“How to Raise A Loaf” by Roly Allen set out to teach the novice sourdough baker the principles behind the bread. I have recently taken to baking bread, having found I enjoyed it, and decided to investigate expanding into sourdough. This book seemed ideal!

It is detailed in it’s explanation of the science behind bread and highlights the finicky nature of sourdough. It also includes the key elements around general bread baking. There are step-by-step how-tos with clear photos making it easy to follow and understand. At the moment, under level 4 lockdown in South Africa, I don’t have access to the ingredients needed to try these recipes out sadly but have already picked up several general tips which I will be implementing in my bread baking. There is certainly a lot of expertise included in this book.

Whilst Roly intends his book to encourage the newcomer to try out making sourdough bread, I found the detail overwhelming and concerning, I don’t think I’ll be rushing into this. It sounds like it can wrong too easily and requires quite a bit of equipment. It is a four out of five on the enJOYment scale.

From the back cover:

A new generation is discovering the chewy texture and rich flavor of real bread, and sourdough is one of the biggest stories in food. You don’t need to be an expert baker to make your own sourdough at home; though once you’re hooked, and want to get fancy, the book will tell you what lames, bannetons, brushes and stones to invest in. The book makes the key techniques of traditional baking easy to understand, with step-by-step photo instructions and a simple overview of the magical processes that turn wild yeasts into a living baker’s starter, and a bowl of flour into a glowing crusty loaf.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Laurence King Publishing Ltd through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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