Wednesday, January 26, 2011


One of my goals for this year is to learn to make yeast bread. Knowing that this process is both part science and part art, I felt I needed to step outside of my usual Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Cookbook box... I needed a book specifically about bread. I needed a book that would simplify things at first, and something that preferably included pictures... a bread-baking-for-dummies, if you will. But I didn't want to get bored either. I needed something that would continue to challenge me as I master the simpler recipes. I needed something on my level, but that would still keep things interesting... a tall order, I'm well aware.

Well, what I found, after a bit of searching, was this lovely book called Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads, by Richard Bertinet. 

This book delivered exactly what I was asking for. I wanted simple - how does only four ingredients sound? I wanted pictures - there are over 20 how-to photographs of everything from how to work the dough to a color guide for baking. It even came with an instructional DVD, where you can watch Mr. Bertinet's interesting technique! It really makes bread-baking pretty much idiot proof. And I'm certain that I won't be bored with it anytime soon... there are enough recipes of various skill levels and flavors to keep me (and my taste buds!) entertained for quite some time.

I tried my first recipe out of it this weekend, with much success. I chose the Epi for its pretty (but simple!) shape, and invited a couple friends over for homemade stew and bread. The little wheat-shaped loaves made a lovely centerpiece, and no one guessed how easy they were to make! This was really the perfect bread to serve to a crowd... the little "leaves" were easily torn off to be eaten as individual rolls, and the crunchy outer crust was perfect for dipping into the stew. All four loaves were quickly devoured between the four of us, to both my pleasure at their popularity and my disappointment that there wouldn't be any leftovers. :)

Since I've only tried this recipe once, I'm not quite ready to post it as a recipe for you all just yet. I made a couple of rookie mistakes, like using all-purpose flour instead of bread flour as the recipe called for, and I haven't yet perfected my technique. But trust me, I'll be using recipes from this book quite frequently and there will be recipes from it in the future!

But for now I'm happy enough to have had a successful first attempt. :)

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