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Celebration Breads: Recipes, Tales, and Traditions Hardcover – September 30, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Japan is about the only nation not represented in Betsy Oppeneer's Celebration Breads. And guess what? In Japan they don't celebrate holidays or special events with bread. Everywhere else, well, it's another story. And who better to tell that story than Betsy Oppeneer, longtime cooking teacher, author of Breads from Betsy's Kitchen, The Bread Book, and Betsy's Bread. There was a time in Europe when eggs and sugar were so costly none but the wealthy could use them for anything but special events, usually holidays like Easter or Christmas. Or there are special breads linked to events like the Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Oppeneer has scoured the world for breads closely linked to this spirit of celebration, of special event. And what she found, in many cases, was a disappearing world where new generations were failing to carry on traditions and old recipes were fading out of mind and history. Celebration Breads acts as something of a bridge between what has been and what can be.

Always the careful, thorough teacher, Oppeneer begins her book with chapters on ingredients, special equipment, the how-tos of doing it by hand, by heavy-duty mixer, by food processor, or bread machine, and tips and techniques. She divides her recipe chapters by region: Africa, the Americas, the British Isles, Eastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, Russia and Asia, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. You'll find flat breads like Egyptian Zalabya and yeast breads like Chelsea Buns. There are sweet breads and savory breads. Big breads and little breads. And in each of the more than 75 recipes Oppeneer is right there at your shoulder, enjoying new discoveries and old friends right along with you. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

With recipes for more than 75 savory and sweet breads, Oppenneer's book offers home bakers accessible, homey recipes with wonderful histories about the celebrations associated with each entry. The author, a culinary teacher and consultant, lists the basics, such as ingredients, equipment and the steps to making bread (whether by hand, heavy-duty mixer, food processor or bread machine). From there, she organizes her book according to geographic region (Africa, The Americas, British Isles, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, etc.). Her choices sometimes surprise: under Morocco, she places the Yom Kippur celebratory dish, Sephardi Bread, which is filled with a mixture of coriander seeds and almonds; the holiday is celebrated in Canada with Montreal Bagels. For a wedding celebration, Oppenneer recommends Irish Soda Bread ("bread was broken over the bride as she entered her new home and became the woman of the house"). From Norway for Christmas comes Julekake, made with cherries and almonds and served with brown goat cheese. This solid book's stories are as warm and pleasing as fresh-baked bread.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743224833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743224833
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I ordered this book by experienced and highly recognized bread baking author, Betsy Oppenneer, because I was having no luck finding a recipe for Eastern European Paska (Easter) bread in my many other weighty bread baking books. I had even looked into cookbooks of eastern European cuisines such as Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Slovakian and Ukrainian. I found only one, which was so simple, I was sure the authors did not give it a lot of thought, or, eastern European peasants really did make this kind of very simple bread because they simply did not have the money or access to saffron, dried fruits, and fresh butter.
I was pleased to find that Ms. Betsy had not one, but two eastern European Easter bread recipes spelled Paska in the Ukraine and Pashka (or Kulich) in Russia. As luck would have it, I had also found a Pashka bread recipe in the latest Easter issue of Gourmet magazine that was, of course, different from Ms. Betsy's recipe. Of course, Oppenneer anticipates this by saying that she often finds dozens or even hundreds of different recipes under the same traditional name. The problem is generally to find the recipe that most closely resembles your personal memory, especially if your Grammy didn't write this precious recipe down or your bakery source has gone out of business or moved its business to Orlando.
All of this is to warn you that even though a recipe you remember may be in this book, it may not be exactly the same as you remember from your childhood or from a trip to Prague or Marseilles or Casablanca. In spite of this warning, it seems to me that Ms. Oppenneer has done a real scholar's job of presenting a good take on a wide selection of the world's celebration breads. In the process, she has reminded us of how central bread is to many cultures' spiritual life.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By June Jacobs on May 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is my new favorite book! I've been baking bread since I was 7 years old, and I love to get my hands into a pile of dough. Betsy Oppenneer is my roommate at IACP Conferences, and one of me dearest friends, so sue me if I'm prejudiced, but... she has left NOTHING out of "Celebration Breads!" She has researched not only the recipes, but also the history of each of the breads included in the book. Additionally, she's included three methods for making most of these breads: by mixer, by food processor and by bread machine. Take your pick. She's included some fried treats as well as more traditional breads from all over the world. I've especially enjoyed comparing her recipes with those I've been baking for years. Whatever your ethnic heritage, you will find easy-to-follow recipes for the breads and coffee cakes you grew up with. This may be the perfect year to "get your hands into a pile of dough" and create a tradition!
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Format: Hardcover
I love the way this book is written! Betsy gives clear, simple directions for making beautiful breads using various techniques. The historical story of each bread is fascinating! An excellent book for all bread lovers.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has nice recipes but unfortunately does NOT have any photos, it only has drawings. If you are just starting into bread making this is NOT a book for you.
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