After my family gave me a grain mill and some bags of grain for my birthday, I got more bags of grain and some fantastic bread baking books for Christmas. I already have some other books filled with recipes for yeast breads and rolls, but they are not very good. They have a lot of nice recipes, but they don’t provide their readers with information about the science behind bread baking. When my first yeasted breads came out like bricks, were too moist in the centre or fell apart after taking them out of their pans, these books didn’t explain what had gone wrong. In my opinion this is exactly why so many people try baking with yeast and then give up again. Their bread doesn’t rise, the bread sinks, or it comes out like a brick and they don’t know what to do.
For a good yeast or sourdough bread all you need is a little practice. I learned a lot about bread baking by trial and error and by reading up a lot on the internet. Many of the internet ressources I consulted, recommended the same books over and over because they seemed to be a good source of bread baking knowledge. One of those books was The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.
Both the Bread Baker’s Apprentice and Whole Grain Breads are good guides to bread baking. Reinhart explains how bread baking works, he shares his experience and gives a whole tutorial on what he considers to be the most important things when it comes to bread making. If you have never ever baked a yeast bread, you can learn all you need right from the beginning with these books. They will be your experience if you haven’t got any. You won’t start with bricks, but with really good and flavourful breads because Reinhart will provide you with everything you need to know.
If you have experiece with bread baking, these books are also a great help. I spent several days reading and learning much from them. And the recipes are really fantastic, too. Not all of them are vegan, but they are easy to veganize. The first thing I made from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice was a cinnamon bun recipe that called for two eggs. I simply left them out and the buns came out so great that I had to make them again and give the recipe to my father:
When I made them for the second time, I divided the dough into two parts. I made cinnamon rolls with one half and filled the second half with marzipan and poppy seeds:
While The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is a great book, I like Whole Grain Breads even better. Firstly, I hardly ever bake bread from white flour and secondly, in this book Reinhart explains all the theory behind baking even better. I’ve already made several breads from the book, for example this flavourful Transitional Rye Hearth Meteil:
Transitional means that this bread is not a 100% whole grain bread. I still used 100% whole grain flours. This bread is made from both rye and wheat flour and Reinhart uses both yeast and sourdough as leavening. The sourdough and the rye make the bread keep fresh and flavourful for a long time. It’s really an amazing bread and tastes as good as if it was purchased from your favourite bakery.
The next bread I tried was a German Style Many Seed Bread. I tried it because a. it said “German” in the title and b. because there’s a huge amount of toasted seeds in this bread, which I love. The Many Seed Bread is really aromatic and the seeds add a lot of flavour to this bread, but for my taste there’s way too much sugar in the recipe. Without the sugar I’d definitely make this again, though. I think for a “German” bread, this was too sweet. In my opinion the Rye Hearth Meteil is a much better example of German bread baking.
Another good recipe is the Transitional Multigrain Hearth Bread. I made this for a friend who loves flaxseeds in her bread, so I added some extra seeds to this recipe. Unfortunately the high amount of white flour lets the bread dry out pretty fast. But maybe you won’t have that problem at all if you ever make this bread. It is so tasty that I was tempted to eat the whole loaf at once.
I’ve only tried one recipe from Richard Bertinet’s book so far (pain de mie), but I’ll definitely get back to it soon. Many recipes in that book are not vegan, but most of them are easy to veganize, too. The author provides five basic doughs (white, olive oil, brown, rye, sweet) and all the recipes are variations from this dough. I’ve already marked some for future baking so stay tuned…
Now I have to come back to the most amazing Celine of have cake, will travel. As you already know from her blog, Celine’s ideas for great yeast breads and rolls never end. For her and Joni’s cookbook, she’ll also be providing quite an amount of awesome yeasted breads and rolls. Like these Poppy Lemon Bread Scrolls. These were the best rolls ever. Only slightly sweet and full of my favourite seeds and with a refreshing hint of lemon. So good with jam: