I really need a more comprehensive bread book. In the meantime, I did a quick library dash yesterday and grabbed a few to tide me over until I decide which one I want. One of them I read form cover to cover last night. It’s a great book for anyone who wants to try making their own bread from scratch. It’s not just for beginners though, there is plenty in there to satisfy most home bakers. Not only bread but the full range of bakery fare; pies, biscuits, slices, cakes, scones and desserts.
And the book?
Secrets of the Beechworth Bakery by Tom O’Toole. I noticed in looking for a cover image that he has since released ‘More Secrets of the Beechworth Bakery’ but I can’t comment on that as I haven’t read it.
My only criticism thus far of the book is that the editing is a little lacking, mostly in terms of the way he refers to flour. There is little consistency and I’m sure it has the potential to be confusing to the novice baker, particularly if they just flick open to a recipe without reading the chapter the recipe is contained in in full. Once you get your head around where he means plain (cake/biscuit) flour and where he means bread (strong) flour, it’s a great introduction to the satisfying world of baking.
I’ve sampled the goods from the Beechworth Bakery many times in my life and if the recipes turn out as well as the real deal, I will be well pleased. It’s nice to be able to recommend a book written by someone who is practically local.
UPDATED: I should probably have waited to write this post until after I baked from it. It’s a great book, great ideas, lots of flexibility. But really NOT for the beginner. Apart from the previously mentioned issues with flour and related terminology, measurements are given by cup, not weight. I don’t think that’s a good idea, there’s to much variation. I found with the basic continental dough, rather than the specified 3 cups, took almost 4. Which is fine if you are confident in working with dough but too confusing for the beginner. Similarly, the amount of topping to be used in the tear and share (for example) was unspecified. Which doesn’t make it wasy for a novice baker who is unsure how much eatra weight the dough can take. So, in a nutshell, I’m still very much enjoying the book but would recommend it to mor confident bakers.