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BEARD ON BREAD Hardcover – Sep 12 1973


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (Sept. 12 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394473450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394473451
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 15.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #143,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Breadmaking can be great fun once you know how to do it, but for a novice, it can seem more time and frustration than it's worth. When you're struggling to make that first loaf, James Beard reminds you not to be too hard on yourself. After all, he notes, bread doesn't come out perfect every time, even for the best bakers. Just keep experimenting and you'll eventually get it right.
Beard's reassuring words and sound advice certainly worked for me. I've found his recipes easy-to-follow and the results tasty. Every good food writer has his or her quirks. Other reviewers have commented on Beard's liberal use of butter. I'll warn you that he also has a real affinity for salt (and admits as much in a footnote to his basic white bread recipe). I've noticed that similar recipes in other cookbooks call for half the amount of salt that Beard uses!
In any case, these things are a matter of taste and the recipes are easily adjusted to suit your own. The important thing is that Beard teaches the basics better than anyone.
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Format: Paperback
O.K., the bread produced by your soulless bread machine tastes just fine and you have learned some techniques for disguising it's tell-tale tank shape. But haven't you wondered what it would be like to get you hands in the dough? To change and rearrange things a little for variety every now and then? To smell the yeast as it proofs? To experiment with different flours and additives? To pull dried dough from the hairs on the back of your hand for several hours after a session of bread baking?
Let James Beard lead you through the joys of making real bread with you in command--not according to the programmed instruction of some microchip with less RAM than you had on your desktop in 1982.
Beard's book is an excellent guide to some great breads. He offers a good basic white bread recipe for your first loaf. It is easy and it makes a single loaf. Thus, you get to learn the art of proofing yeast, kneading, and following basic instructions before you invest in exotic flours, herbs, baking pans, etc.
I have especially enjoyed the classic Graham bread and the Maryetta's oatmeal bread recipes. The latter can be easily converted to a raisin bread with a little cinnamon, raisins and granulated sugar rolled into the dough before baking. You can really take these recipes and ad lib a little after you learn what you are doing.
And, the Graham bread: third time's a charm. Just remember that the baking time is additive: ten minutes at 425 degrees then another 30 to 35 minutes at 350. It's not clear from his text and my first batch was a little chewier than I would have liked. But, fully cooked, this bread is a show stopper when company comes. You can begin to appreciated bread as the staff of life with hearty breads like this one.
Try the great yeast-leavened buckwheat pancakes.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
When I read James Beard's introduction to his very short chapter on sourdough breads, I wished I had not bought this book. He writes that in his opinion sourdough bread "is much overrated and is difficult to perfect at home" and that he is "not sure it is worth the trouble". I profoundly disagree. Preparing sourdough is neither too difficult nor too much trouble, and a good sourdough bread such as a French country loave or a German Bauernbrot cannot be overrated! To make things worse the author suggests in his recipe the use of commercial yeast to make the starter, a procedure which most experienced home bakers advise you against. If on the other hand you want some good basic white breads or whole grain breads, you will find interesting and easy to follow recipes. But if your goal is to work on your sourdough techniques - turn to other authors!
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By A Customer on July 16 1997
Format: Paperback
I have quite a few James Beard books. If you like his style, you won't be disappointed with this one-as usual, the instructions on technique and so on are very clearly presented, and the illustrations are attractive. However, you may find some of the recipes overly endowed with fat content (well, this is James Beard after all!) and somewhat biased against some very popular categories of bread, such as sourdough or wholemeal types of breads. For a more comprehensive bread book, I would recommend Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads over this one; and if you're a real beginner when it comes to hand-kneaded (non-bread machine) bread, you can't beat the bread technique section of Julia Child's The Way to Cook. But it's still a book well worth having on your cookbook shelf, together with its sister book, Beard on Pasta (which I would rate a bit higher than this one.
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Format: Paperback
This is the book I refer to when baking for someone who hates whole grain bread (my usual baking). James Beard has some wonderful and unusual recipes. I particularly recommend the saffron and sour cream bread recipes. However the book has some serious flaws. His whole grain recipes lack variety and imagination, and his recipes as a whole tend to the unhealthy - i.e. lots of butter, oil, sour cream, etc. in most recipes. So for someone looking to bake healthy breads, this isn't the book for you. If you want a better book for whole grain baking, try "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book", which does a magnificent job, and doesn't require that you bake white bread first to do a good job with whole wheat.
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