My first real experience of bread making was in 1996. It was the initial project we did in Food Technology as part of our GCSE. It started well, with a trip to the Warburton's factory in Bolton, but turned sour when I had to wear a hairnet (give me a break, I had a waist length perm...) Back in the classroom, it went from bad to worse. Our teacher was like a young(ish) version of the Trunchbull. She did not tolerate meat eaters, lateness or any form of personal creativity. She terrified me. As a result, bread making was not a joyous experience! It reminds me of her. The bread we made lacked flavour and there wasn't a sniff of anything beyond your bog standard loaf.
I spent quite a while looking at books dedicated to bread, books with bread sections and even thought of reverting back to cake loaves... Then I found this little beauty. What a refreshing change! There they are, on their bale of hay without a care in the world. Duncan and Patrick don't look like cookery teachers. I have no fear of them whatsoever.
I love books that have this 'thing'. I'm not sure there's a word for it, or indeed whether I am able to craft one. This book has the 'thing'. How do I go about describing it? Well, in the words of Run DMC, it goes a little something like this:
- They include recipes that are loved, not used to make money.
- They are created in a kitchen, not a home economist's lab.
- They are tested on friends, family or loyal customers, not fat-cats.
- The pictures look real, not plastic fantastic.
Although this book is predominantly based around bread, it goes much wider than that. It's split into what you need to get started, teaches you the basics (which encourages you to create your own recipes), looks at different types of bread, and even includes some sweet treats. Between these there are recipes which go well with the bread, for example there's a fantastic looking chicken curry which goes with the Stone-Baked Flat Breads. There are lots off hints and tips along the way too.
I was dying to try one of these recipes. I rebelled. I'm a big girl... and I made bread with cider in it! Hear my roar cookery teacher! The recipe for Cider and Apple Bread makes two small (1lb) loaves, perfect for having with a cup of tea and a bit of nice jam or honey.
It was incredibly easy to make too. All in a bowl, give it a good knead and let nature do its magic. It doesn't rise a massive amount, but the finished product is soft and tasty with tangy chunks of apple throughout.
I really enjoyed reading the rest of this book. Recipes range from the ridiculously easy to a bit of a challenge, so there's something here for everyone. They had the foresight to think beyond bread, and considered how it is an integral part of the western diet. This book is about eating as well as baking.That's probably why I love it so much...
Bread Revolution by Duncan Glendinning & Patrick Ryan
Publisher: Murdoch Books, 2012
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because I fancied making a nice loaf. I received no payment from the publisher for doing so.
Read more about the author at Murdoch Books.