Title: Flour Water Salt Yeast
Who Wrote it: Ken Forkish
Published By: Random House
Recipes: 14 artisan dough recipes, several variations/additions based on skill level and taste.
Baking/Cooking Level: Beginner to Advanced, it’s for everyone!
Highlights: Flour, water, salt, and yeast are the only four ingredients necessary for delicious home baked bread. The method or rather, the art of bread baking is what turns four simple ingredients into fantastic bread. Ken Forkish, chef and restaurant owner, was inspired to publish Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza after discovering that nearly all artisan bread books had been written for professionals. Knowing that there had to be a place for artisan bread at home, Ken created an easy-to-follow guide targeted for the home baker. To go from a beginner to expert, Forkish separated his cookbook into four parts: The Principles of Artisan Bread, Basic Bread Recipes, Levain Bread Recipes, and Pizza Recipes.
Flipping through part one of the book, you’ll find detailed accounts of Chef Forkish’s personal journey to artisan bread baking, tips for creating artistic bread and pizza, as well as what tools and ingredients you’ll need. His path to opening a traditional French bakery in the United States will have you inspired to hop on a plane to Portland, Oregon and visit “Ken’s Artisan Bakery,” trust us, we want to!
In part 1 of his book, Ken teaches how to use temperature and time as additional “ingredients” and covers tips and techniques for fermentation, autolyse, mixing, proofing, and finally, baking. His in-depth knowledge of flour, gluten, and enzymes shines through. After reading through his methods and instructions, any beginner will feel prepared and knowledgeable enough to start their bread baking journey!
Parts 2 and 3 focus on artisan bread recipes, either using basic commercial yeast or levain, natural yeast. Ken has written in-depth instructions on how to cultivate natural sourdough starter (known in France as levain), within just five days. His tips and tricks are made are practical for home use, such as feeding your starter once a day and how to store it for days you aren’t baking. In his bakery, the sourdough is fed three times a day and never stored in the refrigerator, but he understands that baking at home is very different. Chef Forkish then provides recipes using the sourdough starter, and practical baking schedules.
Part 4 gets to the really fun part! Once your sourdough starter is established, Chef Forkish explains how to change hydration to be best suited for pizza dough, so you can achieve the very best color and flavor in a conventional oven. He also shares tips of the trade for homemade gourmet pizza!
This cookbook is suited for the novice artisan baker who wants to create beautifully loaves with a golden crust and deep flavor using flour, water, salt, and yeast, at home. A more advanced baker, or someone with an established sourdough starter, will also find helpful information through the sections on pre-ferments using a biga or poolish, and a large variety of recipes.