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Review Crust by Richard Bertinet

crustPublished by Kyle Cathie

Price £16

  • Step-by-step picture instructions for sourdough
  • Includes recipes for rye, spelt, bagels and brioche
  • Encourages use of unusual flours
  • Comes with DVD
  • Richard Bertinet trained as a baker in Brittany, and now has a cookery school in Bath where people travel to from all over the world.

Crust is a visually appealing book. With glossy step-by-step pictures and a DVD providing extra technical information. You can’t go wrong with this much detail in a book.

In his first book, Dough, Richard wanted to get everyone to enjoy, develop a taste for baking bread. He demonstrated a simple, and new approach to kneading and handling wet dough. Now, with Crust, he moves along baking more complex doughs by de-mystifying the process. It’s a book that encourages experimentation with different and more unusual types of flour with the aim of showing home bakers that these breads are within reach.

It’s true to say that many of the doughs are more complex, however the step-by-step format of the book gives full instructions so it is ideal for both the accomplished novice or the early intermediate who want to take those next steps. The first chapter is dedicated to tools and techniques. This also includes a section on flour from your basic strong white to chestnut, Khorason (Kamut), Chestnut, Buckwheat and the more unusual Red Cabernet grape. So although this book provides traditional recipes it also pushes the boat out.

The complete instructions have step-by-step pictures, and descriptions which is certainly of the most useful aspects of this book and there are plenty of reassuring tips and advice included. To accompany the book there is also a DVD with Richard demonstrating, often in slow motion, techniques in detail as he refers to working the dough rather than kneading it. It is very different to the traditional slap and push technique many bakers use when kneading. Whilst for some people working the dough with your hands rather than a mixer can be just too time consuming, it is in explaining his techniques as he works the reader can get to know, understand and become familiar with the dough as it changes. The camera, helpfully, focuses on the dough, rather than the man, so it’s a useful guide.

In addition to breads such as sourdough, spelt, rye and Bretton bread the book also includes comprehensive recipes and techniques for croissants and its variations, stolen, gingerbread biscuits, Bath buns and bagels. In summary it’s a super overall baking guide with details instruction on Richards unique techniques.

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