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Perfect your cupcakes and pastries with the best baking cookbooks

River Cottage Handbook 3: Bread

Daniel Stevens, Bloomsbury, £14.99

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A sweet little bread bible, though more of a handy Gideon version than a whopping-great King James version. Daniel Stevens, a young baker at Hugh FW’s chicken sanctuary in Devon, is passionate when it comes to kneady tasks and has set out his plan for baking simple loaves at home in this handsome volume.

It distils many of the more esoteric ideas and methods from other books and bakers into a neat, reassuring guide. The first 70 pages take you through most of the key ingredients and basic techniques you’ll need to bake with, in a smart fog-free manner, aided by Will Webb’s beautiful uncluttered page design.

Lovely intimate photography by Gavin Kingcome gives you a sense of the texture in the dough and manages to capture the action when it’s frantic rather than when it’s over.

Some recipes might be a wee bit heavy and worthy, but there’s a rugged ethos that's invigorating. If you've got the bread itch then this might soothe it.

Dan Lepard, Time Out London Issue 2008: February 12-18 2009

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