Friday, 24 September 2010

Bourke Street Bakery - The Ultimate Baking Companion

The Ultimate Baking Companion
Paul Allam and David McGuinness
paperback, 368 pages

Australia's famous Bourke Street Bakery, that little shop with the big reputation and equally long line-ups, has come out with a paperback version of their highly acclaimed baking companion.
Filled with full-page colour photos of the most exquisite baking porn, you will just want to climb inside the pages and cuddle up between the breads and pastries, dreaming happy, floury dreams.
The authors start you off with an introduction to ingredients, equipment and technique, and then go into the breads. The breads each have a master recipe; and many of them have subsequent variations that you can make from that particular dough. They include sourdoughs, derivative breads, yeasted breads and olive oil breads. Then the book gets into pastry, including croissants, danish, pies and sausage rolls, before ending with desserts.
I tried out two of the master recipes, and divided each into two for a total of four different, delicious breads.

 From the Olive Oil Dough, with the optional pre-ferment, I made this Rosemary and Olive Flatbread...

And these yummy Panini.
They were both very straight-forward and fairly simple to make, with delicious results.

And with the Croissant Dough, with pre-ferment and overnight retarding, I made these classic Croissants...

And these delicious and flaky Bear Claws. I had actually never had a bear claw before - they are so yummy! Although in retrospect I suppose I should have made only a few cuts in the dough as my pastries look less like bear claws and more like the little ghosts from Pac Man.

The Bourke Street Bakery baking companion is definitely a book that belongs on every avid baker's shelf. I would say it is not for absolute beginners, the breads are mostly artisan loaves and some familiarity with bread baking would be an asset with this book. The dry measurements are given in grams, ounces, and volume and the liquid is given in fluid ounces and milliliters. The recipes also call for fresh yeast, but there is a conversion key in the beginning of the book for people using dry.

Some of the recipes on my Must Make Soon list include:
Apple, Yoghurt, Rye and Cinnamon Loaf
Mr. Potato Bread
Grape Schiacciata
Chorizo and Thyme Rolls
Sweet Potato, Chicken, and Lime Pickle Pies
Lamb, Harissa, and Almond Sausage Rolls
Goat's Cheese and Leek Tarts
Vanilla Brûlée Tarts with Strawberry Purée
Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins
And the Chocolate Prune Brownies

As this book has two authors, a bread baker and a pastry chef - it is bound to satisfy both sweet and savoury bakers alike.