There's no smell as tantalising as that of freshly baked bread. And we've yet to come across anything as comforting as a still warm slice of homemade bread dipped in piping hot soup.
Here at 4Food, we like to drool over pictures of crusty loaves. But it's easy to get stuck in a boring bread rut. White bap anyone?
So we'd like to share with you a few sources of inspiration as we salute those who give us their daily blogs. Amen.
For expert advice
He's a food journalist, award-winning baker and all round bread fanatic. And happily for us all he has a rather scrumptious website filled with his own great recipes. From black olive sesame bread to semolina BBQ buns, Dan's experimented and blogged about them all. But if you don't quite get round to making any yourself, the site is also a great source of information on where to track down top bakers producing the tastiest bread you're likely to get your chops around.
For fuss free bread making
Cathy Warner created the Bread Experience to help other time-short home bakers learn to make the perfect bread. The focus is on time saving and avoiding recipes that require tools or ingredients that most won't already have to hand. The result is a collection of easy to bake recipes with some fabulously cunning short-cuts thrown in. No knead cornbread? We like.
Jen Farnell is a Canadian living in London and, it's fair to say, is a bread obsessive. Jen's passion began after she began baking all her own bread due to her husband's allergy to the preservatives in factory produced loaves. Jennifer likes to experiment and on her blog you'll find details of how to make crumpets to brioche, experiment with gluten-free flour or even bread with seaweed. Visit this blog for inspiration and advice. However, accept our warning. It won't be long before she's turned you into a bread nerd too.
For sneaky short-cuts
Bread Basket Case
Marie Wolf from Minneapolis in the US has been blogging about bread since 2006. Yep, this woman loves her loaves. Marie scours the internet and cook books for interesting recipes you're guaranteed not to have tried before, one of the latest examples being her pear buckwheat bread. But what we love most are her honest appraisals of whether or not they work. It's a common dilemma - thinking we know better than the recipe and weighing up the consequences of deviating from it. Marie does the hard work, and gives details of any modifications needed, so you can skip straight to salivating by the oven door, butter knife in hand.
All Things Bread
William Alexander should just call his blog ‘Pimp My Bread Oven’ and be done with it. William says he became interested in bread at the age of nearly 50 having tried “real” bread for the first time. He’s never looked back. His blog chronicles his own experiments such as an improvised recipe for focaccia bread and also the odd visit to a bread museum – by his own admission; he’s a bread “dweeb”. So dedicated is this man that he even built himself an earthen bread oven in the back garden.
For the finer details
Ever wanted to make a business out of love for the freshly baked loaf? Born out of frustration at never being able to find the right equipment or ingredients in small enough batches, BakeryBits is a small business in Devon, which sells hard-to-get products for the artisan bread baking community. They continue their bread crusade by providing sneaky tips on how to perfect any recipe and make your own ingredients, such as buttermilk. Add lemon juice to full milk if you’re wondering. Not only that, but Bakery Bits is after our own hearts… their partiality to malt loaf centres on that it’s the ideal snack to take on a walk to bridge the gap before reaching the pub. We like your style.
For something fancy
Having a dinner party? Or just want to show off your culinary skills to non-believers? Susan, the woman behind Wild Yeast certainly has an eye for presentation, resulting in some very impressive looking buns and baps. Susan has been baking bread since she treated herself to an artisan bread making class in 2006 and has since graduated from a professional bread and pastry course in the US. Visit the site for simple but impressive recipes and presentation skills inspiration.
For comparing and contrasting
Fresh from the Oven
Fresh from the Oven is an online community of bread baking bloggers, so it’s a useful place to browse if you’re not sure exactly sure what recipe you’re looking for. Monthly bake-offs see the bloggers submit their entries for bread on a given theme, such as bread using local flour or Jewish bread challah. Photographs of each entry will lead you to the recipe from the blogger that submitted it.
The Woman and the Wheat
Jane Meyer always bakes twice as much bread as she needs. She’s on a mission to share her love of the leavened stuff and has made it her duty to bestow the fruits of her labour on neighbours, friends and even passers-by. The Woman and the Wheat chronicles her baking and giving exploits. It’s a heart-warming site with a diverse range of recipes and beautiful photography. Just don’t log on while you’re baking. Explaining to the fire brigade that you got distracted by Meyer’s rosemary buns could be a tad embarrassing.
For fast food
Artisan Bread in Five
They’re authors of a best selling book in America, but you can get their recipes for free from their website and blog. And guess what? It does exactly what it says on the bread tin. Jeff Hertzberg, a physician and pastry chef Zoë François set off in 2007 to start an artisan bread revolution with the aim of simplifying bread making so it could become a daily ritual for even the kitchen-phobic. Most recipes have an emphasis on time-saving. What’s that? Sorry, can’t chat. I’ve got the oven on.
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