Flour Water Yeast Salt: Artisan Baking Book

Flour Water Salt Yeast isn’t a basic bread cookbook but rather a recipe and guide book for artisan breads. I’ve been hoping for a book like this, and Ken Forkish explains and shows in detail how to make gorgeous breads. While he uses professional terminology throughout the book, probably some only familiar to fellow bakers, he writes in a way that enables bakers from any skill level to successfully recreate artisan breads at home.

All his recipes use baker’s percentages (which is explained) and focuses on basic ingredients. Clear, color photographs accompany the text to show how to fold, divide, and shape the doughs, and if you’ve never actually proofed a bread dough, Forkish explains what a ‘finger test’ is.

The book is sectioned into four basic parts: The Principles of Artisan Bread; Basic Bread Recipes; Levain Bread Recipes; and Pizza Recipes. I enjoyed the ‘lagniappe’ at the end, his own Oregon Hazelnut Butter Cookies recipe. You’ll find familiar breads using store-bough basic instant yeast, long fermented (straight) doughs, doughs using pre-ferments, breads using levain cultures (no commercial yeast), and hybrid leavening (combo levain breads with additional yeast).


Forkish’s essay on ‘Where Does Our Flour Come From?’ sheds light on exactly where flour for his bread comes from and he follows the farm where he gets his flour. It is nice that he shared a finished boule with the farmers that produce his flour which, as he states, brings it full circle.

I loved how he started the book with his experiences of starting his bakery business from the ground up, beginning with a simple idea and completely changing career paths. He shares both his successes and the things that didn’t go according to plan. The author’s insights into the artisan bread baking business should be required reading for anyone wanting to ‘jump’ into the field.

It takes long hours, dedication to the craft, and relentless marketing to make any business a success; a bakery must also produce tasty fare. Ken Forkish accomplishes that with his bakery in Portland, OR, and authentic recipes with Flour Water Salt Yeast.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This eARC was provided by the publisher, and any opinions are my own.

This review can be found in the Fall 2012 issue of Pastry Sampler Journal.

 

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