December 15, 2009

Book review: The Tassajara Bread Book (Edward Espe Brown)

I love bread.  I love the way it tastes, I love the way it feels.  I love its versatility, and I love the way the perfume of baking bread fills a house and makes it smell like a home.  Making it, on the other hand, intimidates me… it’s always appeared as real work, with yeast appearing to be one of the most temperamental of ingredients in the kitchen.  Until now.  Edward Espe Brown’s revised edition of the 1970 classic approaches bread making in a manner that makes me want to spend a day just staying home and making breads of all sorts.

Containing recipes for yeasted and unyeasted breads as well as muffins, a variety of desserts, butters, and frostings, this book is the perfect companion to The Complete Tassajara Cookbook, which I reviewed not too long ago (click on the title for its review).  Complete with beautiful, color photographs of the various breads and desserts contained within its pages, this book takes the work out of bread baking and inserts a level of warmth and respect for the process of making bread itself without making it feel like years of experience in the kitchen is necessary before taking on this activity.

Highly recommended for anyone regardless of how much cooking experience you have; it made my list of top books of 2009.  From Shambhala Publications and available from your local, independent bookseller.  (Shop local and independent, and tell them you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

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