Knead the Book: 'The Italian Baker'

20120213-knead-the-book-italian-baker-book-cover.jpgIt's time for our second Knead the Book, where I bake a lot of bread from one book and share five recipes here. This week's book is a revised version of the classic The Italian Baker by Carol Field. You might have noted that the title is not The Italian Bread Baker. There are some non-bread recipes in here too, but the vast majority of them are for yeast breads.

Before this book, I hadn't really considered how many Italian breads exist. Sure, there's the standard Italian bread loaf we all know and focaccia and pizza, but when's the last time you baked an Italian corn bread?

One slight problem I had with some recipes was hydration. A few of the doughs were dryer than I'm used to. Since I was kneading with the stand mixer, it wasn't a big deal, but hand-kneading might have been more difficult. The dryness may have resulted from my flour since it's a dry winter. Next time, I might add a bit more water.

One huge advantage is the book offers special instructions for using a stand mixer, a food processor, or for hand-kneading for most recipes. Sometimes a particular method isn't recommended, but that's good to know.

Would you like to win your own copy of The Italian Baker? Thanks to the generous folks at Ten Speed Press, we have five (5) copies if this book to give away this week. To enter to win, just leave a comment here telling us what your last Italian meal was.