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The Tassajara Bread Book Paperback – February 15, 2011
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“The bible for bread baking.”—The Washington Post
“A baking Zen priest after [our] own heart!”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“This was the first cookbook I ever bought for myself back when it was first published. To this day, I consider The Tassajara Bread Book to have been a major influence not just on my cooking and baking, but on my attitude and philosophy about food in general. Thank you, Ed Brown, for this lasting gift.”—Mollie Katzen, author of Moosewood Cookbook
“I feel a special fondness for this book, which helped launch me on my way to baking bread. Edward Brown’s warmth shines through on every page, the recipes remain wonderfully unusual (I love the three-layer corn bread, which I’ve never seen elsewhere), and the overall experience is one of brilliant simplicity.”—Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything
“Like thousands of cooks of my generation, I have in my kitchen an ancient volume of The Tassajara Bread Book, its cover gritty with flour, its spine cracked from use, its pages stained with molasses, and dog-eared with decades of perusal. It is the book that taught me how to make bread and its simple wisdom has been present in every loaf I have baked. I will recommend it with enthusiasm to a new generation of cooks.”—Steve Raichlen, author of The Barbeque Bible
About the Author
Edward Espe Brown began cooking and practicing Zen in 1965. He was the first head resident cook at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center from 1967 to 1970. He later worked at the celebrated Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, serving as busboy, waiter, floor manager, wine buyer, cashier, host, and manager. Ordained a priest by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, he has taught meditation retreats and vegetarian cooking classes throughout North America and Europe. He is the author of several cookbooks and the editor of Not Always So, a book of lectures by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. He is the subject of the critically acclaimed 2007 film How to Cook Your Life.
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Top customer reviews
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My first copy is about 40 years old, and still the best!
For those that aren't familiar with this book, it's more like bread theory in an easy and laid-back to read, almost proverbial form. Lots of basic tips which I've even applied to other types of cooking not in this book. IE, how to care for yeast, start new sour-dough starters from rice, rules for oil and eggs. All bakers stand to gain from this book. This book is next to my copy of Joy of Cooking.
Tassajara Bread Book was written around the Zen Center in San Francisco in the 60s, originally published in 1970. The story I heard growing up, which I don't think is in the book, was that Zen practitioners get a task associated with their meditation, and this book is an example of the results of one of those tasks. For the author, Edward Espe Brown, this was supposedly his task to master. In the book, Edward describes bread-making as his calling.
Was pleasantly surprised to see this is hard-back. One of the books was not in ideal condition, the spine was mis-glued. Has a few color images.
"Flowers are angels from distant stars come down to earth with their heavenly message. The more time you spend with them, the more you touch them, tend them, sit with them, regard them, the more you hear their message." ... "To wait on yeast is to feed, keep house, keep it warm, clean its air, empty its garbage, and cater to it's whims. Getting angry at its failings does not help. Providing patient, loving care and food for growth does...."
1) Clear, very detailed instuctions on all the nuts-n-bolts tecniques that seem so intimidating, like how to knead the dough properly (well described and well illustrated)
2) Wonderful array of variations on the basic bread recipe
3) breakfast pastry section will really wow anyone coming over for brunch
4) Said it before but I'll say it again: Anyone who wants to learn to bake bread will succeed. Really, anyone.
5) Bread machines simple do not turn out anything as good as the 'real deal'.
Hard-to-find book but WELL worth the search.
My children have learned to turn to the most stained pages for the best recipes. They have added their own notes, and my original 1972 copy (now liberally taped together) is a family heirloom.
The new edition has added a few recipes, but the basic philosophy remains.
I recommend this book to my yeast-impaired friends and family, and give it frequently as a wedding present. To my mind, this is one of the essential cookbooks you need to have.