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Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads Paperback – October 3, 2006
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In the 1970s, Bernard Clayton's The Complete Book of Breads became the bible for bread bakers everywhere. In the years since its publication, however, new equipment such as dough-mixing attachments and food processors, and new products such as fast-acting yeast and specialty bread flour, have revolutionized the kitchen. A new era requires a new book, and Bernard Clayton has obliged with his New Complete Book of Breads. Here you'll find 200 of Clayton's original recipes from his earlier book, all revised with modern equipment and products in mind. In addition, Clayton includes 100 new recipes gathered during the course of his research and travels as well as his interactions with friends and readers. Whether you're hungry for breads, rolls, muffins, popovers, seasonal favorites, or exotic delights destined to become favorites, you'll find them all in the New Complete Book of Breads. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
No other cooking process can compete with bread baking for sensory satisfaction. The mixing of powdery flours; the living, rising yeast; the tactile pleasure of kneading; the house-filling aroma of baking; and the savor of the final loaf offer a full range of stimuli. Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads updates a baker's classic, and any library that missed the first edition or finds its copy in tatters will want to add this new edition. Clayton comprehensively addresses the home baker's craft, covering white, bran, whole wheat, rye, barley, oat, buckwheat, and sourdough exemplars. Festive, cheese, herb, and flat breads round out this encyclopedia. Chemically leavened quick breads, such as cornbread and biscuits, are also covered. There's even a chapter on baking for dogs! Estimated preparation times for each step of the recipes help bakers avoid sequencing errors. Both the book's breadth and the instructions for storage and troubleshooting add to its reference value. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In a sense, Mr. Clayton is very old school, as he was in a position to consult not only with Julia Child, but also with Craig Claiborne and James Beard, both of which have left us for tables on high. The augmentation of thirty years' effort gives us a volume which weighs in at 685 pages at an exceedingly reasonable $35. Kudos to Simon and Shuster for giving the volume the price of most cookbooks which rarely exceed 300 pages.
While Mr. Clayton arose from an `old school' background, the general technique behind his bread recipes is very modern and will be very welcome to the inexperienced home baker. The heart of his technique for yeast breads is to use the newest incarnation of commercial yeast, typically called `Rapid Rise'. I believe this yeast was specifically developed to work with bread machines. The fact that `Rapid Rise' yeast can be added to dry ingredients without being proofed in warm water and sugar or flour is what distinguishes it from the older `Active Dry' yeast from producers like Red Star and Fleishmans. Virtually every yeast based recipe in the book mixes the yeast with dry ingredients and starts with water at 120 degrees Fahrenheit rather than blooming the yeast in water at about 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
The very best thing about Mr. Clayton's book in comparison to it's closest competitor, `The Bread Bible' by Rose Levy Beranbaum is the fact that Mr. Clayton makes a point of showing you how bread baking can not only be easy, but it can be relatively easy with an incredibly wide range of historically and ethnically interesting breads made with manual kneading, bread machine, stand mixer, and food processor. After reading books by such hyper fussy bakers such as Beranbaum, Silverton, and Reinhart, this is a real revelation. The second best thing about this book is revealed in the title. This is a complete book of BREADS. Note the plural. The most important aspect of the book is that it presents, in depth, recipes for twenty-four different types of breads, including many ethnic favorites. I found, for example, a recipe for the Russian Easter bread, Kulich, a close cousin to the local Lehigh Valley favorite, Paska from the Ukraine. None of the other encyclopedic approaches to bread included this recipe. However, I did recently find it and the true Ukrainian recipe in the new book `Celebration Breads' by Betsy Oppenneer.
The great thing about this variety is that it gives pretty complete coverage to all special needs, such as those who need a gluten-free bread, those who need a yeast-free bread (and are tired of Irish Soda Bread), and those who want healthy, whole grain bread recipes. It even covers recipes for crackers and batter breads and baking for dogs, if you can believe that.
The most amazing thing about the subject of bread baking is that in spite of the great size of this book, it simply does not cover everything, and, what it does cover is done from what is not the only or even the best point of view. While this book does touch on breads made from starters, the book does not deal with this subject in any detail. The book does not even include the words sponge, poolish, or biga in the index. It is on this subject where Ms. Beranbaum really shines. Unlike Mr. Clayton who gives a relatively cursory introduction to the techniques of yeast bread baking, Ms. Beranbaum gives about 90 very detailed pages to the intricacies of artisinal baking with both natural and commercial yeasts. I have already noted Mr. Clayton's focus on `Rapid Rise' yeast and it's techniques. Other writers prefer either `Active Dry' or even moist, `live' yeast that must be refrigerated. Other baking experts such as Peter Reinhart also make compelling arguments for very long rise times, which, in the interest of appealing to the amateur, Clayton does not discuss in depth.
If you want an exceedingly rich source of baking recipes for a very reasonable price with a very friendly voice which will make you confident that you will do well when you bake bread, this is the book for you! If you have no interest in a deep understanding of bread baking or in natural yeast techniques, you will need no other book. If your interest in baking is more professional or more in need of deeper understanding, check out Beranbaum or Reinhart's books.
Highly recommended. Makes bread baking inviting.
However, this book shines for the American kitchen, in which you might not be using all the latest gadgets or have re-created a stone hearth. The recipes work well with the flours available in the grocery store and health food store, whereas you might need to mail order high-ash French-style flours from catalogs if you are working towards artisan breads.
The section on holiday breads like Panettone, Pandoro, challah and stollen are especially good. There is a Finnish bread that I especially admire.
So I find I still pull this book off the shelf when I want to make good bread, but don't want to agonize over getting crackly crusts, gel-like crumb or other artisan features of specialty breads. Easy, reliable and plenty of variety here.
From flat breads to quick breads to pizza doughs to every variety of yeast bread, Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads will never let you down. How could it? Your spirits will rise along with your bread.