There’s something about bread that entices us. Very rare is the person who can walk past a kitchen where the smell of fresh baked bread still lingers and not want a taste. Making bread at home is one of those enviable skills that anyone with a culinary touch wants but so few of us try. Often, for us amateurs, we don’t know where to begin. Well, here’s the best place to start!
Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is a book for both the newcomer and the expert alike. Even if you’ve only just starting making bread, or only thinking about making bread, you’ll benefit from this book. Reinhart’s ability to dissect bread making (and tasting) makes this a book that is both useful for understanding how bread works and for making your mouth water while you read.
The book is part cookbook and part lesson. The second half of the book includes recipes on various types of bread, written with instructions that work in either the most well equipped eatery or the sparsest kitchen. The breads Reinhart includes range from familiar loafs, like French bread, bagels, and cornbread, to exotic dishes, like Ciabatta, Pugliese, and pain a’ l’Ancienne. All, of course, accompanied with delicious pictures.
The first half of the book is a bit of a history of Reinhart’s own learning in bread making and a study of how bread works. How the baking of loaves works, how the mixing of dough works, even how the eating of bread works. Aside from giving the reader an understanding of why bread is, well, bread, this section makes for an interesting read if the art behind culinary is something you’ve always wanted to know.
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is not one of those cookbooks that comes with a thousand recipes that guarantees you you’ll find any dish for any occasion. It’s a serious look at baking bread correctly, whether this is your first or five hundredth loaf. So, if bread’s what makes your mouth water, give this one a try.