If bread is the staff of life, then this book by renowned artisanal baker Daniel Leader is every home baker’s must-have cookbook. Featuring an amazing array of incredible delicacies made with yeast, it’s the perfect combination of easy and sophisticated recipes, with the keys to unlocking basics of working with yeasted doughs.
Who can resist a collection of 50 mouthwatering treats, essential recipes for everyone who loves bread? The menu includes must-bake breakfast classics like crumpets and English muffins, and the three irresistible Bs: bagels, brioche, and bialys … timeless favorites such as Parker House rolls, ciabatta, and challah … plus waffles, cider doughnuts, beignets, babka, and monkey bread. Bakers of all skill levels will learn tips and trade secrets from Leader, who has shared his vast knowledge with people around the world.
Hardcover, 144 pages.
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About the Authors
Daniel Leader was one of the earliest proponents of artisanal bread making in this country and continues to run his bakery Bread Alone, which he founded in 1983. His book Bread Alone is a classic on the subject and won the IACP award for best baking book. His most recent book is Panini Express. He lives in Bearsville, New York.
Lauren Chattman is the author of nine cookbooks and co-author of three. Her recipes have appeared in numerous publications. She lives in Sag Harbor, New York.
"During my career as a professional baker and cookbook author, I’ve traveled the world in search of techniques and recipes for delicious handcrafted breads. Like other artisan bakers of my generation, I fell in love, years ago, with sourdough loaves built in two or more stages and raised with natural starters instead of commercial yeast. I’ve adapted recipes for French levain baguettes, German sourdough ryes,and sunny yellow Italian semolina sourdough rounds so that I could make them at my bakery in the Catskills. I’ve written extensively about sourdough techniques and European sourdough traditions in my books, Bread Alone and Local Breads.
When I first decided to open a European-style bakery in upstate New York, there wasn’t a book written in English on what I needed to know in order to make my first loaf. So I traveled to Paris and apprenticed myself to a French baker. But I wasn’t alone for long in baking and writing about this type of bread. Since Bread Alone was published in 1993, dozens of knowledgeable books on artisan bread have been published. Now passionate home bakers eager to learn about and commit themselves to baking sourdough and other kinds of long-fermenting breads can go to the library or Amazon.com and easily find a recipe for a Poilâne-style miche or a German graubrot. It is an embarrassment of riches and a wonderful validation of my belief in the importance of preserving and promoting old bread ways.
A lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of bread because there is so much fascinating history, culture, science, and technique informing our craft. These days, it is not a lack of information that prevents home bakers from trying their hand at making bread in the traditional ways. It is often simply a question of finding the time. Although there is nothing particularly difficult about cultivating natural yeast and using it to raise bread, it can’t be done on the spur of the moment. Indeed, as I am reminded every time I visit my bakery, Bread Alone®, in the middle of the night to check on my starters, artisan bread crafting with sourdough and other long-fermenting starters is a lifestyle choice! To bake a loaf of sourdough bread, you first have to cultivate a wild yeast starter, which can take a week or longer. You have to feed and care for your starter on schedule and bake with it regularly to maintain its rising powers. Making sourdough bread is generally not a onetime thing. Starter maintenance and bread baking get added to the daily or weekly routine of kitchen tasks and household chores: a joy for some, but too burdensome for others to attempt.
Although I have an abiding love of well-crafted sourdough breads, I have always been curious about and open to enjoying yeasted breads and pastries that are decidedly simpler to make. In my previous books, I was careful to include some recipes employing commercial yeast, for beginners and others not ready to go full-out artisan. I am perfectly comfortable with and very proud of these recipes, for pain ordinaire, Bavarian pretzels, pizza alla Romana, and a few others. After all, these are traditional European-style breads with just as much history and integrity as the world-famous pain Poilâne.
Many of my readers have baked their way through the recipes made with commercial yeast and then hit a wall. I’ve received countless letters and e-mails from these bakers, asking, "Is this as far as I can go without venturing into sourdough territory?"
"Hardly!" I want to reply. I have a large reservoir of absolutely delicious recipes, both classic and unusual, using commercial yeast and mostly mixed in one step. For a long time now, I have wanted to share some of them with readers who have enjoyed the simpler recipes in my previous books and are hungry for more. This new collection, including a chocolate babka my grandmother would be proud of, a beautiful Alsatian onion and olive tart, and the tallest English muffins you’ve ever seen, is for all of you."
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