cover image Evolutions in Bread: Artisan Pan Breads and Dutch-Oven Loaves at Home

Evolutions in Bread: Artisan Pan Breads and Dutch-Oven Loaves at Home

Ken Forkish. Ten Speed, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-1-984860-37-8

Chef Forkish (The Elements of Pizza), founder of Ken’s Artisan Pizza, turns his attention to developing doughs and techniques specifically for pans and Dutch ovens in his magnificent latest. His revised starter, a natural levain, calls for reduced flour, takes only a week to produce, and results in less sourdough discard. Each recipe (many work with or without the levain) is stirred by hand in a container or bowl and yields a single loaf. Forkish takes care to explain why he blends flours—to compensate for varying amounts of gluten, and for deeper flavor—and how he has standardized the process into eight steps, so it will “become automatic after a few times of doing it.” Same-day breads—including black bread made with black rice flour, and raisin-pecan made with a rye and whole-wheat blend—take as little as six hours. His overnight loaves are flavor-enhanced from a rest in the refrigerator, while three days of simple fermentation yield delicious Dutch oven breads like a walnut loaf so good that eating it, Forkish writes, “should make you pause, put down the phone, and just go to that special place in your imagination where unicorns live.” Meanwhile, the apple-cider levain recipe, inspired by Forkish’s Portland, Ore., bakery, promises hearty richness and “chars beautifully on the grill.” This will be a surefire boon for home bread bakers. (Sept.)