Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading

Cover of Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading by Emilie Raffa

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading
Emilie Raffa
Page Street Publishing, 2017

The sourdough bug has bitten me hard. After reviewing The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook, I had a go at Jim Lahey’s recipes, made myself some bloom-based starter and began making bread. However, it’s been this book by Emilie Raffa that has helped me the most in terms of figuring out troubleshooting issues, creating a schedule (for no-knead bread, the whole process can take 24 hours or more), and for finding interesting recipes that I’ll actually want to make and eat.

Think of Raffa as your enthusiastic mentor/cheerleader as you work you way through this book of simply explained recipes and procedures, with clear photographs of each step so it’s easy to see what to do next.

Recipes include not just basic loaves but breadsticks, bagels, focaccia, ciabattas and more, plus piles of tasty variations such as fruit and nut sourdough, cinnamon raisin swirl, dill and cheddar, and chocolate chip. There’s also a small section of recipes for things to go on or with your sourdough, including jams, salads and soups. Plus some recipes for things to do with leftover starter, (because you usually end up pitching some of your starter when your feed it to make a new batch).

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple has totally demystified sourdough bread for me, more so than any other book or recipe I’ve come across.

Usability: Very good. Recipe steps are split up with line breaks and a header in bold to indicate the next step (bulk rise, second rise, etc). Fonts are small but readable from a kitchen counter. Steps are laid out with clear photos to demonstrate techniques. Measurements are in both metric and imperial as measuring by weight ensures more concise ratios and results.

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