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'Bourke Street Bakery' Book Review | The Ultimate Baking Companion

Updated on February 11, 2015

I own a lot of recipe books. A lot. In fact, you would probably call me a collector (or hoarder) if you saw just how many I have! And out of all the baking books, this is my absolute favorite.

The 5* rating on Amazon says it all really; this is an excellent choice for keen bakers who want to bake honest food with great taste. The recipes range from basic breads and classic bakes, to more challenging creations and unusual combinations, so you won't get bored as you advance your skills.

The book (well more of a tome really) is big and heavy with a huge 368 pages worth of beautiful color photos, clear instructions and recipes. The book also includes a handy ribbon bookmark.

Most of the pages include a photo, which I find very useful in a recipe book as then I can see what I'm aiming for, and the recipes are precise and detailed so that you too can achieve professional results.

The photographs are definitely a huge selling point of this book because they are absolutely lush! There's one particular double page spread of a pizza which I very much want to just dive into :) Golden browns and pale yellows are the main colors, and the deep shades really project a luxury feel from the book.

My personal favorite recipes are for the sausage rolls; would you believe that out of my entire collection, this is the only book that has sausage roll recipes? That's a great selling point on its own!

Everything is rustic in style but also beautifully presented. No fancy tricks or frills; just delicious food.

About The Book

The authors of the book (Paul Allam and David McGuinness) are also the owners of the Australian 'Bourke Street Bakery', which they started a decade ago.

The focus of this bakery was to produce everything by hand with top-notch ingredients, and over the years the bakery has become extremely popular and has managed to expand to other locations.

Click here to visit the bakery website and learn more.

Content & Recipes

A wide selection of recipes for both savory and sweet baked goods are included in this book, and all sound scrumptious!

The instructions are concise and reliable, and often include a gorgeous glossy photo too. The ingredient lists are provided in both metric and imperial measures, which is very useful and saves me looking up conversion tables.

I don't know about you but before buying a book I love to know examples of what I can find inside, so here are the main contents:

* It begins with information about the book and how it came about. These few pages focus on the start of the bakery on Bourke Street, Sydney, Australia, which the authors of this book set up in 2004, and what the reason was for starting the business.

* The following section is called 'Before You Begin', which has detailed information about ingredients and equipment you will be using.

* Next is a section about breads, which splits into these categories:

- Basics & Techniques: A few pages about techniques such as kneading, scoring and proving.

- Starters: This section talks about the first step in making sourdough at the bakery, which is making a 'starter' from flour and water.

- Sourdough recipes

- Derivative breads: These are breads you can make by adding to the plain sourdough recipes previously provided. Examples include a 'fig and barberry' loaf and 'Mr Potato Head'.

- Yeasted breads: Such as classic baguettes and brioche.

- Olive oil breads: Examples of these breads are panini, flatbreads, grissini and pizza dough.

* The next category is pastries, which splits into these sections:

- Basics & Techniques: Recipes and instructions for the different types of doughs; croissant, sweet & savory shortcrust, puff, sweet and empanada - with some great step-by-step photos for puff and shortcrust recipes.

- Croissants & Danishes: Recipes include pan au chocolat, bear claws and praline twists, and the photos are super mouth-watering!

- Pies & Sausage rolls: Beef pie, chickpea rolls and lamb, harissa & almond sausage rolls to name but a few. Both sweet and savory pie recipes are provided here.

- Tarts: Including goat's cheese & leek, lemon curd, and pear & almond tarts.

* And lastly we have the 'more sweets' category, which is split between 2 categories:

- Cakes & Biscuits: Carrot cake, sponge cake, financiers and macadamia shortbread all make an appearance.

- Desserts: Varieties of meringue and a trifle complete this section.

I would recommend this book for beginners who want to learn about baking processes and build up essential skills, as well as for more experienced bakers who want a variety of recipes to challenge and inspire. It would also make a great gift for any keen baker.

The following selection of books are similar to the Bourke Street Bakery book, in that they are all aimed at people who have a passion for baking, plus they all have great reviews!

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This shows the outside of the book so that you can see how chunky it is in size. And it's all killer, no filler!This photo shows a page about grissini, and you can see the quality of the photos here. This is the layout that is used for the majority of recipes.This is the layout of the step-by-step instructional pages you will find for kneading (as shown here) as well as for different pastries and techniquesA particularly delicious looking double-page spread.
This shows the outside of the book so that you can see how chunky it is in size. And it's all killer, no filler!
This shows the outside of the book so that you can see how chunky it is in size. And it's all killer, no filler!
This photo shows a page about grissini, and you can see the quality of the photos here. This is the layout that is used for the majority of recipes.
This photo shows a page about grissini, and you can see the quality of the photos here. This is the layout that is used for the majority of recipes.
This is the layout of the step-by-step instructional pages you will find for kneading (as shown here) as well as for different pastries and techniques
This is the layout of the step-by-step instructional pages you will find for kneading (as shown here) as well as for different pastries and techniques
A particularly delicious looking double-page spread.
A particularly delicious looking double-page spread.

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