Because I developed my own approach to baking a lot of years ago, I often get more out of non-specialist bread books where I adapt ideas to my own methods than I do out of this year’s must-have pukka baking manual. And some bread books by famous bakers, such as Eric Kayser’s acclaimed Larousse Book of Bread, turn out to be total duds.
There aren’t many downsides to living in Bethesda but the scarcity of bookshops is one of them. Apart from Palas Print in Caernarfon, and it’s not worth the journey for their cookery section, the nearest bookshop is Dublin or Chester and Chester only has a pretty ordinary Waterstones.
So, when in Bath, a struggle up the hill to Toppings has to be undertaken. (Actually Bath with its high hydration of Real Bread Ambassadors could be a dangerous place for me. As well as the self-proclaimed eco-artisan baker mentioned in my last post, there’s Richard Bertinet and, just down the road, Tom “I’m a 5th Generation Baker” Herbert of Hobbs House. Wouldn’t want to meet those three down a dark alley. “Errm – Couldn’t interest you gents in the revised version of Sourdough Made Simple? Bethesdabakin’ tee shirt?” …)
Doesn’t take long to look through the bread section – usual suspects, no surprises. But I spend a happy hour looking through the the rest of the cookery section and finally happen upon:
The Bread & Savouries section doesn’t start until page 144 but goes on for over a hundred pages, and the book as a whole contained enough to keep me out of trouble for a while. So I laid out £25 for it. Early birthday present to myself. Could have saved a fiver on Amazon but you have to support bookshops – they even offered me coffee.
First up, Sønderjydske Rye a 100% wholemeal rye sourdough. Simplest bread I ever made: overnight sponge with additional rye added in the morning; light knead, light shape, 2 hours prove, bake 5 minutes at 250C + 35 minutes at 200C. Cut it the same evening – absolutely delicious. Promising start.