MICHELLE ESHKERI, ALLEN & UNWIN, H/B, $49.99
Founder of North London bakery Margot, Michelle Eshkeri may be revealing trade secrets in this, her first book, but I doubt that bothers her. It only increases the sense of wonder: how does she turn out such excellent bread, day after day? There’s stacks of trial and error behind it, which is part of the beauty of the book: Eshkeri invites you to experience the joy and occasionally, despair, at experimenting with, at its most basic level, flour, water, salt.
Eshkeri’s tone is no-nonsense but never snooty; a calm emanates from the pages (aided by the muted colours and simple typeface) that makes one want to hide away with an apron, a cup of coffee and hours to play with. As well as a range of sourdough breads, savoury and sweet pastries and even sourdough brownie, there are some recipes that those with more immediate needs can dig into with the help of baking agents. Eshkeri’s family background and North London community shines through in the many Jewish recipes (enriched with generous introductions), including challah, Yemeni pancakes, and a spelt honey cake for Rosh Hashanah that glows like a beacon against its grey background. AKS