I've been a little bread obsessed recently, which may account for the fact that I have acquired 3 new bread baking cookbooks in the past couple of months. I've attempted the croissant and the pain au chocolat...next on my list, the baguette.
I've actually only used the cookbooks for the croissant recipe (Fine Cooking) and haven't had a chance to make anything else, but I am really looking forward to it! I've been eating a lot of baguettes lately (with goat cheese...drizzled in olive oil and rosemary...so good!) so I think the next step is to try to make them on my own.
I took a flip through the three books, so here's what I have to say about them:
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
I like this book just because of the concept behind it. "Mix enough dough for several loves and store it in the refrigerator". I know that I personally don't have time to mix and knead dough every morning. This book gives you the flexibility of making the dough ahead of time and then refrigerating it for the next couple of weeks. Then, when ready, you just take the dough and shape it into the loaf that you want (the "five minutes a day"), let it rise, then bake it. It's perfect for the everyday person who may not have enough time to prepare home baked loaves chaque matin.
The Bread Baker's Apprentice
Next up, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, is a collection of "break breakthroughs" by a former apprentice at some of France's well-known boulangeries. I'll be honest, this book is a bit more complex. Measurements, timing and temperature are exact. I think it is targeted towards the more skilled of bread bakers. Perhaps I will keep it on my shelf until I'm more comfortable with my skills in the kitchen. I find it a bit intimidating.
Fine Cooking Breads
I love looking through Fine Cooking for all of my recipes. This book covers all of the basics...flatbreads, biscuits, yeast breads, quick breads...basically an all encompassing book. Recipes are fun and easy. It's actually more of a magazine-style "book" than an actual book, but it's covers are thicker making it a bit sturdier for kitchen-use. There are lots of photos, both of the steps involved in the preparation process and the finished product. I love that. I am a very visual person and like to see exactly what is involved, so it's good that way.
I'll keep you updated on all of my kitchen adventures :)