Artisan Pan Breads and Dutch-Oven Loaves at Home 

Reviewed By Naomi Bussin


The Scoop 

As we learn to live in our post-pandemic reality, many of us are considering the future. If we let go of anything, do we want it back? How do we want to spend our time? During lockdown, flour and yeast were scarce, but time was unlimited, and baking bread became a thing. Now we have plenty of ingredients but less time, so will we continue to bake bread? If you’re thinking yes, Evolutions in Bread by Ken Forkish is perfect for you.  

I’m a big fan of Forkish’s earlier book, Flour Water Salt Yeast but it took a pandemic for me to use it and it is complex. Evolutions in Bread has some key differences. Most recipes can be proofed and baked in the same loaf pan rather than proofed in one vessel and baked in a dutch oven. This results in fewer dishes and bread that is easier to slice. Sourdough starter is optional, used for flavour, not leavening. If you do maintain a starter, Forkish has developed a method that uses less flour. You can bake the bread on the same day you mix it, or not.  

Deliciousness Meter 

Traditional sourdough breads do not use yeast as a leavening agent. Sourdough bread has great flavour, with soft insides encased in a crunchy chewy crust. The long ferment and proof time for the dough increases the digestibility and health benefits. 

With this new book, I can get similar results with less effort and waste. There are recipes for classic sourdough, and I still love that. But many of the recipes use both sourdough starter with yeast, and can be made with a long rise, retaining many of the flavour and health benefits. 

There is white bread, whole grain bread and mixes of different kinds. The multigrain bread has become a staple for me, I love the chew of the grains and I have customized the mix. I have made many different recipes using a variety of flours, each with unique flavours. Lower gluten flours such as spelt, einkorn and rye are delicious but benefit from the yeast and the structure of the loaf pan. 

Ease of use 

Keeping it real – bread baking takes some time and some work. You need to pay attention to the details.  But using a cost-benefit analysis, this book is the best that I have found.  No mixer is required, just your two hands. If you follow the clear directions (words and pictures) the results will be very good.  And it will be less work than classic sourdough. Plus, loaves baked in a loaf pan are much easier to slice, for toast or sandwiches.


Not super exciting, but relatively easy to navigate.  Lots of text but layout is as clear as it likely can be. 

Who will like this book? 

If you are a bread-head and are willing to read the fine print, this is a great book for you. Good for novices and experts alike.  

Rating – 4.5/5 

Naomi Bussin is a lawyer, mother of three and an  accomplished cook. Food is her favourite subject and she reads  cookbooks in her spare time.