Home baking here in the UK is on the rise. It’s probably the Great British Bake Off factor, but baking books are springing up everywhere, and one of the latest is All You Knead is Bread by Jane Mason.
There is such a huge difference between proper bread that’s been given time to rise gently and develop its flavour and with a proper crumb and rich texture, and the sort of pap that’s found on supermarket shelves, that turns into a little ball of mush as soon as you start chewing, and that you can tell just from picking it up is a loaf without any substance.
When bread really was the staple carbohydrate, I don’t think that the general population would have even looked at a loaf of sliced white. The rich range of traditional loaves found in each country beat the modern mass produced, Chorleywood process loaf into a cocked hat (why are things beaten into a cocked hat anyway?), and for a truly satisfying breakfast, there’s nothing like a slice of proper toast, with proper marmalade on top.
This book is wide ranging, introducing me to all sorts of different breads from around the world, but by necessity it isn’t exhaustive. For example, there isn’t a recipe for saffron buns, nor for soul cakes, but there are plenty of recipes for breads that I haven’t come across before. I really fancy trying the potato and rosemary bread, Danish rye, pide ekmeghi, maritimers’ bread, beer bread, and the Easter bread. As well as the recipes for less common breads, Jane also includes a chapter on introducing the concepts and ingredients for straightforward loaves, including sourdough. I do like the little essays about Jane’s travels around the world, and her experiences of the local bread wherever she goes.
The recipes themselves are clear and well explained, aided by the longer section at the front of the book which gives more details about each stage of baking bread. The photography is also good; nicely styled and clearly illustrating the finished results, showing us what we’re aiming for. Giving further guidance are her videos; so you can really see the process in action – a great help for the inexperienced baker.
In summary, this is a great book for those who wish to explore the world of breads, and particularly those who are looking for inspiration from around the world. As I said, it’s not exhaustive but as apparently there are 3,600 different types of bread in Germany alone, it’ really can’t be, but for the keen baker, it’s well worth adding this book to your shelf. The punning title does set my teeth on edge, though.
Fuss Free Rating
All You Knead is Bread by Jane Mason: ****
All You Knead is Bread is published by Ryland Peters & Small, cover price £18.99
Fuss Free Flavours received a complimentary copy for review. All opinions are our own, we were not required to write a positive review