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Savory Baking from the Mediterranean: Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, and Other Breads Hardcover – August 7, 2007


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Savory Baking from the Mediterranean: Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, and Other Breads + Mediterranean Street Food: Stories, Soups, Snacks, Sandwiches, Barbecues, Sweets, and More from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East + Lebanese Cuisine: More Than 250 Authentic Recipes From The Most Elegant Middle Eastern Cuisine
Price for all three: $52.36

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (August 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060542195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060542191
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 7.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Helou's (Mediterranean Street Food) latest, breads that are often overlooked get a star turn: pitas that enfold spicy meats, pillowy focaccia that serves as a platter for rich tomato sauce and flatbreads used to scoop up hummus. Helou draws on cultures from around the region to offer everything from Piquitos (rich Spanish breadsticks) to Sicilian eggplant bread rolls, a lamb-filled Cretan Easter Pie to Moroccan Triangles with Minced Meat, with the similarities between ingredients and preparations demonstrating how much the cultures share despite national divisions. Along with entries as familiar and simple as the aptly named Regular Italian Bread and classic Neapolitan Pizza, Helou delves into less charted territory with recipes like the dazzling sweet Greek Holy Bread and the flavorful Lebanese Strained Yogurt Triangles. Unfortunately for a book about such a colorful region, the accompanying photos of bakers and breads are all in black and white, but home cooks who just want the goods will appreciate the straightforward, easy-to-follow steps and the often detailed remarks about ingredients, history and preparation that preface many of the recipes. Helou has created a paean to the foundation of Mediterranean food. (Aug.)
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Review

“Annisa Helou’s books are the only hopeful sign I see coming out of the Middle East these days...” (Raymond Sokolov, author of A Canon of Vegetables)

“Anissa Helou has brought back wonderful recipes...and presents them with engaging charm...” (Claudia Roden, author of Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon)

“...a comprehensive look at a fascinating subject.” (- Nancy Harmon Jenkins, author of Cucina del Sole)

“...Hurray for [Anissa’s] regional research. My copy bristles with many markers; my fingers yearn to plunge into the doughs.” (Carol Field, author of The Italian Baker, Celebrating Italy, and Italy in Small Bites)

“Anissa has done it again; I wouldn’t have believed it possible... Her newest contribution will inspire many bakers. (Mark H. Furstenberg, Founder of Marvelous Market and The BreadLine and co-owner of Ma-Mi Bistro and Bakery)

I love the spirit of this book. (Alice Waters, Chez Panisse)

“Helou has created a paean to the foundation of Mediterranean food.” (Publishers Weekly)

“...unlocks the mysteries of all these lovely little breads...” (NPR.org)

A New York Times Best Book of 2007“If Western notions of ‘the Mediterranean diet’ are moving from naive cliches to better understanding, writers like Anissa Helou have had a lot to do with the change...” (New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Matthew K. Morgan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll be honest - I bought this book having never seen it, thinking it would be a book specifically about flatbreads and other specialty breads from the Mediterranean. I am interested in expanding my horizons into flatbreads and eastern breads, so this book looked like a good possibility in that regard. It does cover these, but it's not specifically about flatbreads.

Many tomes on bread emphasize travels and personal anecdotes. This is not the case with this book. There is a brief (14 pages) intro at the beginning that has some personal insights and thoughts, but that's almost all there is for personal reflections - immediately after the introduction, it plunges in to the formulas.

Each recipe has a description, but these descriptions tend to be brief and specific. There are occasional personal notes attached at these points, but the author does not consume a lot of effort in these write-ups. Instead, she gives a short bit of background or history regarding each formula before giving the formula itself.

There are some top-notch recipes in this book! I did get what I wanted in terms of flatbreads - there are mutiple recipes for focaccia, and all of them are very different in terms of the final result. Emphasis is on authenticity, and with each region there is a different "standard" - the author does a splendid job of pointing out the differences.

Where I am in uncharted waters, though, involves some of the recipes included that use meats and fish. The book includes several recipes that call for anchovies - I likely will never try those, simply because I prefer anchovies on the side. Regardless, some breads are an entire meal unto themselves, and this is in line with the traditions of the region.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Weissman on December 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Got what I needed from this book; a good selection of Mediterranean cracker, flatbread, rusk, etc. recipes not limited to the usual Italian suspects. The ones I have tried work as written, which is not always the case in baking books.

A few of the recipes seem to wander off to the very edge of what I would call savory baking, with meats and fish and other ingredients. You could consider this a bonus or not, as your temperament dictates.

No other book covers all of this ground, so this is the one you need.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dan on August 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I checked this book out from the local library just by the title. I now own the bok, and little did I know that it would create a passion for baking within.

The recipes are straight forward and easy to follow. Some are simpler than others but not so complex that you get lost in translation. The imagery included is nice as it is a glimpse into the founding world of these styles of baking.

I've played around with several of the recipes and haven't had any troubles. The only thing that has confused me is the explainations of some of the rolling and shaping techniques. Other than these few small kinks, it is a very easy book to follow and grow off of. I had no experience with breads and savory baking before this book came along.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like this book, interesting, but don't use it, partly because the spices in a lot of the more interesting recipes are too hard to get and the recipes are not interesting enough to go to great lengths to get them. A lot of it is street food from the middle East. if you want to try exotic forms of things like pizza, that you might not think of as pizza, or pine for Syrian street food buy this book
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8 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Charles T. Mckinney on April 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Admittedly a book about flatbreads but not what I had hoped it would be. Recipes seem straightforward but not the most appetizing fare I could imagine, i.e., I would not use any of the recipes if I were preparing a meal for guests. It might be fun to play around with and experiment with some of the recipes but I can't imagine actually wanting to spend the time and effort making these breads. At best, it will fill a little-used niche in my collection of bread books. I can't recommend it for more than an esoteric group of bread bakers.
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