Book Review: Baking Artisan Breads
I just got my hands on a nice new baking book, Baking Artisan Bread by Johnson & Wales University baking and pastry instructor Ciril Hitz.
The format of the book feels quite familiar to anyone who has read The Bread Baker's Apprentice: a section on ingredients, followed by a section on equipment, followed by a section on techniques. There is also a brief section on the 10 steps of baking, not as in depth as Peter's twelve stages of baking, but a useful introduction for people unfamiliar with the process. Then the recipe section.
The recipes section is where things get a bit different. Hitz organizes the recipes around ten core formula, each of which is used in a few variations. So, for example, Hitz includes a Pain de Mie (white sandwich bread) formula then follows it up with a Cinnamon Spice Swirl Bread recipe, a Raisin Roll recipe, and a Picnic Roll recipe, all based on the Pain de Mie. Doing so shows the reader how mastering a few core doughs opens up limitless variations.
The ten core formula provide a decent variety of recipes: Baguette Dough, Ciabatta Dough, Whole Wheat Dough, Bagel Dough, Pizza Dough, Challah Dough, Croissant Dough. This book doesn't get into the world of Sourdough.
The appendices are short but quite helpful. They include a nice baking timeline and a useful troubleshooting guide.
Also included with the book is a DVD. There are some nice clips of preshaping a round, shaping and scoring a baguette, and rolling up croissant dough. My one complaint is the DVD's brevity: even including credits it comes in under a half an hour.
The photography in the book is by Ron Manville, who took the photos in The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. The intro is by Jeffrey Hamelman and the back cover includes a quote by Peter Reinhart. So you know Hitz is a credible baker.