Baking By Hand: Make the Best Artisanal Breads and Pastries Better Without a Mixer by Andy King and Jackie King

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A & J King’s humble storefront and artistically quirky interiors belie their status as top bread makers in the Northeast carried by some of the best restaurants and gourmet stores in the country, including Whole Foods.

Authors Andy and Jackie King believe you make better bread at home without a mixer, using the same folding technique they use to make their amazing bread in the bakery. It doesn’t require big muscles or more time and the baking process is more rewarding using their four fold kneading technique.

Andy and Jackie feature their best one hundred recipes including their regionally famous sourdough, a perfectly chewy and crusty olive packed ciabatta, and an earthy, healthy and wonderful multigrain loaf. And that’s only half the story. They claim to make the best croissant you will ever eat, which made James Martin from the UK Cooking Channel exclaim, “I haven’t seen baking like this since I worked in France,” while filming a segment on the best bakeries on the East Coast.

With all of Andy and Jackie’s innovative methods and best recipes you’ll be able to cook incredible loaves and treats at home and truly by hand.  (-synopsis)

This book is filled with the most amazing breads you can make at home.  I am not one to make breads with a mixer or a bread machine so I was super excited to receive this book.  The one thing that I had a hard time with is that every single recipe uses a sourdough starter.  Sourdough and I don’t always get along so I was a little hesitant.

Another issue with the recipes in the book are that they have to be started at least 12 hours in advance.  I don’t always know 12 hours in advnce that I want to bake bread so this isn’t always an option.  What I did like about the book were the incredible breads, the beautiful photographs and the step by step intructions.

The beginning of the book has great ideas on how to get your kitchen ready for bread baking.  It goes through the ingredients used and the technique of mixing the dough with your hands.  There are step by step photos for rolling and kneading the dough.  Then there are a few pages on getting your sourdough starter ready for baking.

Some of the awesome bread recipes I found are for French Baguettes, Focaccia, and Cinnamon Swirl Bread.  There’s even an entire section on using the different breads to make sandwiches for lunch.  Then there are the pastries.  Buttery croissants, flaky danish, and creamy bread pudding are just begging to be made.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

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