Enjoy the season and learn to bake around the hearth and home
As we head into fall and winter, still most of us are staying indoors save for unavoidable trips to forage for supplies or, in the case of those unable to work from home, to work in a world that looks nothing like 2019, let alone 1859 when “A Tale of Two Cities” was first published.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
At least now we have our digital networks of communication and our zoom meetings (?). While it may seem far more like “the age of foolishness” than the “age of wisdom”, perhaps it is wise to make a plan, now and today, to make the most of our present period, once again and just as we did in Spring and Summer of the year 2020, and bake, cook and create delights for us and those with whom we are sharing this novel time.
As follows some wonderful books for baking bread and other delights from scratch in our own kitchen to savor and enjoy.
There are few things more satisfying than biting into a freshly made, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-supple-on-the-inside slice of perfectly baked bread. For Portland-based baker Ken Forkish, well-made bread is more than just a pleasure–it is a passion that has led him to create some of the best and most critically lauded breads and pizzas in the country.
In Flour Water Salt Yeast, Forkish translates his obsessively honed craft into scores of recipes for rustic boules and Neapolitan-style pizzas, all suited for the home baker. Forkish developed and tested all of the recipes in his home oven, and his impeccable formulas and clear instructions result in top-quality artisan breads and pizzas that stand up against those sold in the best bakeries anywhere. Click here to see “Flour Water Salt Yeast” and help Independent Bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
It comes from Chad Robertson, a man many consider to be the best bread baker in the United States, and co-owner with Elizabeth Prueitt of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery. At 5 P.M., Chad Robertson’s rugged, magnificent Tartine loaves are drawn from the oven. The bread at San Francisco’s legendary Tartine Bakery sells out within an hour almost every day.
Only a handful of bakers have learned the bread science techniques Chad Robertson has developed: To Chad Robertson, bread is the foundation of a meal, the center of daily life, and each loaf tells the story of the baker who shaped it. Chad Robertson developed his unique bread over two decades of apprenticeship with the finest artisan bakers in France and the United States, as well as experimentation in his own ovens. Readers will be astonished at how elemental it is. Click here to see “Tartine Bread” and help Independent Bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
Co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper’s Bakery, author of ten landmark bread books, and distinguished instructor at the world’s largest culinary academy, Peter Reinhart has been a leader in America’s artisanal bread movement for more than thirty years. Never one to be content with yesterday’s baking triumph, however, Peter continues to refine his recipes and techniques in his never-ending quest for extraordinary bread.
In this updated edition of the bestselling The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter shares bread breakthroughs arising from his study in France’s famed boulangeries and the always-enlightening time spent in the culinary college kitchen with his students. Peer over Peter’s shoulder as he learns from Paris’s most esteemed bakers, like Lionel Poilâne and Phillippe Gosselin, whose pain à l’ancienne has revolutionized the art of baguette making. Then stand alongside his students in the kitchen as Peter teaches the classic twelve stages of building bread, his clear instructions accompanied by more than 100 step-by-step photographs. Click here to see “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” and help Independent Bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
In this highly anticipated cookbook, culinary instructor and baker David Norman explores the European breadmaking traditions that inspire him most–from the rye breads of France to the saltless ciabattas of Italy to the traditional Christmas loaves of Scandinavia. Norman also offers recipes for traditional foods to accompany these regional specialties, so home bakers can showcase their freshly made breads alongside a traditional Swedish breakfast spread, oysters with mignonette, or country pâté, to name a few examples. With rigorous, detailed instructions plus showstopping photography, this book will surprise and delight bakers of all stripes.
The debut cookbook from cult favorite Austin bakery and beer garden Easy Tiger, featuring recipes from author David Norman’s time spent exploring bread traditions throughout Europe and North America, plus menu ideas for incorporating homemade bread into everyday meals. Click here to see “Bread on the Table” and help Independent Bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
Many home cooks find bread baking rewarding but intimidating. In Bread Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen shows bakers of all levels how to make foolproof breads, rolls, flatbreads, and more at home. Each master recipe is presented as a hands-on and reassuring tutorial illustrated with six to 16 full-color step-by-step photos.
Organized by level of difficulty to make bread baking less daunting, the book progresses from the simplest recipes for the novice baker to artisan-style loaves, breads that use starters, and more complex project recipes. The recipes cover a wide and exciting range of breads from basics and classics like Easy Sandwich Bread and Fluffy Dinner Rolls to interesting breads from around the world including Lahmacun, Panettone, and Fig and Fennel Bread. Click here to see “Bread Illustrated” and help Independent Bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
To food lovers the world over, a trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to Poil ne. Ina Garten raves about the bread’s “extraordinary quality.” Martha Stewart says the P in Poil ne stands for “perfect.” For the first time, Poil ne provides detailed instructions so bakers can reproduce its unique “hug-sized” sourdough loaves at home, as well as the bakery’s other much-loved breads and pastries.
It tells the story of how Apollonia Poil ne, the third-generation baker and owner, took over the global business at age eighteen and steered it into the future as a Harvard University freshman after her parents were killed in a helicopter crash. Beyond bread, Apollonia includes recipes for pastries such as the bakery’s exquisite but unfussy tarts and butter cookies. In recipes that use bread as an ingredient, she shows how to make the most from a loaf, from crust to crumb. Click here to see “Poilâne” and help Independent Bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
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