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189 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Primer
This is one of the three bread books to which I regularly refer (I'm on my second copy!). Grinding my own grains and baking has been a hobby for twenty-five years. I've never come across a book as well suited to a beginner. I wish it had been around when I started!
There are many whole-grain baking books out there. So many of them are too radical for the average...
Published on December 10, 2000 by JK

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66 of 84 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really, this is a recommendation. No, I'm serious. Just bear with me.
I... ay-yay-yai. How can you be into bread baking and not own this book -- and yet, how much of it can you put up with?

The recipes are fine. The "Loaf for Learning" is a critical introduction to yeast baking with whole grains, and you should go through it before you tackle anything else in the book. It's nicely illustrated (even without photographs), with an...
Published on May 14, 2008 by Brian Connors


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189 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Primer, December 10, 2000
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This is one of the three bread books to which I regularly refer (I'm on my second copy!). Grinding my own grains and baking has been a hobby for twenty-five years. I've never come across a book as well suited to a beginner. I wish it had been around when I started!
There are many whole-grain baking books out there. So many of them are too radical for the average person. I've had books that state that only sourdough can be used for leavening, that baking powder and yeast are 'dishonest'. I've had books that categorically state that the only way to produce whole grain flour is by stone mill or grinder (not true). I've had books that use esoteric ingredients for bread not available to the average home cook.
Laurel eschews dogmatic arguments about whole grain baking. She acknowledges that we all have busy daily schedules with families and work. Better than any whole grain book I've seen, she illustrates that whole grain baking can become an integrated part of a working person's life. Her recipes, particularly those for daily loaves, are reliable. As she states, in the 'old' days some of our loaves would work, some wouldn't. We've learned better, and she illustrates how.
In addition to her recipes, the writing style of the book reminds me of 'Laurel's Kitchen', her all-around vegetarian cookbook. For the beginner, there is a very useful guide to the different ingredients of bread, and the different utensils and appliances available.
Several years after its release, this cookbook remains the most practical and useful guide to whole-grain cooking. Highly recommended.
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114 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bread book for those on carb-sensitive diets, September 18, 2004
This review is from: The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking (Paperback)
In the age of carb-conscious diets where bread has fallen out of vogue, it is difficult to find a good collection of recipes that follows the requirements of the South Beach or Atkins diets. This is especially painful for those who dearly love bread and are willing to switch to whole-grain breads in compliance with such diets. After searching for some time for such a collection, I discovered this title and purchased with high hopes. I have not been disappointed.

This book touts itself as a 100% whole-grain bread book, and it lives up to that claim. Every recipe is based on something other than white flour, usually whole wheat flour, but frequently rye and other good flours are used in primary roles. The authors explain, rightly, that whole grains are better than highly processed flours and that they set out expressly to bring the art of whole grain baking to the readership.

The book begins with a rather lengthy discussion of why the authors have elected to concentrate on whole grain breadmaking. This includes the health issue, but also the "lost art" argument as well. From this preface, they launch into a fascinating collection of recipes: whole wheat breads, rye breads, breads with beans in the dough, milk and egg breads, grain breads, fruit/nut/seed breads, small breads, sprout and potato breads, breads with no salt, breads with rice, and finally muffins and quick breads. After the recipe collection, the book includes a very unique section describing how to rescue failed breads, followed by discussion revolving around the ingredients, a short section about equipment and utilities, and finally bread machine bread making (with a small but decent selection of recipes).

I have tried several of the recipes in this book ,and they have all turned out quite well. One recipe yielded a surprise - the Oatmeal Bread recipe made a good loaf, but the loaf was actually better on the second day. Another choice recipe is the pocket bread (pita) - it makes a lot, and they turn out infinitely better than that found at the grocery store.

Each recipe is laid out in much detail, describing possible pitfalls and things for which to look. There is more detail in this recipe collection than in most, and there should be no trouble in understanding what is required for each step in every recipe.

There is one thing about this book that is not immediately apparent unless you look for it - the recipes do not call for processed sugar as a sweetener. In fact, several recipes do not require sweeteners at all but allow for them on an "as desired" basis. Those that have sweeteners included in the recipe as a required ingredient almost always call for honey, and usually in small amounts. In addition, the authors state their general distaste for processed sugars as sweeteners, which is a good thing for those on special low-carb/low sugar diets.

This book is a must for anyone who wishes to make very good whole-grain breads. It is especially useful to those who are on carb-sensitive diets and cannot bear to part with bread.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want 100 percent whl.-grn.bread, this is the book !, August 4, 2001
By A Customer
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I got my copy of this book a few days ago, and have already made three loaves of bread. My first (the basic get-started recipe) was okay (didn't rise quite as much as I had wanted), but then I figured out how to exactly duplicate Laurel's conditions and have had a GREAT success with the second try. I have also tried one rye recipe and am quite satisfied with those results (I will try again with the rye and am quite confident that by the second loaf, I will have even better success).
Other bread books almost always include white flour in their recipes. This one DOES NOT. The bread is not cottony like white bread; it is far more substantial. If that is what you are looking for, BUY THIS BOOK and FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS as closely as humanly possible. If you do that, you will get GREAT results.
I am on SUGAR BUSTERS which advises against consuming any white flour products at all. I used to make bread many years ago, and decided to try again to get really 100 percent whole-grain bread. This was the ONLY book I could locate that would tell me how to do that.
The directions are detailed and long, but they tell you EXACTLY what to do, and they also tell you why. Read through the directions before you start. Whole wheat requires different techniques than white flour, and whole rye has its own special requirements, as well. This book tells you exactly how to work with each different kind of whole-grain flour to make really good breads. The research behind the book is obvious and impressive.
I probably will not use very many of the special recipes in the book such as French bread, rolls, muffins, etc; I really only wanted a way to make reliably good whole-wheat and whole-rye bread for everyday consumption. I am TOTALLY SATISFIED with what I got. In three tries, I have made three satisfactory (and two of them were really good) loaves of bread after not baking bread for many years.
One caveat: this bread book was written before the advent of bread machines, and the recipes will NOT work in a bread machine. The machines require recipes which contain quite a lot of white flour. This is a book for those who want to make GREAT whole-grain bread BY HAND. By the way, kneading bread is good upper-body exercise.
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87 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Desem, June 7, 2003
The one thing that sets this book apart from all others is not the thorough instructions, or the fact that all the bread recipes use whole grains. It's the recipe for desem bread. "Recipe" doesn't adequately describe the extremely detailed instructions for making this what maybe the ultimate whole-grain, natural-yeast bread. It almost resembles a science experiment, and can be a great project for anyone who is interested in the way flour and water mixed together interacts with whatever bacteria (?) is floating in our air to create natural leavening agents.
And the results? Well, they are simply amazing. This bread literally tastes different every time it's baked - it keeps getting better and better as the desem (which is like a 'mother', a bit of dough you feed and carry on from baking to baking) matures. It's also quite a lot of work - I've let several desems die over the years due to neglect. If you are going away on holiday for some time, expect to have to start over or spend a lot of time reviving the desem (unless you can find a willing friend to pet- I mean, desem-sit for you!) Perhaps keeping a desem doesn't fit a modern lifestyle. Still I keep on starting new desems simply because the flavor is so unforgettable. In any case, get this book, enjoy the other whole-grain breads in there - and eventually, I urge you to try the desem bread.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one true path to whole-grain baking!, July 16, 2004
This review is from: The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking (Paperback)
Most baking books treat whole-grain flour "as though it were white flour, only worse," in the words of the authors of this essential book. Their superior nutritional value aside, whole grains aren't "worse," but they do behave differently from white flour when mixing and kneading bread dough. This 100%-whole-grain book offers the kitchen wisdom that I wish I'd had in my earliest years of baking.
Long before so-called "artisanal" loaves were offered by supermakets, the authors of this fine book were engrossed in the mission of making fine whole-grain bread an attainable staff of life for just about anyone, even with a jam-packed schedule and no money for fancy kitchen equipment. (Laurel astutely notes that such people "probably need good bread more than anyone.") When I bought the first edition of this book more than twenty years ago, I was just such a person. The authors' sensible guidelines for fitting breadmaking into my overfilled work week came as a real revelation. They also helped solve a number of frustrating problems, such as, "Why is my rye dough so slimy?"
Not only can the scheduling fit any situation, the authors argue, but the essential equipment can be minimal. Thankfully I now can rely on a heavy-duty mixer with a dough hook as well as a bread machine. But assuming normal hand and arm strength, you don't absolutely need machines to knead up really good bread: For years my batterie de cuisine comprised only bowls, measuring spoons and cups, a dough cutter, cheap loaf and sheet pans, and my own two hands.
Laurel & Co. provide advice for mixing bread by hand, in a food processor, an electric mixer, and--thanks to the new chapter in this updated edition--in an automatic bread machine that kneads, proofs, and bakes. The authors' troubleshooting advice will help anyone, from first-time breadmaker to an expert, figure out what might go wrong. And when something goes blissfully right, you'll learn which factors will help you achieve similar results again and again.
I'm sorry to read reviews from Amazon readers who baked duds from this book, and hope that they'll try again, starting with "A Loaf for Learning." This detailed chapter is a blueprint to follow from which anyone can turn out high-rising, marvelously tasty, versatile loaves.
Though I have happily divided my loyalties among several books when it comes to baking with white flour, when using strictly whole grains, my loyalty is four-square behind "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book."
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!!!, October 26, 1998
By A Customer
I have been baking bread from this book for at least 10 years. EVERY recipe I've tried has produced light, tasty and totally delicious bread. This book taught me to bake with whole grains and I recommend it with unreserved enthusiasm.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on whole grain breadmaking, May 11, 2000
By 
a foodie (South Carolina) - See all my reviews
Most breadmaking cookbooks, if they cover whole grain baking at all, have recipes which could best be described as "whole-grain flavored bread" since they use a lot of white flour in their recipes. Cooking with 100% whole grain flours is a bit trickier than baking with refined flours, but if you follow the instructions in this book you will end up with excellent bread. Quite simply, if you want to avoid using white flour in your breadmaking, you need this book. Excellent.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's nothing like home-baked bread., April 23, 2006
This review is from: The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking (Paperback)
A splendid cookbook, by now reaching classic status. This book is exactly as advertised, chock-full of delicious whole-grain recipes with not a single 'half white, half whole' recipe in sight. (So many other whole grain books dissappoint in this area, with their idea of whole-grain being a quarter cup of oat groats mixed into white flour...)

While the recipes alone are worth the purchase (ranging from basic breads to sourdough to rich dessert varieties) , the section on learning to bake is priceless. I was quite an experienced white-flour baker when I first picked this up, but whole grains are surprisingly different. It walked me comfortingly through my first loaves, and left me baking for life. :D

This one has joined my collection permanently.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only bread book with enough detail, November 28, 1999
By 
This is the only bread book that I have found that gives enough detail in the instructions and descriptions to make good whole grain bread if you don't already know how. It is not complicated, but there are many important concepts about making good bread that are not obvious if you are not already an expert. This book gives excelent descriptions and teaches the skill of baking.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE whole-grain bread book, November 29, 2004
By 
John Brady (Barton, OH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking (Paperback)
If you're committed to baking whole-grain bread, it would be hard to imagine a better book. The Laurel's Kitchen people present a wide range of recipes that, if followed carefully, will give you first-rate whole grain bread.

I'd especially recommend the book for the novice bread-baker. The introductory instructions are very detailed, helpful, and easy to follow.

I wish that the authors had emphasized slow-fermentation techniques more than they do: in my opinion, the slow-rise approach is the only way to get the best flavor out of whole-grain breads. In fact, the back of the book contains a very good collection of slow-rise techniques, but first-time users of the book aren't likely to find them.

Whole-grain bread, properly made, is the best bread there is; if you want to make it right, get this book!
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The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking
The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking by Laurel Robertson (Paperback - September 9, 2003)
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