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Cookbook Review: Ultimate Bread

Review of Ultimate Bread by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno.

This is one of the favorite cookbooks in my admittedly sparse collection. I always wanted to bake bread, and this was suggested to me as a good place to start. The book starts out with a mouthwatering “Gallery of Breads”, with pictures of breads from around the world and explanations of the various types. That’s enough to get your hands itching to get into some dough.

Next the authors explain all the tools and methods for bread-making, with large informative images that you will come back to again and again. As a beginner, I started out at the top, with their “Pan Ordinaire” or Basic Bread. It came out of the oven all golden brown and perfect. What a great feeling!

I moved on to several other recipes in their basic bread section, like Portuguese Corn Bread, Scots Baps and Country Oatmeal bread. Each recipe has a huge picture of how the bread is supposed to turn out. (and for the most part, mine looked pretty similar).

What I absolutely love about this book, aside from it’s great detail and pictures, is that it gives you a section called “Flavored Breads”.  I’ve never before seen a book with recipes for Carrot Bread (incredible, moist and dense and slightly sweet), Pumpkin bread,  Cheese bread (a flat bread a crunchy crust and cheddar cheese melted all over it), Walnut Bread,  Tomato and Red Onion bread, and even Dark Chocolate Bread! This cookbook really gets your imagination revved up, and I’m still excited by all the possibilities. Too bad it’s too hot to bake right now!

Oh, I forgot about the Rolled Stromboli- rolled hearth bread filled with smoked mozzarella and fresh basil. And the Foccacia filled with mozzarella and gorgonzola. Oh my! Imagine the entertaining you can do!

Next is the section on enriched breads, where you add butter, oil or eggs to make the dough softer. Here you have Brioche, Parker House Rolls and Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

The they take you through flatbread from Greece, Turkey, Italy and the Middle East. They go quickly through the quick breads and into Festive Breads. Here they show you how to make a Christmas Stollen, a Challah, Pan de Muerto and Epiphany bread.

It’s a trip through Breadland that you won’t want to miss, even if you don’t bake them. This book gets 5 stars!

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