Do you remember the lovely Pie book by Dean Brettschneider? Well he’s done it again, this time Dean has created a superb book of Bread, as he says in the introduction “passion is my main ingredient” and that passion certainly comes through.
The book begins with an informative chapter on the History of Bread Making. Starting with the Egyptians through the spread of wheat from the western half of Asia through to Europe and Africa and on to the middle ages and the regulation of bread. The skill, craft and art of the baker has been admired throughout history, there may be more science now, but the principles are still the same.
Ingredients come next and if you ever wonder about the different types of flour, their properties and which to use for what, this is the book for you. Equipment is also comprehensively covered, most of it is already available in your kitchen with a few added extras like a proofing cabinet, hot rocks and chain, apparently the preferred method for creating steam for baking crusty breads!
We all need a little Bread Know How starting with the 11 basic steps in making and baking breads, this comes with step by step photographs and includes different ways to mould bread e.g. baguette, small rolls. Sourdough can strike fear into an amateur baker’s heart but Dean is there to guide you through the chemistry behind this natural yeast to give you a good understanding before you move on to the recipes.
Savoury Breads and Sourdoughs includes Turkish Pide, Beetroot and Thyme Baguettes, Dean’s Sourdough, Polenta Petites Boules, Onion Fougasse, Cheese, Bacon and Onion Paves, Carrot and Coriander Ciabatta and Potato and Rosemary Focaccia and many more.
Grainy and Healthy Breads includes Dark Beer, Walnut and Cranberry Rolls, Gluten-free Bread, I love the sound of Vine Fruit, Treacle and Rosemary Sourdough and Muesli Rolls (see recipe below)
Quick Breads and Scones try the Spinach, Pumpkin, Cumin and Feta Damper, it’s a meal in itself and I’m definitely going to try the Garden Vegetable, Cheese and Hidden Egg Savoury Muffins, a bit like a Scotch Egg but with Muffin round it rather than sausage meat.
Festive breads come from all around the world, Swedish Christmas Rye Crackers are a favourite of mine, they have big holes in the middle where they are traditionally baked on a pole. For a sweet treat there is Dresden Christmas Stollen and Panforte.
Not quite Bread a novel idea to have ‘not bread’ in a bread book, but worth it for recipes like Wholemeal Spicy Lavash-style Crackers, Danish Smorrebrod (oh yes!)step by step Danish Pastries and oh my goodness Spiced Chocolate, Cointreau and Sour Cherry Bread Pudding (faints).
Sweet Breads bring us more of the good stuff with a Chocolate Chip Brioche Breakfast Plait, Cinnamon and Raisin Toast Bread and NYC Sticky Pecan Buns, a decadent treat.
Basic Recipes is where you will find all the things you need to know about Sourdough Levain (day by day), glazes, icing, creme patissiere, Swiss buttercream and Cream Chantilly. Not to mention Cramelised Onion Decorating Dough and homemade raspberry jam.
Weights Measures and Temperatures are clearly laid out with tables for pretty much everything you will need.
Formulas (should that not be Formulae?) now this is a good chapter even if it does involve sums! How to scale ingredients, balance recipes and the secret of Bakers’ percentages.
The Glossary has many of the baking terminology that can confuse, all explained in a couple of pages.
Who is it for? This book would suit beginners, with the step by step photo instructions and also those who want to expand their bread making skills and repertoire with demanding breads like sourdough and sweet breads.
Pros: Really clear instructions, a well laid out book, beautiful photographs and inventive recipes.
Cons: There are quite a lot of non-yeasted recipes, I don’t mind this and they are great ideas, but may be a no no for purists.
The Verdict: I have quite a few Bread books and have reviewed some here on the blog. I did wonder if I would see anything new or different in this book from Dean Brettschneider, I think it is worth a place on my bookshelf and I suspect some of the others may be ousted!
Muesli Rolls makes 15
450g (2 3/4 cups)strong bread flour
50g (1/3 cup) wholemeal or whole wheat flour
40g (1/2 cup) jumbo rolled oats
8g 2 3/4 tsp instant dry yeast
10g (2 tsp) salt
30g (1 1/2 tbsp) treacle (blackstrap molasses)
20g (1 tbsp) honey
20ml (4 tsp) olive oil
370ml (1 1/2 cups) water
40g (scant 1/2 cup) walnut pieces, chopped into small pieces
30g (3 tbsp) linseeds (flaxseeds)
20g (2 1/4 tsp) sesame seeds
80g (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
80g (2/3 cup) pumpkin seeds
40g (1/3 cup) dried cranberries
40g (1/4 cup) dried apricots, cut into pieces
80g (1/2 cup) small chocolate drops or chocolate chips (optional)
100g (1 generous cup) jumbo rolled oats, to decorate
Place flours, oats, yeast, salt and wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, combine to form a dough. Tip dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes, resting it for 1 minute every 2-3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Check dough throughout kneading for stickiness; add a little more water or flour if necessary to achieve a soft dough that’s not too firm.
Add walnuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate(if desired). Knead until well incorporated and combined into dough. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for approximately 1 1/2, until dough has doubled in size. Gently knock back dough in bowl by folding it back onto itself several times. Cover again and leave for a further 30 minutes.
Tip dough upside down onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle flour over top of dough (which was on the bottom of the bowl). Very carefully turn dough over and gently flatten to 2cm (3/4 in) thick. Using a dough scarper or large chef’s knife, cut dough into 7cm (2 3/4in) squares. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops with water, Sprinkle entire surface of each roll with rolled oats, and pat down gently to stick them on.
Line a baking tray (cookie sheet) with baking (parchment) paper. Place rolls onto lined tray (sheet), leaving a 2-3cm (3/4-11/4in) gap between each roll. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave to prove for 30-45 minutes, depending on room temperature.
Place rolls on baking tray (cookie sheet) in a preheated 230C/450F/Gas 8 oven, apply steam and quickly close oven door. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning tray around halfway through baking if needed Remove rolls from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
The rolls are quite dense in texture but full of flavour, they are particularly good toasted.
Bread by Global Baker, Dean Brettschneider
Published by Jacqui Small
I’m entering the Muesli Rolls for Bake of the Week at Casa Costello.