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Simply Great Breads: Sweet and Savory Yeasted Treats from America's Premier Artisan Baker Hardcover – Mar 8 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (March 8 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600852971
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600852978
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 1.6 x 21.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #185,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


This book is a treasure for all of us who love good bread.  Whether you’re a serious bread baker or someone who’s always wanted to make bread at home but might have been too timid, you’ll find recipes to teach and inspire, to make often, and to share with family and friends. --Dorie Greenspan, author, "Around My French Table"

Dan Leader has pulled off the nearly impossible trick of creating uncompromising but easy-to-prepare artisan breads. His common-sense approach to these uncommonly good treats will have even the most jaded baker sprinting back to the kitchen with renewed enthusiasm and inspiration. --William Alexander, author, "52 Loaves"


A "New York Times "Top 10 Cookbooks of the Year 2011

This book is a treasure for all of us who love good bread. Whether you're a serious bread baker or someone who's always wanted to make bread at home but might have been too timid, you'll find recipes to teach and inspire, to make often, and to share with family and friends. --Dorie Greenspan, author, "Around My French Table"

Dan Leader has pulled off the nearly impossible trick of creating uncompromising but easy-to-prepare artisan breads. His common-sense approach to these uncommonly good treats will have even the most jaded baker sprinting back to the kitchen with renewed enthusiasm and inspiration. --William Alexander, author, "52 Loaves"

When did bread become so complicated? Too many new bread books are thick with words, expounding on dry topics like the differences between a levain and a poolish. This slim volume, perfect for novices, contains just 28 recipes that manage to cover a lot of ground, from English muffins to ciabatta to chocolate babka. --"The Modesto Bee (CA)"

About the Author

DANIEL LEADER was one of the first champions of artisanal bread baking in this country; he founded the first Bread Alone Bakery in the Hudson Valley in the early '80s. Now a classic, Leader's book, "Bread Alone," won the IACP award for best baking book in 1994. In 2008, Leader won his second IACP award for "Local Breads," also written with Lauren Chattman. LAUREN CHATTMAN is the author of 12 cookbooks, including the recent "Cake Keeper Cakes" and "Panini Express," which she co-wrote with Leader.

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I will be baking now.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very good bead book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa02e83fc) out of 5 stars 33 reviews
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0b54068) out of 5 stars An Education in Bread March 30 2011
By Jennifer L. Rinehart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I like books about baking. For years I'd pick them up, stare greedily at the tasty pics and then sigh, put them back onto the shelf and slump away, my shoulders down and my mouth frowny. My failure to create bread was a source of anxiety and shame. I've made biryani, cherries flambe and eggs benedict with real hollandaise, but my yeast breads always turned out awful. About once a year I'd pick up a book and give it another try, but it always ended the same, with a dirty kitchen and a lump of floury dough that did not rise and smelled like paste and desperation.

I've since learned the basics. I can make pretzels (thanks Alton), anadama bread and pizza crust (thanks Wolfgang) but I'd gotten into a rut and still had the occasional bread fails. This book, with it's detailed explanations has added several crucial pieces of bread making information. For example, bigas.

If you are like me, a dedicated food lurker, you've heard the word biga. But I wasn't sure what it was or why anyone would want to use it in bread. Since I didn't know what biga was, everytime I ran across a recipe that used it, I'd leave it alone. Turns out Biga is like a sourdough starter, except that it takes a fraction of time to make and isn't sour, sounds intriguing, right?

I'm planning on using it now, not only in the recipe for Ciabatta from the book, but also in other recipes I've found on Food Gawker and the like.

Another interesting and new thing is the recommendation for using wine in place of water for making a pizza dough. I really, really have to give that a try! Update: I made it and it was tasty, it didn't taste like wine (good, because I don't care for wine)but it did have an indefinable sweetness that made it richer and definitely worth trying. I posted pics on my blog of this dough (it was the base of my fairy pizza).

One of the other great things about this book are the variations in ingredients that follow most every recipe. Caramel Monkey Bread becomes Garlic Scallion Monkey Bread and Grape Schiacciata becomes Rosemary Walnut or Cherry Tomato Anise, which is a very good thing because I'm certain to never find fresh champagne grapes here in Washington.

Most of the recipes are ones I've seen before, but it's the easy to follow directions and descriptions that make them noteworthy.

A recipe for Mana'eesh - a Middle Eastern flatbread, sounds like an easy recipe to start out with for the novice bakers and a more complex recipe for bagels is included for the adventurous home cook.

The book loses it's way a little with recipes for jams and too many pages of fried doughs, but it won me over again with a handy list of equivalencies.

I have just two complaints about the book and they are, one, the book is too short and I think it should have at least one basic bread recipe and two, the Navajo fry bread recipe is a fast and loose representation of a culturally important staple of Native American cuisine. But, I guess it's the thought that counts, many people have never tried this delectable treat (totally worth your time and effort, there are a ton of recipes online).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa04ac4b0) out of 5 stars Some ups and downs....beginners beware Oct. 16 2011
By Joanne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have way too many cookbooks, and my bread baking books are mounting up with one more on the way. I bought this book last yr and made the crumpets then; they were very good and light. I did have to cut back on the salt though, it seemed too high an amt. I had invested a small amt w/King Arthur for the rings, worth the little expense. Making crumpets is on the stovetop, not the oven, so it's a nice change of pace and good for when you don't want to heat up the oven. Some people use old cut up tuna cans for the rings, but hey, this is my hobby, my passion, and it's cheaper than spending on golf clubs, no? That being said, I took up this book again this week and made the bialys. No rings needed by the way. OMG...delish. They are worth the calories. I couldn't believe how close to the real thing these looked and tasted, the golden crust so crackly. Only took 10 mins to bake. The author is right on the money with this recipe and the crumpets. Made the ciabatta rolls too, quite honestly the easiest and best ciabatta bread I have attempted so far. I had given up on making it b/c although my past efforts were quite satisfactory, it is labor intensive and time consuming and I can buy the best ciabatta 5 mins from home. This recipe was a total head slapper in how easy and light and crunchy it worked up and with so little effort and no annoying additional steps to do as is often needed. I didn't even use my baking stone as recommended, just a baking sheet w/parchment, and it was fine. Goof proof. Instructions given at end of recipe on how to freeze and for how long. Love it!

Now, the downside. There are several measurement errors here. The book gives all 3 measurements for each ingredient for each recipe when possible, so at at first blush, you think this is great, choose your preferred method of measurement and off to bread baking you go. But good thing I took the time to test all three measurements against each other bc that turned up inconsistencies that were way off. Example: The Angel Biscuits need: 2 1/4 sticks butter OR 10 ozs. of butter OR 140 grams of butter. When you weigh the 2 1/4 sticks you get near 10 ozs, fine, but you get nowhere near 140 grams of butter, it's closer to 300! The flatbread recipe of Mana'eesh is like this too...it says: 1/4 cup olive oil OR 4 ozs. of olive oil OR 113 grams of olive oil...1/4 cup cup of olive oil is only ONE ounce and only 40 grams...so which is it? I know one cup of olive oil to a recipe using only 2 cups of flour was all wrong. From past experience, I used 1/4 cup and crossed out the grams and ounces measurements immediately. This is really unforgiveable. I wonder how many more recipes are like this; but if I do attempt more, I will check EACH of the 3 measurements against one another and be sure they coincide with one another. Some do match up, but as mentioned, some do NOT! By the way, the Angel Muffins were not as I had hoped. For all the butter used, they were rich for sure, but felt too greasy. I threw them out, literally to the birds! I prefer a biscuit with just shortening and flour, roll, cut, and bake. For all the effort involved in this yeasted version, there was NO payoff.

I have the 2011 issue, so hopefully newer copies have reprinted the recipes with all the needed corrections. All I can say is, those bialys are incredibly good. No errors there. Wish I could say the same for all the other ones.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa075e240) out of 5 stars Lovely yeast bread baking book March 27 2011
By Shala Kerrigan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0b482a0) out of 5 stars Delicious and accessible July 26 2012
By Cookbook Gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Leader's previous book, "Bread Alone," a significantly more comprehensive bread baking book than "Simply Great Breads." This new book is not intended to be a comprehensive, nerdy treatise on bread; the fly leaf of the book states that it is a "collection of easy yet sophisticated yeasted treats that every home baker must try." I think it hits the mark, although "easy" will vary based on the experience and confidence of the home baker.

There are about 46 recipes in the book, including "variations" of master recipes. There are photos for many of the finished products, accompanied by clear instructions, even though in some cases the ingredients are on one page and the directions are on the next. Leader has included equivalence guides, and provides measurements not only in cups, but in grams, as well. Additionally, he has a temperature guide in the book to accommodate those using Fahrenheit, Centigrade and gas mark ovens.

The main chapters are: Classic Breakfast Breads, An Ideal Bread Basket, Flavor Packed Flatbreads, and Quick Yeasted Treats. He admittedly takes some liberty with traditional recipes, like Navaho Fry Bread, but he says this up front in the introduction to the recipe. He also tweaks other recipes, like the classic Parker House roll. Again, he explains what he is doing in the intro to the recipe, so that the reader is well aware that he/she is not making a classic recipe in the classic manner. I have tried both the challah an the yeast-raised waffles, and both turned out very well. Definitely looking forward to trying out more of the recipes.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa04a7288) out of 5 stars Very Disappointed March 2 2012
By Joe York - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Sorry. I expected bread recipes but, really, there are none here. If you want recipes for muffins or crumpets, monkey bread or pan cakes, this may be for you. I want to bake bread, not crumpets. Also, I found Mr. Leader's narrative more than a bit snobbish. The ingredients for his recipes are not simply milk but organic milk; not eggs but organic eggs. He wants us to know that he doesn't use simple salt but it must be sea salt and he, by the way, uses sea salt imported from France. Anyone want to buy a used book?