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Artisan Baking Across America: The Breads, the Bakers, the Best Recipes Hardcover – October 2, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Cookbook" would be a grave understatement for Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking Across America. With its sumptuous photographs and intimate profiles of the practitioners of this noble craft, it is a loving tribute to the art of baking bread. Beautiful enough to serve as a piece of art on the coffee table, it is nonetheless a practical guide for anyone who wants to bake bread like a pro.

According to Glezer, a professional baker and writer, "artisan baking" refers to the process--part of which must be done by hand--that produces the crusty, European-style breads conjured by careful craftsmanship. Glezer traveled around the country in search of the best breads and bakers in America, convincing them to share their stories, their recipes, and their knowledge of America's artisan bread movement.

At first glance, this book seems only for serious bakers, as many of the recipes are quite complicated, but fortunately each is categorized by skill level--from beginner to advanced--to steer inexperienced bakers away from the trickier recipes. Best of all, the meticulous recipes are scaled-down versions of original bakeshop formulas--levain, ciabatta, dark rye, bialy, and much more--and reproduce the professional excellence of some of the best breads being made today.

Beginning with flour--bread's most important ingredient--Glezer explains the various techniques of artisan baking, details the necessary equipment, defines the language of bread baking, and much more. She goes on to introduce the men and women who have devoted their lives to mastering this intricate craft and shares their most treasured recipes: Rustic Baguettes from the Acme Bread Company in Berkeley, California; Sweet Perrin (pear bread) from Seattle's Essential Baking Company; Kalamata Olive Bread from WheatFields Bakery/Cafe in Lawrence, Kansas; Semolina Filone from Tom Cat Bakery in Long Island City, New York, and many more.

Whether you're serious or just curious about the art of baking bread, this book provides possibly the best education you could find outside of cooking school. Suffice it to say, if one could live on bread alone, this book might very well be the Bible. --Robin Donovan

From Publishers Weekly

Artisan bread bakingDmeaning the production by hand of quality European-style breadsDhas recently taken off in the U.S., and Glezer (contributor to Fine Cooking and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) has done a marvelous job of chronicling its development in this thorough and inviting study of specialty bakeries around the country (including the Acme Bread Company in Berkeley, Calif., and the Pearl Bakery in Portland, Ore.), their breads and how the reader can replicate them at home (with instructions that are exceedingly complete and well organized). Glezer leaves no detail to chance, cautioning, for instance, that measuring spoons often vary significantly and suggesting a specific brand for serious bakers. Along with Corn Bread, Ciabatta and Kalamata Olive Bread, Glezer also includes such specialty breads as Kugelhopf and Pandoro. It's a joy to find Kossar's Bialystoker Kuchen on New York's Lower East Side and the Tom Cat Bakery in Queens, a large artisan shop, among Glezer's selection of jewel-box bakeries. She concludes with a chapter on baking competitions run by the Bread Bakers Guild of America and its judging criteria (by which readers can gauge their own breads' success). Like the delicate and rugged breads she serves up, Glezer's book is top-notch all the way. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan (October 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579651178
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579651176
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
No one book stands out as the definitive manual for artisan bread baking, but this is definitely one to go alongside the other classics on your bookshelf: "Crust and Crumb," "The Village Baker," "Breads of LaBrea," "Bread Alone," etc. For me, Steve Sullivan's recipe for his rustic baguette was worth the price of the book. Anyone who has been to Acme and tasted one of those baguettes will attest, it doesn't get much better. I took my family there for breakfast while on vacation, and for as much bread as they have tasted in my kitchen, they knew they were experiencing something special. And, with the exception of his chapter in the Chez Panise cookbook, Steve doesn't appear to make his recipes known. Ms Glezer's instructions are a little confusing, but I figured it out and had great results the first time out. Now, on to some of those other recipes.
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By A Customer on January 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After seeing this book at my local book store, I mentioned to my wife that it would make a wonderful Christmas present, knowing she usually takes this hints. However, I could hardly wait until Christmas Day, yes I received it, and almost bought it because I could not wait to get into it. This book is fabulous and has not dissappointed me in anyway, just the opposite. That is why I say it is inspiring. I have had it for a little over one week, have read most of the book, and tried about 6 receipes. All with wonderful results. What I appreciate most is the detail on why I am doing what I am during the baking process and how it affects the end results. Both my family, and friends who have received loaves as gifts, like the results as well. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
First, a warning: I am interested both in baking delicious bread and understanding some of what's happening in my bread in the process of making it. And I bake almost entirely sourdough.
I thought that parts of this book were interesting. It certainly has gorgeous pictures of delicious looking bread. The descriptions of bakeries were wonderful. What I found odd was that the descriptions of why some things are done (especially in the sourdough and rye chapters) seemed a little weak. And I didn't think that the recipes were very interesting.
The take home parts of this book were, for me: (1) the descriptions of how the bakers operate, what they do to their bread. Those gave me ideas to try on my own bread. (2) It is a beautiful coffee table book. I've seen none better on bread..
However, if I wanted to learn more about BREAD, I would go to something like Bread Builders by Daniel Wing and Allen Scott or some analogous book for yeasted breads.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been baking bread for fun for about 20 years, and spent
a wonderful vacation week baking various recipes from this book.
The strength of the book is that the recipes almost all produce
an interesting bread -- one you'd want to sample in a bread store
just to see how it tasted. Many recipes, such as the roasted
garlic bread and the potato pizza are outstanding.
The one nuisance is that, for all its focus on precise
measurements (one recipe calls for 1 and 3/4 cups water plus
three tablespoon) often the proportions are a little off (even
if you weigh carefully). Also, the rising instructions often
focus on elapsed time and don't describe well enough how the
dough should look.
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Format: Hardcover
I cannot understand the reviewers who said that this book is not good for beginners, that the instructions are not clear enough. It went into great detail, describing how the bread should look and feel throughout the process, of great import for me as I have almost no experience with bread baking. I am however, experienced with reading recipes. That's all the skill and experience you need to make the highest quality bread using this book. The big pages minimize the need to turn pages during baking. The steps are sectioned out so that the baker can clearly see what needs to be done when. It also offers instructions for mixing by hand, by mixer, and by food processor, which many bakers will find extremely helpful. The large pictures show you what the results should look like, and if you follow the instructions carefully, your bread will mirror the pictures closely. I disagree strongly with the reviewers who criticised the teaching merit of the book. Take a look at the pictures I've posted and you can see the results for yourself. If you follow carefully the instructions and your instincts, this is will be the bread making book of your dreams.
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Format: Hardcover
I've tried them all and have given most positive reviews. Those reviews were primarily a function of the fact that each book had some wisdom to impart. Most had recipes for at least one decent bread, but I had found none that were consistently excellent. That is, until Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking...". This is a must have! The ciabatta bread and foccacia bread recipes are first rate and as good as anything you'll purchase at your local bakery. Instructions are clear and measurements are given in both weight and volume. Furrther, Ms. Glezer describes the consistency of various doughs in layman's terminology, allowing even the novice to produce excellent results. If you are serious about your baking, then this is a must have. The size is, admittedly a bit large, but that does allow you to have all your instructions in plain sight and eliminates having to turn the page with messy hands. Throw away your Peter Reinhart texts, this is the ultimate for home-based artisan bakers.
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