If there was ever a man to teach me how to bake its’s Paul Hollywood. I mean is it me or does he have the bluest eyes on TV? Now I know that I should start a book review with “This is what this book is all about” but really! You can’t get past them. Anyone who watched the ‘The Great British Bake off’ series (new series is starting tonight by the way!) will know what I ‘m talking about. (There! Secret crush dealt with. Now onto the book)
How to Bake,
By Paul Hollywood
I have a confession to make. Before getting my hands on this book I had never made bread, or rolls, or buns or anything with yeast in it before! So, this is the perfect book for me! It has all those “I want to make bread recipes in it” and they are really simple to follow. Step pictures always help I find! Don’t you?
Paul says that baking bread is not difficult. “It’s all about mastering the techniques” And it’s true! Check in tomorrow to see how my first loaf turned out.
So, What’s in the book
Every chapter has tons of techniques, ingredients, the tools you need as well as baking advice. Paul’s years of knowledge is evident throughout and his tone is really coaxing. He makes you feel like you can make any bread with ease.
Getting started with bread
This is where you learn about what each ingredient does when baking bread. It’s the science bit that I always want to understand but no one usually includes in a baking book. You can see how to do all the different techniques from kneading and mixing to rising and knocking back the dough (great if you have had a stressy day!) There’s also a list of the basic tools that you’ll need – don’t worry, if your a keen baker you’ll have most of them already.
Now the fun starts. There are so many great recipes here that you won’t know where to start. White cob, soda bread and Cholla loaf are the ones I am going to start off with.
Of course I had heard of sourdough, but I didn’t really know what it was. Now I do, I can’t wait to try it. It takes forever to make but is well worth the effort from the look of it. There are 15 sourdough recipes in this chapter! I think I’ll start with the basic sourdough and move on from there!
Croissants, Danish & Brioche
Now, I remember seeing the contestants on ‘Great British Bake off” making croissants and being astounded by how much butter was in them. I couldn’t believe how there was any dough at the end of all the kneading and not just a pile of butter! I vowed to stay clear or become the size of an elephant. That lasted about 2 weeks till I was on a shoot. Croissants are the staple breakfast on any shoot!
This chapter is not for the dieters out there. Pain au chocolat, frangipane, Creme Patissiere, Apple brioche!!!!!! I can’t go on! Just know that there are 14 deeeeelicious recipes to choose from.
Biscuits, puddings & cakes
This chapter is bursting with thirty three fab recipes that I either haven’t seen for a while or have a Paul twist to them. I was very excited to see Clafoutis there after my trip to Norfolk a few months ago. There’s also carrot and almonds cheese cake, raspberry and passionfruit muffins and spiced coffee and date cake as well as a few traditional bakes like Victoria sponge, scones and buttery shortbread biscuits. In short theres loads to choose from.
Tarts & Pies
I never make pastry in a food processor as my mum always taught me to use the warmth of your hands to blend the ingredients together. Paul says exactly the same thing. He gives loads of hints and advice throughout all the chapters. Each pastry recipe states where it’s best used- be it a tart, pie or a pasty. I’ve been wanting to make Lemon meringue pie for a while now and this one looks seriously good. Each level is nice and thick! There’s puff pastry, short crust pastry as well as ingredients for sausage rolls, Pithivier, Peacan and chocolate pie and Flamiche to name but a few!
Directory page – self explanatory!
What I like about the book.
The colours and layout throughout the book are really good. They give baking bread a modern touch. I love the punchy oversized fonts used for each chapter. The step by step shots are also perfectly placed, just when you need to see how your dough should look or how to knead it- there’s a picture to show you.
There’s no getting away from the fact that some breads need a lot of time to prove, but my mouth was literally watering when I first looked through this book. I love bread and I love cheese so the thought of putting the two together is just too yummy to resist. So in short. I’m sold on bread. Although I’m more of an instant baking results sort of person, there are plenty of recipes where you can leave the dough overnight and pick up where you left it in the morning.
I can’t wait to get started. Can you?
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