Basic bread has very few ingredients and seems like a simple thing to make, but bread is an intimidating thing to bake for many people. There are many reasons that people get intimidated and most of them come down to a lack of understanding of how to make a good bread. In short, they are missing out on the basics that make a bread recipe seem as easy as a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Nick Malgieri’s Bread is an overview of bread making, a book designed to take some of the mystery out of baking bread and set readers of any skill level up for bread-baking success.
The book starts out with an overview of the ingredients you need to make good bread. Malgieri is specific – without getting to scientific – about the ingredients you need and why you need them, as well as what essential kitchen equipment you need to have. The idea behind this introduction is not that you can’t make bread without these ingredients, but that you are setting yourself up for success by stocking your pantry with the right tools to make great breads at home before you start any baking. The introduction also covers the basic techniques and bread terms – such as kneading and “turning the dough” – used in most bread recipes to help demystify some of the terminology that comes up over and over.
Following through with the same precision he uses in the intro, Malgieri uses the same level of detail in the recipes that make up the rest of the book, breaking them down into very simple, clear steps that are easy to follow. The recipes range from very simple One Step Breads to more complex Filled and Sweeted Breads, but all of the recipes will deliver an excellent product. Most are illustrated with photos of the finished products, as well as step-by-step photos of any details of that particular recipe. Better still, Maligeri includes recipes that you can make using the bread recipes in the book, from bread salads to bread puddings, so you can start enjoying the fruits of your labor and, hopefully, make bread baking a regular occurrence in your kitchen.