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Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery: Recipes for the Connoisseur Hardcover – March 5, 1996


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Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery: Recipes for the Connoisseur + The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (March 5, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679409076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679409076
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Silverton, who hails from the renowned Los Angeles bakery for which this book is named, goes back to square one in Breads for the La Brea Bakery: the yeast. While commercial yeast may work, using it doesn't really get to the essence of good bread or good bread making. Her book describes the two-week process required to create a starter the old-fashioned way. Once that is done, there are breads, pretzels, bagels, and a host of other good things to bake.

From Publishers Weekly

Bread is beautiful when it is made with time, care and honest ingredients; the same is true of cookbooks, and this is a beautiful cookbook. Silverton, a world-class pastry chef and owner of L.A.'s Campanile restaurant and La Brea Bakery, offers breadmaking instructions so meticulous that one gets the feeling she's divulging valuable trade secrets. Her breads are sourdough breads that depend on sourdough starter, a simple combination of flour and water left out where it can catch wild yeasts. Silverton explains the 14-day, once-in-a-lifetime process of creating the starter and the ongoing process of maintaining it. She then describes the starter and its variations and shows how they can be incorporated into a variety breads. Specialties include Walnut Bread, Rustic Olive-herb Bread, Chocolate Sour Cherry Bread and Red Pepper Scallion Bread. Lists of equipment and sources of supplies are included. Her beautifully designed book will appeal to dedicated cooks and perfectionists who are patient and brave enough to make mistakes along the way to breads, rolls, focaccia, pretzels, bagels, waffles and even-woof-dog biscuits.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Despite her protestations to the contrary, the author is a snob with too much time on her hands.
Anders Martinson
I wouldnt recommend this for anyone who dosnt already know how to bake bread, but anyone who wants to learn to make better bread should definitely get this book.
Zaylinda
I have yet to encounter a book that provides so much information on the making of bread and using of natural yeast starters.
Jadepearl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 116 people found the following review helpful By James R. Mckinley on January 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of the La Brea Bakery's bread for many years. I have tried many bread recipes at home, but none compare to Nancy Silverton's recipes from her La Brea Bakery. Many will say that this book is not for beginning bread bakers. This is probably true. I belive you should try baking with commercial "instant" or "Active" yeast before you try her methods. All her bread is made with a natural sourdough starter that takes two weeks to create, and requires daily feeding. The result is the best bread on earth. It is a lot of work. I end up baking more than I can eat, but my friends and family benefit from this. The recipes in this book take time: In most cases two days before a loaf is completed. It is worth it. Just schedule your time around the dough rising periods.
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Jadepearl VINE VOICE on October 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for those who wish to pursue baking bread armed with technical and practical information in addition to their own yeast starters.
I have yet to encounter a book that provides so much information on the making of bread and using of natural yeast starters. This is not a book for those who expect to do quick breads. For the person who wants to know how to make artisan breads at home this book is for you.
The use of starter yeasts is extensive covering white, rye, and wheat. The only other book that gives you more information about "creating" starters and sourdough is _World Sourdoughs From Antiquity_ .
The design of the book is pretty simple. Description of ingredients in detail; tools used; yeasts, starters and sourdoughs; recipes which are broken down by which type of starter used. The recipes themselves are broken into multi-day sections so that the process is more clear. Example would be the challah which is a 2 day bread. The steps themselves don't take that long but you learn the value of planning.
In essence to get something close to your favorite artisan bread you must spend time and a certain amount of patience. This book is quite honest about that and does not use shortcuts at the expense of the quality.
But what about the bread? It is good. Sometimes not as picture perfect but even the "failures" have been tasty.
A must for the baker's library. A wealth of information and interesting recipes too. Not bad for a book that is 251 pages (not counting sources and index).
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By jerry i h on September 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Like Diogenes, you have been searching the four corners of the world for a book that will tell you how to make real sourdough bread at home. Well, set down your lantern and rest your weary bones, because you have finally found it. Nancy Silverton became famous for the sourdough bread that she makes at her bakery, and this book will tell you in excruciating detail how she does it.

Few things are as wonderful as good sourdough, and few things are as elusive as sourdough recipes in bread books. Few will even acknowledge the presence of sourdough; fewer still will mention words like levain, chef, starter, or poolish. The number of baking books that will give you real recipes for them can be counted on one hand.

This book is a complete tutorial on sourdough bread from start to finish. The first recipe in the book for a basic white bread takes an astonishing 30 pages: 10 to tell you how to make your own starter, and another 20 to tell you how to make the dough and bake it. The author is a stickler for detail; the thoroughness in the recipes can be irritating. It also means that your chances of success are very high; all of the breads I tried worked perfectly, even the more difficult ones based on rye. Each recipe has a rather long (and very complete) list of equipment that you will need (including, in one case, a room thermometer). No longer is sourdough dependent on random chance, magic, or even experience.

Be warned, however, that sourdough is not easy to do. You will end up throwing away a "swimming pool" of dough in order to refresh the starter. Some of the fermentation steps are 12 hours long. Some breads have to be refrigerated overnight, so you will need room in your refrigerator for several bannetons and/or sheet pans.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is an unbelievable text for the already experienced bread baker who wants to take his/her skills to another level. Ms. Silverton is arguably the country's greatest baker, and it is her obsession with baking the perfect loaf of bread that permeates this text (note the 20+ pages of instructions for the first loaf in the book). She has spent an exhausting amount of time working out the minute details of each recipe, right down to the exact temperature of the ingredients, in order to create beautiful and flavorful loaves.
As a result, this book is definitely not for the beginner, nor is it for the quick baker looking for some easy recipes to make in a few hours. The quickest bread in this book takes two days to make, and many breads require three days. If you are obsessed with baking (as am I) and want to elevate your skills tremendously, then definitely buy this beautiful and easy-to-read book. If you're a beginner baker or someone just looking for some quick recipes for dinner, don't purchase this paean to the perfect loaf.
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