Simply Great Breads: Sweet and Savory Yeasted Treats from America's Premier Artisan Baker
by Daniel Leader with Lauren Chattman
If bread is the staff of life, then this book by renowned artisanal baker Daniel Leader is every home baker’s must-have cookbook. Featuring an amazing array of incredible delicacies made with yeast, it’s the perfect combination of easy and sophisticated recipes, with the keys to unlocking basics of working with yeasted doughs. Who can resist a collection of 50 mouthwatering treats, essential recipes for everyone who loves bread? The menu includes must-bake breakfast classics like crumpets and English muffins, and the three irresistible Bs: bagels, brioche, and bialys … timeless favorites such as Parker House rolls, ciabatta, and challah … plus waffles, cider doughnuts, beignets, babka, and monkey bread. Bakers of all skill levels will learn tips and trade secrets from Leader, who has shared his vast knowledge with people around the world.
I love baking fresh bread by hand.
The author, Daniel Leader is as enthused about bread baking as I am, and the introduction is wonderful. He discusses the necessity of using the best ingredients and using recipes that allow the grain you're baking with to take center stage rather than using a lot of fats and flavors that mask the characteristics of the grain you're using. It also explains a bit about the science part of bread making and about artisan doughs.He lists different ingredients and their attributes like cornmeal which is used both as a release and as a nice bit of texture to things like English muffins.
The recipes are a mix of savory and sweet. They are yeast breads, he suggests using a dough hook in a stand mixer, but they can all be done by hand as well. The recipes and the photos are just gorgeous. This is one of the prettiest bread baking books I've ever seen. The recipes are drool worthy and inspiring. All yeasted, even things like pancakes that aren't generally made with yeast. The author also came up with what has to be my favorite crumpet recipe ever.
The variety of methods and types of yeasted breads is just wonderful, 28 recipes total with extra variations for some of them to increase the range. Not a beginning bread baking book, and some of his adaptations are different from the originals, he's a yeast bread enthusiast and that's reflected in these recipes. The recipes are great though, and generally I don't follow bread recipes.
(amazon.com - Shala Kerrigan, Anchorage)