Monday, October 3, 2016

Book Review: The Bread Baker's Apprentice

When I saw The Bread Baker's Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread come up for review on Blogging for Books, I was apprehensive.  I was concerned that it would either be full of recipes that use dry milk powder like  A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets, or that it would be some pretentious crap with weird expensive ingredients like Marc Vetri's Mastering Pasta.  I decided to go ahead and request it after seeing so many bloggers and bakers online wax poetic about this book and all its wonders. This book must be good if people took the time to start a Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge...Google it, you'll be amazed.

I was pleasantly surprised that this book is a cookbook/textbook hybrid.  In the first half, he walks you through all the basics of techniques and equipment. I love that his recipes work with grocery store unbleached bread or all-purpose flour.  Instant yeast, tap water (if it's drinkable, although we're slowly learning none of our tap water seems to be drinkable, but that's a different post), no preference to hand kneading, electric mixers, bread machines or food processors, and no fancy thermometer is needed.  Granted, these are not simple mix, rise, bake recipes, but they didn't seem overly complicated to me.  Now that cold weather is upon us, I'm looking forward to trying his recipes out.

IS IT VEGAN-FRIENDLY:  Yes and no.  His recipes do include a lot of dairy milk and butter, but with all the non-dairy milk and butter options, I doubt you'd have an issue making a substitution. When I try some out, I'll let you know.

WOULD I BUY IT?:  Yes.  I like books that don't make cooking or baking seem like a rich man's hobby.  Baking is for everyone.  While this book is more complex than recipes you'd find in your run of the mill baking book, I think the extra work will be worthwhile.  I also think the textbook-like first half provides enough information to make it worth the price of the book.

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  There was no obligation to give a positive review, and if you read my blog, you know I'm a tell-it-like-it-is kind of girl.  I mean what I say and say what I mean, that holds true for my review.

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