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Great Breads: Home-Baked Favorites from Europe, the British Isles & North America Paperback – March 15, 1995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; First Edition edition (March 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188152762X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1881527626
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,255,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Clearly written sections . . . that take the worry out of breadmaking, even for beginners." (Cooking Light )

About the Author

Martha Rose Shulman is America's foremost authority on good-tasting, healthful food. She has written many award-winning books, including the best-selling Mediterranean Light and Provençal Light. She is a contributing editor to Health and writes regularly for the nation's leading food and health magazines.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Mason on September 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
This was the first true, dedicated bread cookbook I ever bought. I believe I bought it when I was 19... and it is still one of my favorites.

Though I now own around 30 bread books, this book using many straight dough recipes that still produce full-flavored breads. There are quite a variety of recipes but nothing too complicated that a beginner would feel intimidated.

Try the oatmeal bread- the technique produces the nicest textured, best flavored oatmeal bread I have ever made. 12 years after buying this book, it remains one of my all-time favorite breads.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Weissman on March 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the most reliable bread book in my kitchen. I have all the new Star Artisan Baker hoopla books, but this is the one that I use most. It skips all the bread pieties but still gives you artisan flavors and good recipes. Publicity is not the same thing as quality in a book of recipes.
If you want super bread along artisan lines, try this book. It also has some standard American pan loaves, if that's your thing. And did I say it was reliable? I've had no failures with it in dozens of tries.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book at the library and checked it out several times over the course of a few months.
I liked the readability of the recipes...and the fact that the author gives directions for both traditional kneading methods and using an electric mixer for the same recipe.
The recipes are peppered with anecdotes from someone who loves travelling and loves breadmaking. But it is not a tedious recounting of tales and travels.
I find the book practical comforting and friendly...but it also stretches my skills as a baker. It is not trendy but one of those cookbooks that gets dog-eared and used for years.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By jerry i h on November 8, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many very good bread books available these days; unfortunately, this book is not one of them. My main objection is the over use of whole grains, as they produce textures that are course, dry, and heavy. If you are interested in whole-grain breads, this book is a treasure trove of hard to find recipes. I was more impressed with the quantity than the quality of the bread recipes. Some worked better than others, but I was not overly crazy about any of the breads I made from this book.

There is a serious problem with the measurement of flour. It calls for stir and scoop method of flour measurement. The appendix lists the weight of one cup of flour as 5 ounces; when I did it, I got exactly 4 ounces. So, I am unsure exactly how much flour to use in the recipes, and weighing the flour (the usual professional solution) is of no help here. Plus, the author prefers wet doughs with a high hydration level (a method popularized by Poilane, who appears in the introduction of the book); this does produce lighter, airier bread, but it is significantly more difficult for the beginner to do than a dough with a standard hydration. If you do want to try these recipes, I suggest you use more flour (try 20% to begin with) than listed to get a firmer dough; kneading will be much easier. It is also unclear what the author means by "unbleached white flour": is it all-purpose flour or bread flour? Based on the ingredient balance in the whole grains chapter, I am assuming it is the latter. I used bread flour throughout, but still often got dense, under-developed doughs that will not window-pane correctly, telling me that the author might have been using a special, high gluten wheat flour.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judi T on October 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is more of an instructional book and a slow read but once you get your mind set, read the recipies and skip most of the other, it has some excellent recipies and suggestions. There are some great references for products. More for the advanced baker.
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More About the Author

For over 30 years I have been writing cookbooks devoted to eating well. A pioneer in vegetarian cooking, I began my career in 1973 at the age of 23. This was long before well-educated people from upper middle class backgrounds fantasized about becoming the next Food Network star or owning a successful restaurant. I was then a student at The University of Texas at Austin. I changed my major every semester, but my passion for cooking and for giving dinner parties was unwavering. I also had an interest in health, and combined the two in my approach to food, drawing upon many of the world's cuisines to create vegetarian dishes that were much better than the standard brown rice fare of the early 1970s. Culturally I was very much a product of my era, but as far as my cooking was concerned, I have always been way ahead of my time.
Once I'd had my epiphany about my calling, I developed a series of vegetarian cooking classes that I taught through the University of Texas Extension, and I opened a private "supper club" in my home. Every Thursday for two years I prepared a sit-down 3-course dinner for 30 people. My cozy "home restaurant" allowed me all the fun and few of the headaches of running a public restaurant, and at the same time gave me a place to experiment and develop a repertoire of dishes to showcase. I also learned to cook for a crowd. Soon I had a vegetarian catering service; I catered everything from breakfasts in bed and dinners for two to wedding receptions and conferences for two hundred.
I had also been, all along, a writer in search of a subject. I knew that I would write a cookbook, and when The Vegetarian Feast came out in 1979, my career had evolved from cook/caterer to food writer and cookbook author. The Vegetarian Feast won a 1979 Tastemaker Award (a precursor of the prestigious James Beard Awards) for Best Book, Health and Special Diets category, and remains in print.
I was never doctrinaire about vegetarian cooking; I just felt that I'd had my quota of meat by the time I reached the age of 21. I admired all good cooks, especially Julia Child, with whom I corresponded. In my first letter to her, a fan letter dated September 2, 1976 in which I described my cooking classes and my supper club, my catering service and the book I was trying to get published, I told her I was "trying to shed a new light on vegetarianism, to present it as an unmysterious, classical, and memorable cuisine. The art of cooking with an emphasis on nutrition as well as flavor is my interest, and because I am a vegetarian my cuisine is a meatless one."
Two years after the publication of The Vegetarian Feast I moved to Paris, where I continued to write cookbooks and articles, revived my Supper Club, and became a much better cook. During the twelve years I lived in France I traveled extensively in the Mediterranean to research its many cuisines. My book Mediterranean Light was published in 1989, just as the benefits of the Mediterranean diet were coming to light in the United States. The region continues to be my richest source of culinary inspiration.
To date, I have 27 cookbooks to my name. My work has been of a piece; not all of my books are vegetarian, but they all have a healthy focus. Several of my books have been nominated for cookbook awards and three have won them. In addition to the 1979 Tastemaker Award for The Vegetarian Feast, I've received the following nominations and prizes for my work:
*2001: International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), The Best Vegetarian Recipes, Nominee, Single Subject category
*1995 James Beard Awards, Great Breads, Nominee, Bread and Pastry category
*1994 Bertolli Olive Oil Award, Provençal Light, First Prize, Health and Special Diets category, Julia Child Awards
*1991 International Association of Culinary Professionals, Entertaining Light, First Prize, Health and Diet category
*1991 James Beard Awards, Entertaining Light, Nominee, Entertaining category
*1989 Tastemaker, Mediterranean Light, Nominee, Health and Special Diets category
*1988 Tastemaker, Supper Club chez Martha Rose, Nominee, Entertaining category

My cooking continues to evolve, as I hone and simplify my recipes to make them accessible to a wide range of cooks. I feel that I have played a role in improving the eating habits of many Americans, particularly since I began writing a daily recipe feature called Recipes for Health for the health section of The New York Times on the Web, in 2008. Its purpose is to empower people to cook healthy meals every day by giving them straightforward, delicious recipes. Each week's column is themed around a fresh ingredient from the market, a pantry item or a type of dish, with a new recipe posted every day. The reader response has been enthusiastic; my recipes regularly appear in the "10 Most Emailed" list on the health page. It has been extremely satisfying to know that I am reaching so many people and having an impact on their cooking.