing down the process makes for better tasting, more nutritional bread. Chapter Three - Taking Control is a call to action: leave the store-bought, commercial stuff behind and buy or bake your own organic bread. The rest of the book tells you how with over fifty recipes. The book is for all levels of baker from beginner to expert. The first recipe I tried was from Chapter Six - First Bread and Rolls and is titled 'Basic Bread.' For not having made a yeast bread in a very long time it was just like getting back on the proverbial bicycle. It took several hours but they were relaxing hours; once I set the dough to rise on the back of my stove there was a giddy anticipation of will it rise properly, will it work? And it did, my basic bread loaf was a beautiful sight and tasted even better. Whitley's recipe and explanations were clear and straightforward. To have a complete experience I kneaded the dough with my hands vs. a mixer or Cuisinart and I am glad I did. It put me in closer touch with the process and it was fun!
What I like about the book is the detail to which Whitely goes to explain all the technical aspects of yeast cookery. Types of flour, water, yeast, baking equipment, essential ingredients, temperature, ovens, nutritional value, troubleshooting -- he even includes a section on gluten-free baking. While making my basic loaf I had a question about the process and quickly found the answer in another section of the book. I tried several other recipes including Baps (Small Rolls) and a recipe for calzoni; all worked beautifully. Next on my list of attempts will be something with sourdough and possibly croissants. The book is thorough, well-organized and full of great information on baking and yeast cookery. Whitley walks readers through the baking process with chapters like Starting From Scratch, Bread-A Meal in Itself, and Easy As Pie. If you don't already own one of the many yeast cookery books out there, or are looking for a good primer, I highly recommend Bread Matters. If you already have one or more of the others out there, this will make a perfect addition to your library. It's always good to have more than one source, isn't it? Andrew Whitley absolutely knows what he's talking about.
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