Artisan Baking Across America: The Breads, the Bakers, the Best Recipes

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9781579651176: Artisan Baking Across America: The Breads, the Bakers, the Best Recipes
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Maggie Glezer, the uniquely qualified, totally obsessed certified bread baker who teaches and writes about bread for both laypeople and professionals, set off across the country in pursuit of the best breads and best bakers in America. And she returned with the goods—impeccable recipes that reproduce the excellence and craft of the best breads being made today, scaled down and written for a home kitchen.

But in addition to the recipes, she offers sumptuous color photography and portraits of the bakers, in words and pictures, that tell the story of America's artisan bread movement, from the wheat breeders in Kansas to a gristmill in Rhode Island, and specialty bakers from Berkeley, California, to Long Island City, New York.

This is a book to bake from, to learn from, to read for the sheer pleasure of realizing the devotion and mastery that go into the making of our best daily bread, whether it be a dark rye, a Neapolitan pizza, a baguette, or a bialy.

Whether your interest is epicurean, avocational, or vocational, you will be guided by step-by-step instructions detailing the best professional methods. Each recipe is categorized by skill level from beginner to advanced, and there are also helpful mail-order sources for ingredients and equipment.

To savor the crust, crumb, and aroma of these breads fresh out of your home oven is to be touched by the soul of the specialty baker and his or her passion for excellence.

If these truly great breads don't lay waste to the old adage that man can't live by bread alone, then nothing will.

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Review:

"Cookbook" would be a grave understatement for Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking Across America. With its sumptuous photographs and intimate profiles of the practitioners of this noble craft, it is a loving tribute to the art of baking bread. Beautiful enough to serve as a piece of art on the coffee table, it is nonetheless a practical guide for anyone who wants to bake bread like a pro.

According to Glezer, a professional baker and writer, "artisan baking" refers to the process--part of which must be done by hand--that produces the crusty, European-style breads conjured by careful craftsmanship. Glezer traveled around the country in search of the best breads and bakers in America, convincing them to share their stories, their recipes, and their knowledge of America's artisan bread movement.

At first glance, this book seems only for serious bakers, as many of the recipes are quite complicated, but fortunately each is categorized by skill level--from beginner to advanced--to steer inexperienced bakers away from the trickier recipes. Best of all, the meticulous recipes are scaled-down versions of original bakeshop formulas--levain, ciabatta, dark rye, bialy, and much more--and reproduce the professional excellence of some of the best breads being made today.

Beginning with flour--bread's most important ingredient--Glezer explains the various techniques of artisan baking, details the necessary equipment, defines the language of bread baking, and much more. She goes on to introduce the men and women who have devoted their lives to mastering this intricate craft and shares their most treasured recipes: Rustic Baguettes from the Acme Bread Company in Berkeley, California; Sweet Perrin (pear bread) from Seattle's Essential Baking Company; Kalamata Olive Bread from WheatFields Bakery/Cafe in Lawrence, Kansas; Semolina Filone from Tom Cat Bakery in Long Island City, New York, and many more.

Whether you're serious or just curious about the art of baking bread, this book provides possibly the best education you could find outside of cooking school. Suffice it to say, if one could live on bread alone, this book might very well be the Bible. --Robin Donovan

Book Description:

Nothing is more satisfying than savoring the crust and aroma of truly great home-baked bread. Maggie Glezer has traveled across America and persuaded the country's most gifted artisan bread bakers to share their very best recipes and techniques so that home cooks can now reproduce sourdoughs, pizzas, corn breads, and baguettes that are truly out of this world.

Along with the recipes and the sumptuous photography, the fascinating portraits of the bakers tell the story of the artisan bread movement in America. Visit wheat breeders in Kansas, a gristmill in Rhode Island, and specialty bakers from Berkeley to Long Island City. Share the apprentice experience and visit a baking competition where Baking Team USA is selected. Glezer opens a window to a world never before revealed.

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