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The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking Paperback – Sep 9 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Upd Sub edition (Sept. 9 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969672
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 3.1 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Original, thorough and comprehensive...Should help to demystify the process of baking with whole grains.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Here at last is a readable source of information heretofore available only to professional bakers.”
—East West Journal

“Sets a new standard with clear, easily followed recipes that not only tell you ‘how,’ but ‘why.’”

“We get lots of requests for 100 percent whole-grain bread machine recipes. Thanks to Laurel, we can fulfill these requests. What a wonderful, well-researched book! There are many delicious and varied recipes, and best of all some really innovative ideas on how to make whole-grain bread machine baking easy and successful. This will definitely be added to our baking library.”
—Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway, authors of Bread Machine Magic

From the Inside Flap

The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book is the classic bestselling cookbook devoted to baking light, healthful, delicious bread entirely from whole grains. This specially updated edition includes an entirely new chapter on making excellent whole-grain loaves in a bread machine. Now even the busiest among us can bake the delectable loaves for which Laurel's Kitchen is famous.
New research proves what we've known all along: Eating whole grains really is better for your health! Here, the switch from "white" is made fun and easy.
Like a good friend, the "Loaf for Learning" tutorial guides you step-by-step through the baking process. You'll make perfect loaves every time, right from the start.
Here you'll find recipes for everything--from chewy Flemish Desem Bread and mouthwatering Hot Cross Buns to tender Buttermilk Rolls, foolproof Pita Pockets, tangy Cheese Muffins, and luscious Banana Bread--all with clear explanations and helpful woodcut illustrations.
The brand-new chapter on bread machines teaches you to make light "electric" loaves from whole-grain flour. No matter what your schedule, you can come home to the wonderful smell of baking bread, fresh, hot, and ready to enjoy.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most baking books treat whole-grain flour "as though it were white flour, only worse," in the words of the authors of this essential book. Their superior nutritional value aside, whole grains aren't "worse," but they do behave differently from white flour when mixing and kneading bread dough. This 100%-whole-grain book offers the kitchen wisdom that I wish I'd had in my earliest years of baking.
Long before so-called "artisanal" loaves were offered by supermakets, the authors of this fine book were engrossed in the mission of making fine whole-grain bread an attainable staff of life for just about anyone, even with a jam-packed schedule and no money for fancy kitchen equipment. (Laurel astutely notes that such people "probably need good bread more than anyone.") When I bought the first edition of this book more than twenty years ago, I was just such a person. The authors' sensible guidelines for fitting breadmaking into my overfilled work week came as a real revelation. They also helped solve a number of frustrating problems, such as, "Why is my rye dough so slimy?"
Not only can the scheduling fit any situation, the authors argue, but the essential equipment can be minimal. Thankfully I now can rely on a heavy-duty mixer with a dough hook as well as a bread machine. But assuming normal hand and arm strength, you don't absolutely need machines to knead up really good bread: For years my batterie de cuisine comprised only bowls, measuring spoons and cups, a dough cutter, cheap loaf and sheet pans, and my own two hands.
Laurel & Co. provide advice for mixing bread by hand, in a food processor, an electric mixer, and--thanks to the new chapter in this updated edition--in an automatic bread machine that kneads, proofs, and bakes.
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Format: Paperback
The one thing that sets this book apart from all others is not the thorough instructions, or the fact that all the bread recipes use whole grains. It's the recipe for desem bread. "Recipe" doesn't adequately describe the extremely detailed instructions for making this what maybe the ultimate whole-grain, natural-yeast bread. It almost resembles a science experiment, and can be a great project for anyone who is interested in the way flour and water mixed together interacts with whatever bacteria (?) is floating in our air to create natural leavening agents.
And the results? Well, they are simply amazing. This bread literally tastes different every time it's baked - it keeps getting better and better as the desem (which is like a 'mother', a bit of dough you feed and carry on from baking to baking) matures. It's also quite a lot of work - I've let several desems die over the years due to neglect. If you are going away on holiday for some time, expect to have to start over or spend a lot of time reviving the desem (unless you can find a willing friend to pet- I mean, desem-sit for you!) Perhaps keeping a desem doesn't fit a modern lifestyle. Still I keep on starting new desems simply because the flavor is so unforgettable. In any case, get this book, enjoy the other whole-grain breads in there - and eventually, I urge you to try the desem bread.
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Format: Paperback
I bought a used copy of the first edition of this book last year and have had nothing but success with it. It is brilliant. My first loaf for learning rose as high as any white bread I've ever baked, and was far more delicious. I refer to the loaf for learning chapter even when I am making wholegrain bread using recipes from other cookbooks.
I cannot understand the review by the person who gave it one star. He/she must not have followed the loaf for learning; the instructions are so clear and precise, I cannot imagine how anyone could fail unless their yeast or flour was bad.
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Format: Paperback
I've had this book for many years, and generally only have about a 20 to 30% success rate with these recipes. I do appreciate that this is one of the rare bread cookbooks in which the recipes are truly whole-grain, but... unfortunately, the techniques just don't cut it with me. For some recipes they work, and many others they don't. I have been baking bread for 20 years, and this is the least successful book I have found. That said, I keep trying just in case one of these days, the techniques (especially the wet knead) work. Most of what I've made is edible, just only 2 inches tall. So, buy this book if you are serious about wanting to make whole-grain-only bread. The authors are caring, the book is well-written (I have the original edition) and explains much about home-milling as well as the bread-baking process; just be aware that the techniques here are a bit different.
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I have to bake bread from this book many times over the years, and I am sorry to say that it is always dissapointing. The loaves were edible but always way too dense and uninteresting. At first I didn't know any better, then I thought I was a terrible baker, and almost gave up.
Then I tried the recipes in The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown and made many wonderful loaves. They always work. I even went back and tried a recipe from Laurel's book, thinking that maybe I had learned something. But no, it was the same. I have made bread from other books as well, usually with great success.
I don't know what the problem is, but the breads never rise in the oven. It is as if they are so tired out and weak that they just sit there. I have seen bread jump in the oven to make a light and wonderful crust, even with 100% whole wheat, but this never happens with Laurel's recipes. In the end I am so frustrated that I have come to hate Laurel's Bread Book. I love her focus on whole grains, but the recipes never work for me.
On a technical level, her recipes are simply too vague on key points. Her descriptions of temperature are usually "cool", "warm", "very warm" rather than 60-65 degrees of something more precise. She uses a mixture of weights and volume measurements that can be confusing.
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