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Sourdough Cookbook for Beginners

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Member Reviews

I have been wanting to make a sourdough starter for ever!!  As soon as I got this book, I got started!  I have loved, loved, loved learning about and making several loaves of sourdough!!!
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I love how this cookbook starts off by taking you through the general process of making sourdough before giving recipe variations. All of then look very yummy! Would have just liked more pictures.
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Very detailed cookbook however I believe these recipes are for intermediate bakers getting into sourdough for the first time. I would recommend adding more pictures as reference and also providing calories and options for those with special diets.
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This looks like a great sourdough cookbook with a variety of recipes.  However, I am still intimidated by the sourdough starter.  I would have liked the recipes to have alternatives to the sourdough starter for the true novice.  Still pretty complicated if your reserve a third of the book on background before baking.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to review. This book made me hungry, which is exactly what a cookbook should do. It made me feel empowered to make my own sourdough, like it isn't as hard as people sometimes make it out to be. The pictures were lovely, though I would have appreciated some process pictures when you're describing steps. This is one of the things that helps a book compete with the internet for actually learning how to cook things.
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This is the BEST beginner sourdough book I have found. It uses easy to obtain ingredients and outlines the instructions in a step-by-step manner. I tried the oat porridge recipe and the cinnamon raisin recipe with great results. My husband actually requested the cinnamon raisin loaf become a weekly tradition. I've been baking sourdough for over a year now, using mostly online recipes and advice. This book would have saved me a lot of troubleshooting and searching for easy recipes.
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Just like so many others, sourdough has become a household hobby during quarantine for us. While we have most of the basics down, there is SO much fine tuning involved to get it just right. This book really helps with both the basics and the fine tuning. I really appreciated all the pictures and detail. I also appreciated the parts where it includes recipes for what to do with that leftover starter. Would definitely recommend.
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One reason I dive into books is to learn something new, either subject matter or a discovery about myself. “Sourdough Cookbook for Beginners” does exactly that. With the current trends and fad going around this quarantine, I have certainly seen an uptick in people growing their starters and experimenting with different recipes with their starters. This book is exceptional in breaking down the how and why of sourdough while also taking out the sense for foreboding one may have in creating their starter. I am incredibly excited to start my starter and try out these recipes - hopefully this will mean no more store bought bread!
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”Making love is like making bread.
The housekeeping of it takes me in.”
Bread -- Judith Kumin

I used to make bread fairly frequently, for a while I made a loaf every day which my second oldest would eat as often as I made it, which was pretty much every day after I was gifted a bread making machine. I still prefer making bread by hand and baking it in an oven, but it may be a while before I can really knead dough, so hopefully my mixer can help. But I will at least attempt it once my starter has aged enough to use it – which should be soon.

So when I saw this book, it reminded me, once again, of how much I enjoyed making bread, so I decided to give it a try, and so far, so good. The starter needs a couple more days of adding to it before I can think of making bread – which is good because it’s too hot and humid outside to turn on the oven for long, but I’m looking forward to breaking bread again.

There are more recipes in here for more than basic sourdough, but that’s probably enough for me, since a basic sourdough recipe is what drew my attention to this book. The photographs included are fairly step-by-step, including what your starter should look like, but there’s a fairly large variety of recipes once you have a starter for things like biscuits, porridge, crepes, pasta, and variations on sourdough loafs, as well. Photographs showing how to track your sourdough starter with photographs showing the different stages of development are especially helpful. Additionally, there are the tips along the way like the following:

In general, shorter ferments tend to result in less sour bread, and longer ferments result in more sour bread. Of course other ingredients and ambient temperature also play a role in fermentation and flavor.

The author, Eric Rusch, is also the man behind Breadtopia for those fans who already know of him. Born in San Francisco, he says he virtually cut his teeth on sourdough French bread, and this book clearly he knows his stuff.

Published: 11 Aug 2020

Many thanks for the ARC provided by Callisto Media / Rockridge Press
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**I received an e-ARC from NetGalley for an honest review**

The variety of recipes means that you'll never be short of interesting flavors. Brioche has always been a household favorite, and now it's one less pre-made thing I have to buy from the store. The guide with more recipes for leftover starters means less waste, which is always something that I'm aiming for.

The "Turmeric Fennel Pan Loaf", "New York Deli Rye Pan Bread" and the "Cheddar Thyme" are all going to be on constant rotation in my house!

The troubleshooting guide is great- it helped me fix at least two problems that I've had in the past, and now I know how to fix them in the future.

I do wish there were more photos, mostly because I've rarely worked with sourdough and it would be nice to compare my results to the author's results.
Overall, if I could, I would give this 4.5/5 stars!
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Thank you to Callisto Media and NetGalley for this copy of Sourdough Cookbook for Beginners by Melissa Johnson and Eric Rusch, it published August 11, 2020
This is a wonderful cookbook. I am a sourdough beginner and I just love the way that this cookbook is set up. It’s very user-friendly, the pictures are beautiful, and the recipes sound so delicious! I cannot wait to test these out! I highly recommend this book and think it would make a great gift for anyone interested in sourdough.
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Sourdough Cookbook for Beginners by Eric Rusch and Melissa Johnson was packed full of amazing, true sourdough recipes. 

While I disagree with a few of the methods at the beginning, the overall book was fantastic! First of all, the e-book version is interactive. So, you can take notes, make observations, etc. Most books similar to this only contain artisan style sourdough loaves. I was so excited to see a ton of recipes for pan loaves, discard recipes, pastries, and specialty breads. Along with that, often when you find breads in those categories even though they are called “sourdough” they still call for other risers. It drives me crazy. That I saw, none of these recipes contained additional risers! I also enjoyed the more extensive ways of how you can preserve and activate starter. That is a huge bonus when learning how to make sourdough and wanting to take breaks. 

I highly recommend this book to beginner and intermediate sourdough bakers. 

I received an advanced reader copy from Callisto Media through NetGalley. All opinions are 100% my own.
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This is a great sourdough cookbook.  As a beginner sourdough baker, I was impressed by the history, descriptions and recipes.  I would highly recommend!
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Sourdough Cookbook for Beginners is a tutorial guide and recipe collection introduction to fermented breads at home. Released 11th Aug 2020 by Callisto on their Rockridge Press imprint, it's 206 pages (for the ebook version) in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

Given that a significant proportion of the world has been locked down for months and baking so much bread that there's a significant yeast shortage, this book has been both timely and satisfying on a soul deep level. (Look ma, DIY bread without yeast!). I've wanted to learn how to make sourdough starter at home for years, and never managed to carve out the time to do it.

I found this book inspiring and creative, reassuring ,and honestly fun. The author has such an enthusiastic and "you-can-do-it" attitude that I really think anyone can succeed with the process of creating a starter and making good bread. I imagine he would be a very capable teacher.

The introduction includes a capsule list of tools and ingredients necessary. The first section includes tutorials for making a starter, keeping it alive, mixing, shaping, and proofing dough through the final baking. The second section contains a dizzying array of artisanal recipes for breads and treats both savory and sweet.

Each of the recipes includes an introductory description, ingredients listed in a bullet point sidebar (most of the flours are given by weight, in grams), and step by step instructions. There is no nutritional info provided. The breads are photographed very well and clearly. Serving suggestions are attractive and appropriate.

The recipe ingredients themselves are mostly fairly easily sourced and will be available at well stocked grocery stores like wholefoods.
The book also includes a solid glossary and links lists for further reading.

Five stars. I can't imagine anyone needing more from a sourdough tutorial cookbook; this one's definitive in my estimation.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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