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Crust: Bread to Get Your Teeth Into (With DVD)    by Richard Bertinet order for
by Richard Bertinet
Order:  USA  Can
Kyle Books, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Before I begin, I have to admit that I've never baked bread with yeast - never ventured beyond Irish soda bread, which only requires buttermilk. But I've long longed to try it, and what better place to learn than Richard Bertinet's Crust (which includes a DVD of 'top tips and techniques for baking the best bread')?

The cookbook begins with Tools & Techniques (sequences of color photographs on handling the dough are especially useful here and throughout the book), then seques smoothly into breadmaking under the categories of Slow (from fermented doughs), Different (like Ciabatta and Flamiche), and Sweet (Croissants to Bath buns). The chef concludes with bread Fact & Fiction, and shortlists Suppliers & Sources (both UK and US). In his Introduction, Bertinet tells us that he wrote his previous book Dough 'simply to get everyone hooked on making bread', but now (in Crust) wants to show 'how to apply the straightforward approach of making simpler breads to slightly more complex doughs.' He encourages trying variations on a theme and further experimentation.

There's nothing like fresh baked bread and the magnificent photos in Crust make me salivate as I reach for the breadknife and butter. In the Slow section, I will definitely try Sourdough variations - the recipes here begin with making the ferment. Under Different, Seeded Bread appeals as do Cabernet Grape Flour Bread and Chestnut Flour Bread. Buckwheat Blinis look delicious and the Japanese "Sushi" Rolls are exotic and appear tasty. Sweet always entices and I plan to try to make my own Croissants (variations include two of my favorites, pain au chocolat and abricotine!) Other mouthwatering recipes include Stollen (great for Christmas gifts) and Far Breton (the ingredients for which include prunes). Towards the back of the book are ideas for use of leftover bread (the Tartine with creamy mushrooms certainly works for me).

In the DVD movie that comes with the cookbook, the baker demonstrates how to make Brioche, Sour Dough and Natural Yeast - showing the techniques described in the book in action and proving his assertion that 'there is always a way to work a little magic with flour and water.' If you love fresh baked bread and want to try making your own, then get hold of a copy of Crust, and start getting your teeth into it.

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