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Beard on Bread [Tapa blanda]

James A. Beard

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Amazon.com: 4.6 de un máximo de 5 estrellas  76 opiniones
82 de 85 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
3.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas An irreplaceable cookbook with drawbacks you should know 5 de marzo de 2010
Por Robin - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
Beard on Bread is a unique bread cookbook. Written before the food craze began, it was written in part, to help home cooks duplicate the bread that their mothers and grandmothers made. To this end it gets home cooks back in touch with the miracle of yeast, the smell of bread dough and the sheer joy of making bread. Beard begins with what we used to think of as "plain" bread and moves on to a wide range of multigrain breads, sweet breads and breads that are traditionally American.

Though it has drawbacks I love this cookbook, and, over the last thirty years, have made every recipe in it.

What's best about this cookbook, and what makes it irreplacebable is this:

1. Tested recipes with excellent introductions. Beard on Bread was written after James Beard spent hours and hours working with dough and writing down what he thought. The recipes are introduced with his take on each. Some of the recipes come from other cookbooks, and their authorship is attributed. (How refreshing!) Beard tells you when he considers a recipe experimental, and when he is not terribly enthusiastic about the type of bread (sourdough). He also tells you when to go look at a different cookbook. His recipe for french bread is "french style" and tells the reader to consult Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, if a more authentic version is desired.

2. Clear instuctions and illustrations. If you begin with the introduction of this book, you will get a very good idea of how to make a basic loaf, and go from there. Kneading is illustrated, and there are illustrations of the loaf pans you will need.

3. A progression of difficulty. Beard begins with recipes he believes are easiest to master and progresses from there. He tells you when dough is going to be sticky and hard to work. He tells you not to give up! And he is right. Some of these recipes are a bear to knead.

So, why not five stars?

The reason this book is not five stars has to do with changes in taste and technique in American cooking.

1. Taste: Beard on Bread was written when most Americans considered bread to be a bland slice of white bread, and "homemade" bread to be a slice of white bread with quite a bit of milk and sugar. His basic white style bread, set out in a very small recipe, won't taste all that great, unless you use a very good flour, preferably KA. His homestyle bread seemed sweet to me. If you want to make an excellent homestyle white bread, I would strongly suggest the Fannie Farmer cookbook, or the one on the bag of King Arthur Flour. Beard also likes his bread sweet. The addition of sugar is necessary everywhere he puts it, but I have found that some breads, such as his pumpernickel recipes are too sweet for savory sandwiches. I cut back, accordingly, on sweeteners.

2. Technique: Beard on Bread preceeded the foodprocessor/dough hook/bread machine revolution. Personnally I would ditch the bread machine, but using a foodprocessor with a kneading blade or a dough hook can do great things for your cooking, and make bread making routine rather than an event. In fact, many recipes are easier and better if you begin the kneading process with the processor, but finish it by hand. The problem with using the food processor is that many of the recipes can only be adapted with trial and error. If you have very heavy duty Cusinart food processor you may be able to do most of these recipes in the machine--but your ingredients must be cold or you will make a terrible mess and overheat the machine. (Beard always calls for warm ingredients.) If you have another food processor you may be able to use warm ingredients, but be careful about overloading. Most of the time I have split large recipes into two kneading batches, but that is not always easy.

As I have used the book I have filled it with notes that have helped my cooking. My two favorite recipes are Cornmeal Bread and Jane Grigson's Walnut Bread.

Cornmeal Bread- If you use a Cusinart, cook the cornmeal early in the day and cool in the frig. Beard says this creates a "well risen" loaf, but I have had to double the yeast to get the usual amount of rising. This means four packets of yeast for the recipe, or two per loaf. The bread is very sweet and some bakers may want to cut back a bit once they have tried the original recipe. My family loves it the way it is written.

Jane Grigson's Walnut Bread-This bread is absolutely delicious. It includes a lot of onion and walnut oil. (Beard says the walnut oil is optional but I would not make the bread without it.) The recipe fails to mention that the loaves will be very brown.

The cheese bread is delicious. The result tastes a lot like cheddar, even if you use the parmesian cheese suggested.

English muffin bread required no kneading and the result is excellent. I did not have good results with the Microwave English Muffin bread, possibly because I have a very small microwave.

Good luck.
47 de 48 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Ditch the machine. Make the flour fly. You knead this book. 4 de marzo de 1997
Por Un cliente - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
O.K., the bread produced by your soulless bread machine tastes just fine and you have learned some techniques for disguising it's tell-tale tank shape. But haven't you wondered what it would be like to get you hands in the dough? To change and rearrange things a little for variety every now and then? To smell the yeast as it proofs? To experiment with different flours and additives? To pull dried dough from the hairs on the back of your hand for several hours after a session of bread baking?
Let James Beard lead you through the joys of making real bread with you in command--not according to the programmed instruction of some microchip with less RAM than you had on your desktop in 1982.
Beard's book is an excellent guide to some great breads. He offers a good basic white bread recipe for your first loaf. It is easy and it makes a single loaf. Thus, you get to learn the art of proofing yeast, kneading, and following basic instructions before you invest in exotic flours, herbs, baking pans, etc.
I have especially enjoyed the classic Graham bread and the Maryetta's oatmeal bread recipes. The latter can be easily converted to a raisin bread with a little cinnamon, raisins and granulated sugar rolled into the dough before baking. You can really take these recipes and ad lib a little after you learn what you are doing.
And, the Graham bread: third time's a charm. Just remember that the baking time is additive: ten minutes at 425 degrees then another 30 to 35 minutes at 350. It's not clear from his text and my first batch was a little chewier than I would have liked. But, fully cooked, this bread is a show stopper when company comes. You can begin to appreciated bread as the staff of life with hearty breads like this one.
Try the great yeast-leavened buckwheat pancakes. They are well worth an investment in some Vermont maple syrup. And don't dare spread margarine on any of Beard's breads. He uses butter liberally in his recipes. He butters his pans. He recommends spreading butter on every finished bread. And, according to the brief bio in the endmatter, it finally killed him when he was 81.
Enjoy.
Use your bread machine to hold the pages open while you mix your dough.
33 de 37 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Great Variety for the casual baker for small cost. Nice Read 24 de febrero de 2005
Por B. Marold - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
`Beard on Bread' is one volume of a series on specific culinary topics by leading American culinary writer, James Beard. While fellow experts who knew him such as James Villas attribute Beard with an encyclopedic knowledge of food, he was not particularly an expert on bread. So, what we get in this book is an excellent selection of recipes covering a wide range of uses and techniques, but without the depth of understanding about breadbaking and its techniques which you get in books from Peter Reinhart, Nancy Silverton, or Rose Levy Beranbaum. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Cookbooks full of relatively simple recipes from a very reliable source for a small list price are always valuable to a wide audience. And, if you are reading this review, the chances are good that this book is more appropriate to your needs than one of the bread books from those leading lights I cited above.

Dedications of books are generally relatively uninteresting, as they are most commonly made to close family members who had a lot to do with the author's surviving the experience of writing the book, but little to do with inspiration on the content of the book. This book's dedication is revealing, in that it is to the great English culinary writer, Elizabeth David, who, in addition to her famous books on the cuisine of France, Italy, and the Mediterranean, was the proud author of a superb book on English breads and baking. I am in the middle of reading that book now, and I am genuinely surprised that the book is not cited more than it is by other authors. It is a large book with really substantial sections on both the technology of bread baking and the history of bread baking in England. If you are familiar with David's book, Beard's book is, in comparison, a minor work whose survival in print rests largely on the reputation of the author and the fact that it does give us lots of good recipes at a low cost.

Beard is well known for having created something of a little book writing shop staffed by disciples who wrote most of the actual text attributed to Beard. The most prominent of these are Barbara Kafka and Marian Cunningham, both of whom are easily charter members in an American cookbook hall of fame for their own work. And, if they are not, they should be. But this book, I suspect, has just a little more of James Beard in it than most published under his name. Biographies of Beard often cite how he constantly experimented with bread recipes, even though this was not his speciality. Oddly enough, if he can be said to have any speciality more specific than American Cuisine, it is probably grilling and outdoors cooking.

The best thing about this book aside from the pedigree of its author is its range of subjects. Without touching on artisinal baking, Beard manages to touch just about everything else the world calls bread. The principle subjects are:

Basic Yeast Bread and other White-Flour Breads

Whole Wheat Breads

Sweetened Breads and Coffee Cakes

Egg Breads

Batter Breads

Baking Powder and Soda Breads

Rolls

Flat Breads

Filled Breads

Fried Cakes

Griddle Breads

The fact that this book was first written in 1973, just before the explosion in food interest in the United States means that much of what is in the book has just a touch of the retro about it. I am happy to find that `instant' yeast had just become available before this book was written and Beard took this opportunity to comment on it. I am especially happy to discover that while Beard recognized that it might be faster than the more familiar `active dry' yeast, he believes its results were simply not as flavorful as the older dried yeast.

My favorite example of a retro recipe is the pancake recipe in the last chapter that leavens these goodies with yeast rather than with buttermilk and baking soda or baking powder. Thus, Beard's Yeast Griddle Cakes no longer qualify as quick breads, since it is advised that the starter be mixed and let to sit overnight. If one wonders why in the world one would want to make pancakes with yeast, you have to remember that yeast was available before commercially prepared baking powder, and, buttermilk or vinegar may not have been as commonly available as the yeast, since yeast was such a good leavener for lots of breads for which chemical leaveners did not work.

To those for whom this is important, this is a very homey book. Lots of recipes are borrowed from friends and acquaintances, only a few, like Jane Grigson, are recognizable culinary writers. Note that many traditional breads such as brioche are not made by a traditional recipe. Virtually every brioche recipe I have ever seen, even in books on `easy cooking' ask for an 8-hour rise, preferable longer, overnight. Beard's recipe does not do this. His brioche recipe can be done in about the time it takes to make a classic white bread loaf. Thus, this is not the book for someone interested in professional bread baking or even an amateur approximation of classic professional recipes. This is a book which is fun to read and a great source of inspiration when you just happen to want to try some old school bread making.

My only caveat is that unlike books from the experts listed above, there is little information to help figure out what may have gone wrong if the recipe does not come out as expected. And, bread baking simply does require just a bit more skill than you average savory dish.
29 de 34 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
3.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Not the best, but still worth having 16 de julio de 1997
Por Un cliente - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
I have quite a few James Beard books. If you like his style, you won't be disappointed with this one-as usual, the instructions on technique and so on are very clearly presented, and the illustrations are attractive. However, you may find some of the recipes overly endowed with fat content (well, this is James Beard after all!) and somewhat biased against some very popular categories of bread, such as sourdough or wholemeal types of breads. For a more comprehensive bread book, I would recommend Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads over this one; and if you're a real beginner when it comes to hand-kneaded (non-bread machine) bread, you can't beat the bread technique section of Julia Child's The Way to Cook. But it's still a book well worth having on your cookbook shelf, together with its sister book, Beard on Pasta (which I would rate a bit higher than this one.
15 de 17 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas A quirky and kind teacher standing over your shoulder 10 de octubre de 2001
Por Un cliente - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
Breadmaking can be great fun once you know how to do it, but for a novice, it can seem more time and frustration than it's worth. When you're struggling to make that first loaf, James Beard reminds you not to be too hard on yourself. After all, he notes, bread doesn't come out perfect every time, even for the best bakers. Just keep experimenting and you'll eventually get it right.
Beard's reassuring words and sound advice certainly worked for me. I've found his recipes easy-to-follow and the results tasty. Every good food writer has his or her quirks. Other reviewers have commented on Beard's liberal use of butter. I'll warn you that he also has a real affinity for salt (and admits as much in a footnote to his basic white bread recipe). I've noticed that similar recipes in other cookbooks call for half the amount of salt that Beard uses!
In any case, these things are a matter of taste and the recipes are easily adjusted to suit your own. The important thing is that Beard teaches the basics better than anyone.
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