Bread by Hammelman
I recently purchased Hamelman's book and am still reading through it. I was excited to buy it based on the overwhelmingly positives reviews I read on Amazon. I was particularly interested in finding a book that had more German-style Ryes, and this one seemed to be the best option. My problem with the book is that it seems a tad on the technical side and a little light on the recipe instruction side, not to mention a lack of photos of finished breads. I only recently got into bread baking and my first book was Dan Leader's Local Breads. Maybe I'm just spoiled by Dan's interesting personal stories, but I have found his explanations much more straight-forward and easier to follow than Hammelman's. I do realize now there are quite a few errors in Leader's book, but that not-withstanding, it has helped me produce some really good bread and made me excited to learn more. I really want to like Hamelman's book, but his formulas are confusing to me. He only lists home baking in American measurements, whereas I've gotten used to scaling in grams using Leader's book. What's more confusing is he doesn't specify types of flours to use. He just puts "bread flour", which I think he uses generically for any white wheat flour. Leader always specifies what the equivalent flour is (i.e. ap, hg, etc.). I sort of understand from what I've learned thus far that certain white breads don't need hg flour like mixed ryes do, but it would be nice to get a little more specificity there. I also see that Hammelman tends to mix very little and rely on folding quite a bit more. His instructions for ciabatta for example, couldn't be any more different. While Leader calls for long kneading at the highest speeds, Hammelman says to mix for a couple of minutes and second speed and relies on a couple of folds. I guess I'm more inclined to trust Leader because I'm more familiar with his book and it allows the less-skilled to rely on the machine a lot more than the hands.
Sorry for the lengthy rant. Any thoughts?