Giveaway & review: How to Bake by Paul Hollywood

On twitter a few days ago Foodie Bugle commented on how many cookbooks there were out there now and how so many seem to be carbon copies of each other. I admit I can’t resist a good cookbook, but like many things in life you find your favourites and the rest go dusty on the shelf or get donated to a good cause. The eyes of the volunteers at St Giles Hospice bookshop always light up when I turn up with a pile of cookery books.

When I was offered this book to review I did um and ah as to if I really needed yet another baking book in my life. I also wondered if the book would be a bit too basic for me. I hate nothing more than too detailed instructions (as I end up missing out the important detail) and step by step picture instructions as I think it can make a recipe more complicated than it really is. However in How to Bake I’m pleased to say the only step to step photographs are from techniques that would be too difficult to explain with just words. Plus I may have a slight soft spot for fellow blue-eyed northerner – Paul Hollywood.

I really like the photography and styling of the book, quite reminiscent of some of my favourite food blogs. Clean, textured and unfussy. I like cookbooks with pictures of each recipe as when it is a new dish to me at least I know roughly what it is meant to look like when it comes out of the oven.

The cookbook contains 120 recipes with the first half dedicated to breads and yeasted doughs (oh Raspberry Danish I have my eye on you), then the second half cakes and bakes including different pastries. A little bit of all sorts of baking for everyone. It doesn’t go into huge detail about all the different types of baking, like some books do, but enough to give you confidence to bake the best you can. I think complete beginner bakers would find the book a bit too much, but perfect for novice/intermediate bakers.

To test the book out I decided to try the ciabatta recipe, as high-hydration doughs sometimes scare me; then when Hubs spotted the cheese & bacon loaves he wanted to join in with the baking too. Both breads were very successful, some may argue too successful. Now where are the photos of this bread we made? you may ask. Well, um it was so delicious we ate it all before getting a chance to take decent photos. You’ll have to rely on the Facebook evidence of both the ciabatta and cheese & bacon loaves.

I honestly think this cookbook won’t end up in the charity shop bag or under the Christmas tree for an unsuspecting friend. It’s a book I will go back to time and time again to find a baking recipe that is a bit different or remind myself of a basic dough, technique or pastry recipe. To see what else is included in the book you can see an excerpt here.

Bloomsbury have given me one copy of How to Bake to give away. I’m only running the competition for a week so get in quick!

Win copy of How to Bake by Paul Hollywood

To enter:

  1. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter (If you’re reading this via email you will need to click through to blog)
  2. There is one main way to enter the competition and other ways to get bonus entries.
  3. Open to UK entrants aged 18 and over.
  4. Competition closes on 23rd July 2012
  5. Please follow the Rafflecopter instructions and read the terms and conditions below. Entries will be verified. If an entry cannot be verified they will be disqualified.

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