Baking Bread For Beginners: Reviewing "How to raise a loaf"

§ I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel. §

"How to raise a loaf and fall in love with sourdough" by Roly Allen is a sweet little book that introduces you into the art of baking your bread without yeast. Instead it focuses solely on - you've guessed it - sourdough. So when my eyes fell onto this book on the NetGalley book shelf, I had to request a copy: even though I am baking bread since I moved out, I decided to advance to sourdough this year. Furthermore, Austria has a lovely bread culture and there is a lot to explore. Thus, reading a book about all things sourdough that spreads the love of this type of bread seemed only fitting!

"How to raise a loaf and fall in love with sourdough" by Roly Allen
"How to raise a loaf and fall in love with sourdough" by Roly Allen 

"How to raise a loaf" is has a simple structure and is split into three parts: 

"Getting started" gives you all the information about bread and grain in a simple way and understandable way. It further elaborates on the equipment that you need in order to create your own tasty bread. As well as how to create your own starter - probably the most vital part of baking a sourdough bread!

Furthermore, he goes the extra mile and explains everything fool prove. Thus, how to correctly knead and fold a bread is explained with photos and in details. This way it is suddenly easy to learn how to create a nice and airy product! It also presents the easiest of recipes that any rookie bread baking can start with.

However, the starter method that Allen uses was foreign to me. Since I always use a very simple option of only water and wholewheat flour. This is further elaborated in the next chapter:

"Getting creative" - also includes a list of alternative ways to create a starter. The vegan method is the only traditionally used where I live. As well as some starter options that had been foreign to me: see dark chocolate starter!

Additionally, Allen elaborates on optional equipment that might help your bread baking journey. There is also a troubleshooting guide, as well as tips and ideas that you can do with your bread. Sprinkle the top with flour? You got it! The troubleshooting guide really covers all the common problems you might encounter.

Last but hardly least are the recipes. These range from very simple recipes to complex and creative ones. The "oat and apple bread" had me gasping but it is an idea that I had not considered before. Then there are creative recipes like sourdough pizza and tomato sauce bread, as well as poppy seed white sourdough rolls - which I want to try! They range from easy ones where you only need your trusty flour and starter to trickier ones.

In conclusion, I enjoyed reading "How to raise a loaf and fall in love with sourdough". The writing is easy and after a brief introduction it focuses on the main task: baking bread. It is meant for total baking beginners with a vague idea of what sourdough is and it helps these people to find their way in the world of bread. 

How to Raise a Loaf: and fall in love with sourdough by Roly Allen
 published  2020 by  Laurence King Publishing
 pages    112 
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