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Review of Upper Crust: Homemade Bread the French Way 

If you’re serious about making bread, especially French bread, then this is the book for you.

If you long to make an authentic baguette, pastries, croutons and croque monsieurs, renowned French culinary writer Marie-Laure Fréchet’s detailed instructions will help you achieve success.

An homage to all things bread, at almost 450 pages long, bakers will find all the information they’ll ever need to make sublime loaves, perfect sandwiches, and other dishes that are bread-related like onion soup, socca, the superfood of Nice, and pain perdu.

The first half of the book is a journey through the history and culture of bread. Not just in France but around the world. It also covers ingredients including types of grain and choosing the right water. The basics of bread making are covered from making your own starter (leaven) to learning how to knead properly. It’s crammed with advice, techniques and processes for successful bread making and the equipment you need. There’s a section on serving and storing, decorative finishes, cutting and heaps more. Beautiful photos that are like works of art in themselves liberally illustrate the first half of the book.

Superb bread recipes

At page 200, the recipes start. They are all helpfully labelled for difficulty from beginner to advanced, gluten free etc. They even indicate if the recipes are suitable for those in a rush or have plenty of time on their hands.

The recipes are fabulous, including some from France’s best bakers such as Faluche by Alex Croquet whose bakery in Lille is amongst the best in France and Apollonia Poilâne of the famous Poilâne bakery in Paris whose rustic French bread sandwich recipe will have you drooling. One of my favourites is the Tomme cheese and artisanal yoghurt flamiche by Florent Ladeyn, a former top chef, with restaurants in the north of France including the fabulous Bloempot in Lille.

Every recipe has a gorgeous photo so you know exactly what you want the results to look like. Recipes include all of the greats of France as well as world bread recipe. Japanese milk bread, soda bread from Ireland, Italian focaccia, bagels, tortillas and more.

Quite simply – if you bake bread, this English language book will definitely give you a rise. It’s beautiful, worthy of a coffee table, fascinating and utterly scrumptious – the bible of bread making the French way.

Book jacket ofUpper Crust - Homemade bread the French Way featuring a round loaf Upper Crust: Homemade Bread the French Way, by renowned food writer Marie-Laure Fréchet. Published by Flammarion and available at Amazon, online and high street bookstores (where it can be ordered if it’s not in stock: ISBN 9782081517073).

Recipes from the book

How to make a French baguette

How to make French fougasse bread

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