I am really excited about sharing this book with you. This is Melissa’s second book in The Art of Baking With Natural Yeast series, but you wouldn’t necessarily have to read the first book for this one to make sense. The book begins with the Starter Summary and gives instructions on how to start your starter! I also see that on her website, she is quick to answer questions from those who are asking for help. I think we can all appreciate help from the author when we get stuck and can’t figure things out for ourselves.
Melissa Richardson calls herself The Bread Geek, and in fact, that’s the name of her website – www.thebreadgeek.com . She says that her first attempts, as well as many more after that, didn’t produce the results she wanted, but through lots of research as well as trial and error, she finally has perfected the process and fortunately, is sharing it with us.
I’ve always loved baking bread. As a teenager, I dreamed about owning my own bakery and living above it. Always looking for ways to save time, I think I believed that if I lived upstairs, it wouldn’t make those 4 am trips to start those batches of dough so miserable. (In reality, my hubby and do own a business, and we live above it. Not the business of choice for me, but with the amount of time we spend there, it sure makes it convenient!)
In my early days of baking bread, I always bought the little packets in the refrigerated section at the store. Later, when the warehouse stores started carrying the big packages of yeast, I started purchasing them and keeping the yeast in a glass jar in my refrigerator. I’ve always wanted to have my own live yeast starter, but I just never took the time to figure out how to make it work, and what little I did know about it just seemed like too much trouble.
Now that Melissa has done all of the hard stuff for me, I am really excited to get started. This book seriously walks you through the steps to make your own experiences with live yeast successful. The only thing you’re missing is having Melissa standing there in your kitchen and doing all the work for you!
Melissa states that there are 5 keys to success in using live yeast:
Keys to Success
1. Keep your starter in the refrigerator door, and check it every time you open the door.
2. Liquid on the starter equals feeding time—right now!
3. Consistency: thicker is better than thinner.
4. Four-Day Limit: don’t wait longer than four days between feedings.
5. Don’t bake if your starter hasn’t bubbled.
You’ll have to read the book to learn how and why these five keys are so important! Melissa has provided some beautiful pictures that show you just how your batch of starter should look. You can’t help but get excited when you see these pictures because just describing the process wouldn’t be as effective. You’ve got to see these pictures!
In case you’re thinking this is just a book about making your own starter, let me set you straight. Once you’ve read and seen those beautiful pictures of the starter in progress, you’ll find lots and lots of recipes. Each one is tagged with the Bread Geek Symbol Key that lets you know if they are friendly for diabetics, vegan, or no-waiting necessary!
Each recipe also shows the yield. For instance, she tells you how much “yield” you can expect – i.e., two loaves, or how many individual rolls, or how many pretzels depending on whether you form them into small, medium, or large sizes.
Did I mention the beautiful pictures?! On the recipe for dark rye bread, there is the most scrumpdillyicious picture of a reuben sandwich, which happens to be my favorite sandwich in the whole world! I am sooo hungry right now!
As a wife, mother, and grandmother who wants to be prepared for any situation, knowing I can make my own breads at home without having to purchase commercial yeast is really exciting. I realize that it takes some preparation on my part, but I’m willing to spend that minimal amount of time to enjoy the results.
Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast is really a beautifully-created book and I am so grateful to Melissa for making all of her research and experience available to us so we can create these masterpieces in our homes.
Click the picture below to purchase the hard-cover book from Amazon. You’re going to want the hard-cover version. It would also make a beautiful gift for your favorite baker!
OR Click here to purchase the Kindle version.
Click here to purchase Melissa’s first book, The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast: Breads, Pancakes, Waffles, Cinnamon Rolls and Muffins