Bread Bible Hardcover – Sep 30 2003
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Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible introduced readers to a newly illuminating baking-book approach--a precisely detailed yet accessible recipe format emphasizing baking science. The Bread Bible follows the same plan, offering 150 recipes, arranged by type, for a great variety of baked goods--from muffins, popovers, and English muffins to sandwich loaves, focaccia, rolls, hearth breads, rye bread, challah, and more, with a particularly vivid (and passionate) stop at sourdough loaves. Instruction is abetted by 32 pages of photos plus 300 step-by-step illustrations that depict, for example, bagel forming, in exact, imitable detail. In addition, an introductory section, "The Ten Essential Steps of Making Bread," includes a particularly lucid discussion on the way yeast works plus an invaluable comparison of kneading methods. Like the book's final look at ingredients, these "mini-texts" provide information uncommon to most home bread books, rendered in simple language that allays fears of putting one's hand in the dough.
All this is impressive indeed, and readers bitten by the bread-baking bug will welcome the ultra-thorough Beranbaum approach. The less committed may find her technical demands too painstaking (her baguette recipe requires two starters, for example; though simpler loaves are, of course, offered) or even impractical (ingredient quantities using grams are sometimes given in minute fractions, requiring a special scale). The frequent inclusion of alternate mixing methods and equipment options can also make the formulas unwieldy. On the other hand, features like Pointers for Success and Understanding often yield exciting discovery as well as rewarding results. In short, this Beranbaum bible answers virtually every bread-making question, as well as providing exemplary formulas. It's the real deal for those willing to bake along with Rose. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
As in her seminal The Cake Bible, which won an IACP prize, Beranbaum doesn't just offer recipes here; she dissects them, explains how they work, then puts them back together again with a number of variations. The front matter to what Beranbaum terms her "bread biography" contains perhaps the best explanation anywhere of how yeast works and a description of the sponge method used for almost every yeast-risen bread. Each recipe also includes a "Rose ratio," which shows at a glance the percentage of water, yeast, flour and fat in each bread. The author's discussion of the pros and cons of various kneading methods (bread machine, by hand, etc.) is invaluable. After all this information, bakers will be eager to get to the recipes, which are equally rewarding. Beranbaum covers everything from a Chocolate Bread made with cocoa nibs to a Traditional Challah. Recipes are arranged by type of bread, with groups including sandwich loaves and dinner rolls and brioche breads. A chapter on artisanal hearth breads includes Heart of Wheat Bread, with wheat germ for extra crunch, and New Zealand Almond and Fig Bread with an apricot glaze. Every time Beranbaum seems about to go overboard with too much information, she steps back from the brink, as in the excellent introduction to sourdough, where she thoroughly explains how sourdough works, then provides a simple box with eight rules for making a starter. Beranbaum could have a second career as a scientist, but luckily for home bakers she seems intent on creating a library of seminal cookbooks instead.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, let me say that I am quite an avid bread baker, and that this book, while chock-full of technical information, is definitely not for the neophyte, unless he or she is just interested in the science of breadmaking. Next, let me be specific about my complaints. Although I read a recipe through before I attempt it, I don't tend to memorize it; I just get an idea of the steps involved, decide if it's worth the effort, and go from there. My problems in the recipes both involved ingredients being mentioned in a list, and then the author not being specific enough about when they were to be added. To wit: in the "Heart of Wheat Bread" recipe, she lists salt as one of the ingredients in the "flour mixture." Below that, she says to combine the ingredients for the flour mixture and add to the sponge (in bold print). Only several sentences farther down on the page did I notice that the salt wasn't supposed to be added until four hours later. I don't know how much of an effect this had on the finished product (which was good but not great, considering the effort), but I feel she should have been more specific. I encountered almost exactly the same problem when I made the "Touch-of-Grace Biscuits," where self-rising and regular flour are both in the ingredients list (although not one right after the other), but again she is not specific in her directions; she simply instructs you to whisk together the flour, etc., etc. I included both types of flour and then discovered on the next page that the second amount was supposed to be used to shape the biscuits, not added to the dough.Read more ›
Hope you are enjoying the recipes. If you haven't used the instant yeast before, you're going to love the ease and reliability of adding it directly to the flour!
Best bread baking,
Rose Levy Beranbaum
I find that the amount of liquid tends to be a little low, at least when measuring the flour (recommended brands only) by weight in all of the ones I have tried. This is not a serious defect for myself, but it could be a problem for a less experienced baker.
My larger complaint is the index. When browsing to find a recipe, it is difficult to find the recipe from the index since it is listed under the type of bread rather than the name of the bread. Perhaps the index was shortened to fit the pages, but a more extensive index would have improved this book.
Having said that, I have to take issue with the Jewish Rye Bread recipe. First let me say I am a native Manhattanite so I know what Jewish rye bread should look and taste like. I, like the previous reviewer, also noticed the error in the recipe where it says to add rye flour to the flour mixture but does not mention rye flour in the ingredient list. Having just read Beranbaum's correction I have to wonder how she can justify calling it rye bread when it contains a mere 3.3 ounces of rye flour in a 1 3/4 pound loaf. I am a professional bread baker of wood-fired loaves and this recipe will not produce anything resembling New York Jewish Rye nor any other kind of rye bread as it merely ends up tasting of caraway seed. And yes, I did make it as written against my better judgement. I still look forward to trying many other recipes in this book although not the Sourdough Rye as it doesn't contain a rye sourdough starter and uses a very small percentage of rye flour. Don't you like the flavor of rye, Rose?
Yes, you have to read through the recipe before starting to know when to add what. Yes, you have to do a little deciphering here and there. But the time it takes to do this, is rewarded with some of the best bread you've ever tasted.
I recently tried the sourdough bread and I did have to really study the book for a few days to figure out what she was talking about (here's one of those occasions where some pictures would have helped), I finally tried it and I have the most amazing sourdough rising as I right. (these rather confusing directions are the ONLY reason I haven't given it 5 stars)
I would not recommend this book for a beginning bread maker, nor a person interested in baking bread once a year, but as I make it every week for my family's needs, this book is indeed my "Bread Bible".
Thank you, Rose!
Most recent customer reviews
The bread bible has raised my bread baking to new heights,excellent reference book!Published 9 months ago by John Floyd
Its a nice book, BUT she really over complicates baking. I would not really recommend this book to anyone unless they are just interested in all the science behind baking.Published 12 months ago by Sarah
I love everything about this book, the baguette was the best baguettes I've ever made and tasted! I definitely do not agree with the previous review regarding the heart of wheat... Read morePublished 12 months ago by RF
Wow what a great book! Certainly not for someone looking for quick and simple recipes but for anyone looking to learn more advanced techniques this book is great. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Kelly Picard
I did like how comprehensive this one is and I know I am being harsh with a 2 star rating, but the rating comes along the title and the large expectations I had prior to purchasing... Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2014 by RMG
My husband fell in love again! He is very pleased with "his bible" ... lol. I am more than pleased with his creations....Published on March 15 2013 by M. Angela
The book has great recipes and easy to follow instructions. Everything came out picture perfect! Try this if you are inot baking bread you will not be sorry!Published on March 5 2013 by kjmac