Thursday, October 23, 2008

Book Review: The Bread Machine Magic Book of Helpful Hints

I love books. I could spend HOURS in the library. I also love to write papers. So, being the nerd that I am, I've decided to write book reviews of various cookbooks and books that relate to food every month.

My first book review came about when I got a bread machine last year for Christmas. I got a few books out, but I didn't start using my bread machine until recently. I finally found an electric knife, which made it easier to cut thin slices. So, I went back to the library and got all of the those bread books out again and decided to try a few recipes. One book stood out among the rest was The Bread Machine Magic Book of Helpful Hints by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway. I almost didn't get it either, because it wasn't a "recipe book." But boy am I glad that I did! When I got my bread machine, I thought that you just threw some ingredients in and pressed START. But I've learn the hard way there is a lot more to it than that!!!

This book has everything you could want in a bread machine book from common problems to recipes and much much more. The book starts off discussing the various types of bread machines. That chapter also went into detail concerning the features on a typical bread machine. I learn a lot about which buttons do what, which in turn enabled me to make better decisions.

The second chapter is an informative chapter discussing the science behind the baking. My favorite part of that chapter was the Conversion Chart. I now know that 5/8 Cup is really 1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons. I also learned that you mustn't scoop flour; you have to spoon it into the measuring cup and then scrape off the extra with a knife. (Otherwise, you end up with a few extra tablespoons of flour and a smaller loaf!)

Chapter three goes into the different types of ingredients that you add to your bread recipe; like gluten or oats. This chapter was very helpful in teaching me how to add extras that weren't in the original recipe. It also gives an indept look at all the different types of flours that are out there.

The next chapter discusses adjusting the recipes to fit the reader's dietary needs. It even included some recipes. This is a great chapter if you are an "alternative" baker.

Chapter five is what the reader has been waiting for and the reason the book was purchased (or borrowed). Almost every common problem that the reader has had with their loafs from loafs that didn't rise to loafs that had a doughy center is addressed. My favorite part included a formula for converting a non-bread machine recipe into one.

And last but not least, chapter six include quite a few delicious recipes. I tried several of them and I was really impressed. My favorites were Herb Bread and Buckwheat Bread. AMAZINGLY GOOD!

I would highly recommend this book. It is definitely worth the trip to the library or the extra couple of bucks. I'm adding this book to my Christmas Wish List.

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