Legendary Portland baker Ken Forkish (of the watershed Ken's Artisan Bakery and much-loved Ken's Artisan Pizza) has joined the ranks of the lauded letterers with his mammoth new cookbook Water Flour Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza (out September 18th from Ten Speed Press; $35; 272 pages).
Since opening Ken's Artisan Bakery in 2001, Forkish helped set the bar for the now-flourishing community of world-class bread bakers in the Pacific Northwest. In Water Flour Salt Yeast, he aims to bring the spirit and quality of his famous crusty, blistered breads to the passionate home baker using those four titular ingredients.
The key to transforming these humble beginnings into glorious loaves (and slices) is, Forkish explains, using time and temperature as ingredients, utilizing a dutch oven, and getting your hands a bit messy: "Mixing by hand is easier than using a mixer, is fully effective, and teaches you the feel of the dough. People have been mixing dough by hand for thousands of years. If our ancestors did it, we can."
The hefty tome is packed with lush photography, Forkish's stories of his early days in California's artisan baking community and initial attraction to Portland's small, anti-industrial culinary craftsmen, a detailed description of a day in the life of an artisan baker, and (naturally) step-by-step recipes for easy-to-advanced loaves and Neopolitan-style pizzas worthy of worship, each adapted to the tools and techniques found in home kitchens. Happy baking!