best bread cookbook s and equipment
I'm a complete novice but plan to leap into breadmaking, by necessity (moving to a near breadless, pizzaless country). Recommendations on a cookbook (I'm more into Italian-style breads than grainy/nutty breads)? I'll use a mixer w/doughhook. Should I get a breadstone?
For european rustic bread my favorite is(and i have quite a few bread making books) "Rustic european breads from your bread machine".
I think i baked at least half of the recipes there.
Yes, i do have a bread machine, but use it only for kneading. So dont' be discouraged by the title. You don't need the bread machine at all. In this book it's used mostly to avoind a kneading mess, which is not a problem for you, since you have a mixer.
I adore Nancy Silverton's books on La Brea Bakery Breads. Once you "jump in," I think you will find that NOT using the mixer w/doughhook (which I own but never use) while useful takes half the fun out of making bread: kneading. The kneading is the therapeutic and magical part of breadmaking. You learn more about the breads as it is worked under your hands. Don't cheat yourself out of this experience -- learn to knead.
Better yet - learn it for yourself. Make a double-batch of dough. Knead one yourself and put the other in the machine. As you get good at kneading, you will find that the hand-kneaded bread really does taste better.
The best Italian bread book that I have found,very home user friendly,is 'The Italian Baker',by Carol Field[Harper & Row].Patience,and a good hot oven will help-bread baking is an art,and takes practice.
You might want to try Carol Field's "the Italian Baker". It is not just a bread book, but does have quite a lot of regional Italian bread recipes in it. I would respectfully disagree with the suggestion to get Silverton's Breads from the Labrea Bakery. While in many respects it is a great book and you'd learn a lot, in my opinion it is not for novices. It requires virtually a full time committment to bread baking to execute the recipes, i.e. 2 weeks to grow sourdough starter from wild yeast. I'd get started with a simpler book. Also definitely get a baking stone.
ditto rjka and mks suggestions. I have been very happy with the product from the Italian Baker recipes.
Some of the best recipes are for wet dough breads, and the taste and texture of the finished bread is very authentic.
I agree that hand kneading is very satisfying, but getting the dough started in the mixer with the dough hook is very helpful. then take it out and knead by hand (without adding too much additional flour) till the consistency is right.
If you dontwant to invest in the stone, quarry tiles are cheap and work just fine.