I have had this book for several weeks now and have made many recipes in it. Instant hits were the Granola and the Pecan Caramel Rolls.
The idea behind this book is that you make a larger batch of dough with a high water content and no kneading, keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and bake portions of it with very little work involved.
I started out with a basic white dough ( Boule) and liked the results. First of all the bread looks very pretty. It has a thin, crunchy crust. It tastes good. I found the loaf size a bit small for the five of us.
When I tried a Peasant Loaf with added rye flour I found the taste less pleasing. It tasted “wet” and lacked the sourdough flavour that I was expecting.
This is when I started experimenting. I compared the recipe to other breads I have baked and right away “Seelen” came to mind. It is a German recipe that also has a high water content and rises in the fridge over night. But the big differences are that “Seelen” use very little yeast and the traditional amount of kneading.
The recipes in the book use a high amount of yeast (1 1/2 Tbsp for 6 1/2 cups flour). I theorized that if there is so much yeast in the dough, the sourdough cultures cannot develop, because they compete for the same nutrients. I also figured that an initial kneading of the dough might help the flour to absorb the water better resulting in a less wet taste.
I have tested this theory and I am extremely pleased with the results. Now I start every fresh batch in my stand mixer, adding only 1 1/2 tsp of yeast. I knead the dough for 3 minutes on 1 and another 3 minutes on 2. After that I proceed as written in the recipe. The breads taste amazing and have a lovely crumb with many small holes. The best thing for me is, that my kids love these breads, even with a bit of rye flour added. I had a dinner party with a buffet the other night and had 2 Peasant Loaves there. People kept coming back for another piece. They loved it.
I now have 2 batches constantly in the fridge: one recipe that is great for breakfast and one a bit heartier for lunch or dinner. I now know, that I can have a great tasting fresh loaf of bread within 2 hours whenever I want and very little work involved.
The other night I realized I had no bread for breakfast, just as I was about to go to bed. So I pulled out my bread maker added a portion of the Sandwich Bread dough and delayed the machine for 1 1/2 hour. I figured that would be enough time for the dough to get to room temperature. The bread turned out just great and tasted much better than a regular bread made in the bread maker.
What I also love about this book is the incredible variety of recipes. They come from all over the world: France, Italy, theMiddle East, Sweden, India and more.
You can buy the book here
And the authors also have a blog
If you love baking you should definitely give this book a try!