November 20, 2014

Orwasher's Artisan Bread by Keith Cohen

Artisan Bread: 100 Years of Techniques & Recipes from New York's Orwasher's Bakery
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons

I love bread. If it were possible for me to live on bread and cheese I probably would, so I couldn't wait to get this cookbook. Upon reading it, I was left with very mixed feelings.

On the positive side, this book is worth it for the information alone. The actual bread recipes don't even start until about page 115, in chapter five. There is a great assortment of recipes for all kinds of bread and make you want to get started. My mouth watered just looking at the photos and reading the recipes. The instructions are clear, but here we get to the first issue.

ALL the recipe instructions are for using a stand mixer. There are no alternative instructions for doing it by hand. These are very specific instructions as well; x amount of minutes on this speed, then x amount of minutes on this speed. As I don't have a stand mixer at the moment, that presents an interesting dilemma to me. I just have to wing it and do my best to get it right.

The other issue is rather a big one. Page 108 gives the recipe to start the "Mother", which you will need for 3 of the 6 starters; White Rye and Dark Rye and White Starter. It calls for 1 lb of vineyard grapes, destemmed, but not washed (or you will lose the natural yeast on the outside of the grapes), flour and water. How, exactly, does he expect people who live in parts of the country without access to 'vineyard grapes', make this starter? That's it. There are no substitutions given. If you can't make this starter, you basically have lost most of the recipes in the book.

This is a gorgeous book full of amazing looking bread. However, if you want to make most of the breads in it, make sure you can get some vineyard grapes. If you can, enjoy!

I received a copy of this book from Race Point Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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