This simple-to-follow, beautifully illustrated guide can show anyone how to make a spectacular loaf of artisan bread—even if they’ve never baked before. It explains how to mix, knead, shape, and decorate over 100 nutritious, mouth-watering loaves, including such classics as Honey Whole Wheat, Sourdough Rye, Italian Semolina, Jewish Challah, and French-Style Baguettes. There are also sweet rolls, muffins, flatbreads, bagels, biscuits, and much more. Also included is a chapter on luscious dips and spreads to accompany your freshly baked loaves.
Bernice Hunt, MS, author of over seventy books, has always enjoyed cooking. When her children were young, she baked bread daily, and soon invented shortcuts to achieve traditional results without sacrificing taste. Today, she still bakes her own bread for all the pleasure it affords.
1. The History of Bread,
2. A Loaf of Bread. . . The Basics,
3. Mostly White Breads,
4. Whole Grain Breads,
5. Sourdough Breads,
6. Sweet Yeast Breads,
7. Quick Breads, Biscuits, and Muffins,
8. Flatbreads, Rolls, and More,
9. Dips and Spreads,
Metric Conversion Tables,
“Easy” means that with very few exceptions, the recipes can be completed in minimal time. None requires highly specialized equipment or exceptional talent. While a few basic utensils are necessary, they are all items you probably have in your kitchen anyway; there are no machines required. This is plain and simple bread making the way your forebears did it long before you were born, and the directions are clear and direct so that you can follow them even if you’re a novice.
Although the recipes are simple, the breads are not. The best bakeries feature “artisan” bread—that’s the kind I make, and you can make, too. An artisan by definition is “a skilled manual worker,” so artisan breads are those that are skillfully made by hand. The skill comes with surprisingly little experience, and once you have learned a few basics and embellished them with your own creativity, you will be able to make magnificent breads that are a joy to create, to behold, and especially, to eat.
Baking bread is a craft, a means of unlimited personal expression even though every baker follows certain age-old steps. It’s a particularly rewarding craft because in addition to the pleasure of making the bread itself, when you are done, you will have the even greater pleasure of feeding it to the people you love.
And the people you love will love your bread, and will love taking part in the baking, too. Invite your friends, your spouse, your children into the kitchen. Give any kid, of any age, a lump of dough to knead and form into a loaf of bread, and you will all have a grand time. Guaranteed!
So get ready to bake bread—after brushing up on a bit of history in the opening chapter. All you really need to begin is some flour, and water, and yeast. As soon as you mix them together, you will be creating a kind of magic by connecting to the continuous chain of civilization and culture that began in the mists of the past, long, long before any history had ever been recorded.