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The River Cottage Bread Handbook

(River Cottage Handbooks #3)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  753 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The River Cottage farm, established by British food personality Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to promote high-quality, local, and sustainable food, has inspired a television series, restaurants and classes, and a hit series of books. In this new addition to the award-winning collection, River Cottage baking instructor Daniel Stevens shares his irrepressible enthusiasm and kn ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Ten Speed Press (first published February 16th 2009)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  753 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I never thought I'd use the phrase "couldn't put it down" in regards to a cookbook, but I just did. ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While I have a lot of books on baking bread, none is as charming as this little gem. As with the other books in the River Cottage series, this is an engaging work that has many really practical and useful tips in it as well as some inspiring recipes. This books bread recipes are unique that they offer variables in the uses of the recipes to offer variety for the weekly baker. I want to own this.
Hal Lowen
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Marking as "finished" for now - it's a library book and I'm not sure they'd appreciate it coming back sticky with dough and covered in flour. I've not tried the recipes in it yet, I'm going to buy it before I do, but found immense value in the rest of the book. It's written in a very warm and caring way which is really really nice to read and packed with a lot of things I never considered (who knew linen was good for bread)! ...more
Susanne Porter
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent introduction to making your own bread. Enough sciencey stuff for the home cook to grab onto without feeling overwhelmed. Lots of clearly written recipes, the photography is simple but lovely and the River Cottage slow living philosophy flows through each page. Most importantly, every bread I have made from this book (so far about half) have been perfect tasting. YUM!
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
This is an excellent handbook for the beginning or intermediate bread baker. Has wonderful tips and explanations and techniques and dives into the world of wild yeast. I'll keep this with me from now until forever!! Wonderful reference. ...more
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A lovely handbook on bread. Looking forward to testing out the ratios and recipes.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’ve recently got into bread making and this was recommended. Very useful and easy to understand book.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I want to own this book. Might spark flour conversations with fellow bread enthusiasts!
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
The River Cottage Bread Handbook is aptly named. It offers a quick, entertaining delivery of useful information on the essentials of bread making which has become a favorite pastime of mine.

As a reference book, it's not as wordy or philosophical like Peter Reinhart's, Brother Juniper's Bread book, one of my all-time favorites - but its not meant to be. It is a resource to be perused over and over again. It is not as detailed as Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread, and it doesn't need to be. That makes it
Mara Shaw
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
The first 76 pages of the book are solely about exactly how to make your bread perfect every time with loads of very useful pictures. It changed the way I make bread and I appreciated the thoroughness of the presentation.

Of all of his great take-away tips, my favourite is using a big (clean) trash (rubbish) bag to cover the rising dough instead of clingfilm (Saran Wrap) which must be thrown away every time. The bags can be reused multiple times and don't get stuck like tea towels. (Note: I have
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book serves as a brilliant history of bread and its creation. I used to work in a bakery so I was really interested in learning anything I could about baking. Do you know what the Chorleywood process is? What the real differences are between mass produced and home made bread are? What's great about the River Cottage book is that it speaks plainly and teaches old techniques and tips and tricks. Although I don't have access to proving baskets, baking stones or a 'peel', I know to use a black ...more
Aug 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cook-sew-etc
There’s some interesting description of technique to making bread. Though it doesn’t say it explicitly, the bread seems more like artisan-style bread, rather than run-of-the-mill white loaves. I like that the author was somewhat thorough in describing how the bread dough should look and feel. There’s a variety of recipes and I especially want to try the sourdough. I’ll probably hold on to this book to try out a couple of the recipes, but I’m not sure it’s something that I feel like I need to own ...more
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: bread, cookbooks
This is a handy book, easy to hold; that is, it's not a coffee-table book so it's more convenient to move around the kitchen. It has a sourdough section which hasn't taught me anything I didn't know (yet) but would be good for a beginner. (It's just that I'm a Tartine Bread disciple.) And it's got lots of tempting recipes and a good section on Buns, Biscuits and Batter Breads which has recipes for crackers, blinis, doughnuts, crumpets. So it's versatile and I'm glad I have it. ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Compact, witty and utilitarian, Daniel Stevens is one of the worlds great communicators teaching the basics of this skill in a manner that gives confidence to the novice. This is a cracking read; you'll never go back to commercial bread again.

He proves (forgive the pun) that bread making need not be highly technical or take long. Runny dough? No worries, if you've really got a cock up on your hands get a handful of pasta dura flour and turn it out into soft fluffy ciabattas. His descriptions of
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbooks
This is a nice book in some ways. I loved the tone of the introduction, some of the information, and the range of recipes offered. Then I tried 2 recipes this weekend. I have been baking bread for a couple of years now, and I was a little suspicious of the proportions suggested. Sure enough, these recipes call for way too little liquid and way too much salt, resulting in tough, unpalatable breads.

I think it might be all right if you upped the liquid proportion appropriately and cut the salt in
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
One a series of mini books ( in dimension, not content ) by people who have connections with River Cottage, mainly as demonstrators and guest chefs on their training courses.
For anyone who wants to get into baking for the first time or who wants to extend from the basic loaf to something less mundane, this is it. There's also probably something new for experienced bakers too!
Reasonable price, pocket size so you'd find room in the corner of your kitchen, ticks all the boxes.
As all in this series,
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did a basic bread making course which I enjoyed, brought this book, followed the recipe using steam to make the bread - bread didn't turn out well. Recipe for sour dough starter has too large quantities and recommends throwing half away when 'feeding' it - how wasteful.

I then did an artisan bread making course and got proper instructions for making sour dough starter and sour dough. Other bread making books i have read are far easier to understand than this one. Rather disappointing as i like wa
Country Goose
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book has excellent information. As an amateur bread maker, I have read a lot on the basics of bread making, and this book has turned into my bible of bread making. I carry it around my house, reading it when I am not otherwise occupied by my farm/family. The author has an entertaining sense of humor to help grasp the concept of "why" we make certain decisions in the bread making processes. "As there are several billion cells of grain, this is a reproduction rate of which rabbits could only ...more
Mar 24, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking
Oh darn it, they despatched this immediately to my works address, which means it will be sat, tantalizingly, in my in tray until I am back on Friday. I took some time off as I’ve got the builders in. Well, it’s not as if I could be baking in all the mess but at least I could be reading about it.

Finally got my hands on the book and promptly dropped my kitchen scales. Never mind, good excuse to buy the scales, in the shape of a book, that I have had my eye on.

Michelle Marie
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
FINALLY!! I have read a lot a of bread books but this one finally helped me understand the formula for making a good loaf. I can't just follow any recipe to the T. I need room to breathe and make it my own. But you can't do that with bread... or so I thought. This book gave me the basics and what my options were to change it using my kind of lingo eg. "a slug of fat/oil" ... yeah that's how I roll! ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been interested in making my own bread for some time and finally decided to give it a go after reading this book. The first 70 pages or so talk about the science behind bread and demystified the process for me.

I made a few batches and am now hooked! I don't think I will totally replace store-bought bread but this is a yummy alternative. The recipes are very good and well laid out. I highly recommend this book!
John Burns
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
This book has certainly improved my bread making a lot. It walks you through the bread making process in great detail and explains why and how you do each part.

I'd strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in bread making, but mainly as an eye-opener. In terms of the recipes, the reference element of the book, i wasn't so bothered. Definitely borrow it, but it may or may not be worth actually owning a copy.
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great recipes and detailed explanations. I particularly found the section on sourdough starters very informative.
The Lotus Eater
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm up to my elbows in whole wheat flour and I like it! The River Cottage Bread Handbook is comprehensive and elegantly presented. I adore anything by the team and I can't wait to try out Hugh's veg book:) ...more
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book as it keeps it simple, I have the US version of the book and found it very easy to follow so I will be buying the UK version soon which will join the rest of my River Cottage Handbook collection 100 out of 100
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - so simple, and straightforward. It helped demystify the whole back a loaf of bread myself....

Absolutely a must if you're thinking of baking bread at home.

Another one for my to buy list!
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For years I tried bread and failed....followed Paul Hollywood recipes to a tee...failed! This book changed it all!! I now bake amazing bread and its 100% down to this book. Its not only recipes, but a lesson in the science of bread! I strongly recommend
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Okay, so I didn't read the whole thing closely... but my guy did, and he's been baking awesome bread almost every weekend. ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookin
lovely, just lovely, not comprehensive but certainly filled with great images, good basic recipes, another stunner from river cottage
Harry Rutherford
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
This seems like a good, clear, thorough practical guide to making bread. I have to admit I haven’t tested it thoroughly, though; I like the idea of making bread more than the reality of it.
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