Della Fattoria Bread by Kathleen Weber

Della Fattoria Bread was a pleasant surprise. What I thought would be a book full of odd artisan recipes is actually a bread making book that answered a lot of the questions I had as to why my breads seemed to come out as bricks, tasteless, or spongy. The book starts with simple recipes that are first tried and perfecedt by readers – and that leads to more complex/interesting varieties.

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The book is broken down as follows: Introductions/Foreward about the author and her bread then a section breaking down and discussing the basic ingredients of every bread. Then chapters/recipes as follows: Yeasted Breads; Enriched Breads; Pre-Fermented Breads; Naturally Leavened Breads; Crackers, Breadsticks, Pizza Doughs, Flatbreads; Sources/Index.

Recipe types include: Toscano loaf, olive oil wreath, pumpkin seed campagne batard, spicy cheddar crackers, what and barley pullman, brioche dough, sticky buns, and many more. Along with the bread are also recipes for meals that go great with bread (or use bread as an ingredient): pizza, tuna melt, tomato bread soup, green salad with citronette, and more.

The book is beautifully laid out with full color photographs. The recipes are easy to use/follow, with introductory paragraphs, ingredient amounts in grams/oz/cups/tsps (depending if you prefer to weigh or measure your ingredients), then directions in paragraph bulleted form (here, I would have preferred numbers with breaks).

The directions are very detailed and there are tips in separate boxes littered throughout. Terms are also discussed, as well as equipment (e.g., cast iron pot), and techniques (such as shaping, rolling the dough).  I found the tips and techniques especially useful.

The recipes are really translating into better bread for me. It took learning about things like not using table salt nor mixing the wrong grains to keep me from making bricks. I also understand a lot better why my little portable bread maker was a complete waste of money. As such, Della Fattoria Bread is a great book for those who have been frustrated when making bread in the past.

This is one of the best bread books I’ve read. What kept it from being a 5 star book from me is that there is a LOT of fluff – mostly about the owner, her history and background, philosophy, and people she deals with in her store.  I am sure many will find those sections an added bonus but for me, it was just too much.

Reviewed from an ARC.

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