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“No Need To Knead” by Suzanne Dunaway

by Fiona Ollerhead20th December 2012

The introduction to 'No Need to Knead' {Grub Street Books}, explaining why we should all bake bread, will be interesting and relevant to any busy, forgetful and-or multi-tasking cook. Suzanne Dunaway's story is convincing enough to encourage the reader to believe in her and follow the author on a journey of discovery.

An acclaimed professional baker, owner of the Buona Forchetta bakery in Los Angeles and winner of a James Beard Excellence Award, Suzanne Dunaway breaks all of the rules of traditional bread making. She explains how surface area, wet dough and less kneading can help the baker to achieve the 'perfectly moist and chewy inside' and 'deliciously crusty' bread that the busy cook has always dreamed of. And all of this can be achieved in less than 90 minutes 'from start to hot out of the oven'. The book goes on to suggest tools, ingredients, tips and terms to aid the newly inspired baker.

The recipes range from daily breads, pizzas and leftovers to breads for children. Whilst these are useful to add to your recipe collection it was a little disappointing to discover that none of these in fact meet one of the main objectives of the book, which is to make fresh bread in under 90 minutes.

Despite interesting text, diagrams and drawings, what the book really lacks are photographs which would enhance the appeal of the recipes and make the reader want to attempt them with more enthusiasm. There are also many non-bread recipes, which are noteworthy, but their addition somewhat dilutes the number of bread recipes one would expect to be contained within a bread and baking centred book.

There is one key recipe in the book, 'Focaccia - Basic dough for loaves, flat breads, crisp breads, little rolls ( focacette), fougasse, 'hamburger buns', breadsticks and more', which is a fundamental step in the journey to good handmade bread. This section is rather confusing in its layout but does afford the reader a way to achieve one of these 'perfect' breads in less than 90 minutes, with 'no need to knead.'

I tried two of these recipes and both of them not only worked but were remarkable creations of lightness and crispness. My pepper and rosemary breadsticks were rather less successful which led me to question whether all of the recipes have been fully tested, but, once I had created the perfect loaf all was forgiven. Finally in my life I now have a fool proof way to bake delicious fresh bread quickly by using this key recipe in different ways. I like this new approach to experimental cooking, and it works.

Further Information

Suzanne Dunaway: www.suzannedunaway.com

Grub Street: www.grubstreet.co.uk

Follow on Twitter: @grub_street

About the Author

Fiona Ollerhead

Fiona Ollerhead is the founder of The Pantry Partnership, a social enterprise that gets food and equipment to those in need, bringing communities together. She was awarded a Diploma from The Ashburton Cookery School, and is a keen cook. You can find out more about Fiona's work at her website http://www.thepantrypartnership.org/ and follow her on Twitter: @PantryPartner.

 
 

"No Need To Knead" by Suzanne Dunaway is published by Grub Street and was awarded a James Beard Award for Excellence.