Baking bread at home can seem daunting. We dive into Richard Bertinet’s new cookbook, Crumb: Bake Brilliant Bread, to share some tips for baking delicious bread in your home kitchen.
Highly trained and acclaimed baker from the U.K., Richard Bertinent, has debuted another cookbook that will take your bread to the next level. His two previous books, Dough and Crust, have won a number of awards, including James Beard. If you know a bread lover, an aspiring home baker or just a carb nerd, this newest book is for them.
“Your three most important tools are free: your hands, your instincts, and patience.”
Bread baking is an inexpensive hobby to get into. The tools can be relatively simple and the ingredeints are quite affordable. Don’t feel like you need to get sucked into fancy gadgets, just get baking and keep baking and baking and testing and tasting and baking some more. Get a feel for what a good dough feels like and be patient. Good bread, a soft crumb, takes time.
Understand the Difference in Flours
Richard’s book breaks down the difference between all-purpose four, strong and very strong bread flour. Take some time to read up how the protein levels vary in each type. AND take the time to find the perfect flour for the bread you’re making. Think about how the level of protein will alter how much water you use and how much time you mix the bread. It will make your life easier as you make the bread and will make the loaf come out so much better.
The Key is a Good Routine
Richard recommends trying the same bread recipe over and over again. Tweak the amount of water, notice the difference in proofing times compared to the weather and take notes. The key to getting good at making bread it routine and rhythm. Once you have a rhythm down, you will better be able to adapt your bread dough to each situation and make a better loaf.
Leave Your Oven Door Open a Crack
When you’re baking breads that should have a nice crust, like a baguette or sourdough) leave your oven door open a crack for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. This allows steam to escape and create a dry heat environment that lets the bread finish baking while creating a crisp crust.
Want a more flavorful bread? Make a basic starter!
Richard lays it our plainly, “By starting with even the most basic ferment made with strong flour, water and yeast, you will enhance the depth of flavor and texture of the crumb and crust.”
Sourdough and taking care of a sourdough starter shouldn’t be scary! It’s a great thing to have on hand for any of your bread doughs or to make a pizza crust. Crumb has easy-to-understand instructions on how to start and take care of a ferment or how to make one for a particular loaf.
Check out this recipe from the book for an enriched dough, brioche, that is served with brie in the center.
Crumb: Bake Brilliant Bread by Richard Bertinent © 2019 Kyle Books, and photographs © Jean Cazals.