Although I’ve decided that I like a bit more structure in my breads, I enjoyed Jim Lahey’s My Bread. Remember, this is not my bread, but Jim Lahey’s bread. And it’s his book.
The first chapter describes Lahey’s peregrinations between the world of Italian bakers and Brooklyn, in which he progresses from having no idea what he is doing to producing great bread.
The second is devoted to the infamous pot boule. He covers it very thoroughly, from the exhortation to weigh your ingredients to detailed pictures of what it should look like at every step. I also like that the weights are given in grams. If you have a digital scale, grams are so much easier to deal with.
The third chapter gives recipes for pot boules in different flavors (like wheat or cheese or coconut bread in banana leaf!) and different shapes. After a chapter for pizza and focaccia, we shift into a whole other book of sandwich recipes.
He gives you recipes for making everything from scratch, from pork roast to mustard. All that time you saved by not kneading your bread, don’t you know. Even the ones that seem most out-there look all too tempting.
The book concludes by wisely giving you options for all the extra bread you’re going to generate in your baking frenzy.