Bread Ahead’s latest book may be pitched at home bakers, but there’s plenty within its pages for aspiring pastry chefs to learn from. Matthew Jones - who founded Bread Ahead in Borough Market in 2013 - is an expert baker but also an expert teacher, having now opened five bakery schools across London.
This experience is evident throughout the book. The opening few pages contain some very useful general notes on techniques and ingredients and each recipe contains an unusual level of detail within the method as well as a useful run down of the key attributes each finished item should have.
Jones has gone for quality over quantity, with each of the 90 recipes given plenty of room to breathe with step-by-step pictures where necessary. He doesn’t shy away from more complex and time consuming preparations either, with sections on laminated pastry and enriched dough and many of the recipes designed to be completed over a few days as they would be in a professional environment. Highlights include Bread Ahead’s famed potato and rosemary sourdough, milk buns and steamed puddings made with homemade marmalade.
An entire chapter is devoted to the bakery brand’s famed doughnuts, with recipes given for basic doughnuts as well as the fillings, which include Eton Mess, spiced pumpkin and pistachio custard.
There’s a pleasingly timelessness to Bread Ahead and its cookbooks - The Expert Home Baker follows the success of Bread Ahead’s debut Baking School - with Jones making it clear at the start that he’s not one for fads or gimmicks just “good honest bakes”.
Hardie Grant, £26