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Cookbook review: 'Beyond the Basics' offers tips, recipes for using natural yeast baking

"BEYOND THE BASICS WITH NATURAL YEAST," by Melissa Richardson, Front Table Books, $22.99, 170 pages

Melissa Richardson takes the art of baking with natural yeast to the next level in the follow-up “Beyond the Basics with Natural Yeast,” to her first book written with Caleb Warnock, “The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast.”

Natural yeast is often called sourdough starter. Unlike the dry packaged yeast available commercially, it is a liquid yeast sponge that must be "fed" regularly with water and flour.

From aebleskivers, challah and naan to teff crackers, oatmeal cookies and vegan waffles, this book is filled with kitchen-tested recipes that use natural yeast.

Each recipe includes a brief introduction, list of ingredients and easy-to-follow, detailed instructions. Contributions from grand prize-winners of an online contest Richardson hosted while writing the book account for 18 of the recipes.

Illustrated with tempting photos and helpful graphics, the book also has a table of contents, a cooking measure equivalents chart and an index of its 60 recipes. Basic information about creating and caring for a natural yeast start, along with trouble-shooting tips, is included.

Richardson began researching the benefits of baking with natural yeast in 2007 and writes in her book that baking with natural yeast and whole grain flour has since turned into a passion. According to the book, her purpose in writing “Beyond the Basics with Natural Yeast” is to enable the average cook to produce healthful, tasty naturally yeasted breads.

More information about creating a start and baking with natural yeast can be found on Richardson’s blog at thebreadgeek.com.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street in Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.