Book Report: Baking By Hand

I recently posted to Facebook that I had picked up this book at the library for some holiday perusing. The title intrigued me (as titles are designed to do) and I wanted to see what the authors had to say about this delicious art.

Mostly, it is a good book, with yummy recipes and beautiful pictures. There were a number of these recipes that I found myself planning to bake….although using my own technique rather than theirs. A good portion of the book is dedicated to pastries, and sugar-scrooge that I am, I found myself flipping through most of that section without really paying attention.

On the other hand, it does seem to fall into the category of yet another bakery trying to do what Tartine has done so successfully, only not quite as successfully. Unfortunately, we can’t all be Chad Robertson, try as we may. Alas. This technique required much more bread-technology and provided much less instruction for essentially the same process as Tartine. Having just recently re-perused Tartine, the difference in accessiblity of information was distinct.

There are also many recipes here that require commercial yeast (hissssss) and it is important to keep in mind that the sourdough recipes use starter methods that are for countertop SOUR dough starters. Just FYI.

Overall Rating: Three stars. Some good recipes, but requires the purchase of too many products, and nothing you can’t really find easily on the internet. Worth checking out from the library for a look-see, but I wouldn’t buy it.

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