Holiday Gifts Part 5 - Bread Baking

There's nothing like a good piece of bread. I'm a total breadaholic. Forget those low-carb, no carb diets. I need my bread. I rate restaurants on whether they give bread or rolls before your meal. The better the bread, the more likely I'll be back. I know it can't be all that healthy, but I can't help myself. Because I can't get enough, I've tried lately to incorporate more whole grains into my obsession, to maybe balance out the carb overload. But healthy, whole grain bread, and other artisan styles are expensive, so why not take matters into your own hands and bake up a loaf at home? With some of the new bread baking books that have come out this year, it's easier than ever. With techniques that require no kneading to methods that only take a few minutes a day, we can all enjoy our carbs at home for less!

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
By Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois
ISBN: 9780312545529
List Price: $27.99
Format: Hardcover
Published by St. Martin’s Press in Oct 2009

What do you get when you combine a doctor and a pastry chef? A simple technique for amazing bread that you can make at home in less time than it would take you to drive to the grocery store or bakery to buy a loaf. As the authors of Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day, Hertzberg and Francois showed us how easy it was to make enough dough once a week to bake bread every day. In Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, they’re at it again, showing us how to incorporate whole grains into our daily diet. Just mix up a master recipe of dough, store it in the fridge, and pull off a bit each day to bake yourself and your family a loaf of fresh bread! It’s so easy!

Bread Matters
By Andrew Whitley
ISBN: 9780740773730
List Price: $34.99
Format: Hardcover
Published by Andrews McNeel Publishing in Sept 2009

With the rate of food allergies related to gluten growing at an alarming rate, could the way our breads are produced be part of the problem? Andrew Whitley seems to think so. With so many of our store bought breads being made with a multitude of preservatives and enzymes, Whitley wants to bring bread making back to its healthier roots. While written with Britain and Europe in mind, the state of modern baking and the processes used are found worldwide, and a good portion of the book is dedicated to presenting why these processes, and why more traditional processes really matter. There are recipes throughout too, and even a whole section on gluten free baking. And the pictures? While there are only a few featured, they’re so beautiful they’re worthy of frames.

My Bread
By Jim Lahey
ISBN: 9780393066302
List Price: $29.95
Format: Hardcover
Published by WW Norton in Oct 2009

It’s a good thing I had eaten dinner before I started looking through this book. If I had been even the least bit hungry, it would have been torture. Everything in this book looks amazing. It’s no wonder it was picked as a Cookbook Club Selection by Gourmet magazine. My Bread is a delicious book full of beautiful photos and an amazingly simple technique—slow rise fermentation. That means there’s no kneading involved. You mix your ingredients, place your bread in a pot, allowing it to ferment and rise overnight, then place the pot right into the oven and bake! How simple is that? To make things even simpler, there’s even illustrated techniques for a lot of the recipes—step by step pictures from mixing to slicing, so you can’t go wrong! And what do you do with all that bread you’ve baked up so easily? With a whole section of recipes for sandwiches, you’ll be baking up 2 to 3 loaves a week! But what if you didn’t use up all your bread and now it’s gone stale? There’s even a section on what to do with stale bread, so you have no excuse not to start baking your very own loaves.

Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Everyday
By Peter Reinhart
ISBN: 9781580089982
List Price: $30.00
Format: Hardcover
Published by Ten Speed Press in Oct 2009

Written by renowned baker Peter Reinhart, Artisan Bread Everyday is a collection of beautiful breads, both savory and dessert to bring to your table each day. With step-by-step photo instructions, you can’t go wrong! You’ll be making everything from sandwich bread to bagels to sticky buns and crumb cake in no time. Well, maybe just a little bit of time. After all, the recipe for Chocolate Cinnamon Babka is 7 pages long. But the braided version of it? Absolutely show stopping. And how about some Stollen for Christmas?

Reinhart has a whole collection of beautiful bread books. Check out these other great titles!

Tassajara Bread Book
By Edward Espe Brown
ISBN: 9781590307045
List Price: $24.95
Format: Hardcover
Published by Shamabhala Publishing in Aug 2009

Originally written by Zen priest Edward Espe Brown at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California in 1970, the Tassajara Bread Book has been one of the major players in the rise in popularity of artisanal baking in the United States. It’s hard to believe that this book has been around for almost 40 years now, but looking through it, I can see why it's been printed and reprinted over and over again. It’s packed with recipes— filled with breads, breakfast, muffins, desserts, and even compound butters to serve on your bread, the table of contents is five and a half pages long. And there’s little else in the book besides recipes. It’s very true to its Zen background. It’s simplistic. It gets straight to the point without a lot of extra and all the illustrations in the book are hand drawn. You can almost feel the meditative calm emanating from the pages.
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sarahe said...

i am the same way about bread--and so is my husband! we used to live really close to a walmart and he would drive over and buy a loaf of the warm french bread and eat the whole thing for a snack!

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

lol I haven't gotten that far in my obsession yet, but I regularly gorge myself on rolls at restaurants and then box up 85% of my meal to take home because I'm full on bread. But I only ask for a box after I ask for another batch of rolls for the table, so I can take some of those home too!

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