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Home Cooking

100 Great Breads--not so great?

Henny Penny | Dec 22, 201009:31 PM

I'd consider myself an intermediate "regular" baker. I'm just starting to do more elaborate sorts of things, but your basic breads are pretty well a walk in the park for me now, whether loaf, roll, or quick bread.

Yet I'm not sure what to make of 100 Great Breads. I've had cookbooks before with missing info and typos (though never as many OBVIOUS typos as this one!), but they weren't bread-making and so it was pretty easy to figure out what was meant.

To start with, he gives instructions only for fresh yeast, which, as I go shopping once a week, is a pretty stupid option for me and, I suspect, for most home bakers. I prefer instant or dry active yeast, so I had to start out converting from fresh.

Okay, fine. This isn't a deal killer, but it's just one more thing to make the book less usable. Still, I go on to pick out my first recipe.

I choose the Cottage Loaf, of supposedly great lineage. Whatever. Then I noticed is that there's only a single rise time--no proofing after the initial rise. Umm...... Well, I was using instant yeast anyway, so I said "forget it" and rested after kneading for 10 min and then did my single rise where any normal recipe would have proofing. I really can't believe that you're supposed to bake this without proofing and am absolutely convinced that this is yet another typo. But I run into yet another problem! After shaping the loaf as directed (with what poor directions there were), I was instructed to "make vertical slashes from the top of the loaf to the bottom." While the author feels obligated to warn me against cutting myself (REALLY????), there's no direction for how many slashes or how deep they should be or any other detail given that the top, made as directed, is much smaller than the bottom.

The result after cooking was actually perfectly edible, but I have no idea if it's even vaguely what was intended in the original recipe. And some of the others look even worse.

Anyone else used this book? Have you had more success than I?

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