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Bread Bible: Beth Hensperger's 300 Favourite Recipes Paperback – 29 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; New edition edition (29 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811845265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811845267
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 20.3 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 534,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
The simple pleasure of savoring homemade fresh bread reminds us of how wonderful the basic integrity of premium-quality ingredients is. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Mar 2001
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book last year and have great fun trying out the recipes. The hamburger roll recipe makes rolls that are perfect. The Danish pastries, whilst time consuming, are worth every minute. They vanished very quickly! Her recipes seem a bit strange, at first, if you are not used to using American measures, but they are easily converted. A good book for the novice and experienced baker.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Haznut on 21 Dec 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having recently discovered the wonderful world of bread and baking I bought this book to satisfy my kneading urges!! The recipes are fairly okay although they are a little bit hard to follow. This is mainly due to the fact that the recipes include American measurements such as cups, sticks etc. Tablespoons of butter are also mentioned which I admit I find pretty strange! I think I expected this book to be more basic bread recipe based but there are quite a lot of exotic bread recipes included and also lots of recipes for the bread maker machine which hold no interest for me whatsoever! I was a little disappointed overall with this book, unfortunately, and think the book title may be a little misleading:-(
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 91 reviews
122 of 129 people found the following review helpful
A Bible for the Home, but not for the Seminary 16 Jan 2004
By B. Marold - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is the first of two books by the same name `The Bread Bible' written by Beth Hensperger and published by Chronicle Books in 1999. The second book with this title, written by Rose Levy Beranbaum and published by W. W. Norton & Company in 2003 I have reviewed earlier, before I discovered this title.
This occurrence is actually a rare good fortune, as it gives us a chance to compare two essays of exactly the same subject and pick that effort which does the better job on the subject. Both authors appear to have ample credentials for the chuzpah required to write a book with such a pretentious title. Ms. Hensperger has written five other books on bread baking and Ms. Beranbaum has written three other large, well received books on baking, two of which are also `bibles' on their topics.
Ms. Hensperger gives us 473 pages of text and 21 pages of index at $32.50 while Ms. Beranbaum gives us 608 pages of text and 21 pages of index for $35.00. Ms. Hensperger gives us 25 very useful introductory pages on equipment, flour, and general techniques. Ms. Beranbaum gives us 62 pages of what I considered to be a model of culinary writing on the ten essential steps to making bread. This is the first sign that Ms. Beranbaum is aiming at a much more sophisticated audience than Ms. Hensperger.
Ms. Hensperger gives us no color photographs or diagrams illustrating techniques. The few line drawings seem to be primarily for decoration. Ms. Beranbaum's book provides four sections of full color photographs of the baked products essayed in the book. She also provides many pages of expertly done line drawings illustrating baking techniques such as the `business letter fold', layering foccacia with herbs, and making sticky buns. Other line drawings give very good pictures of baking equipment.
Ms. Hensperger's Table of Contents with the name of each and every recipe spelled out is much more to my taste than Ms. Beranbaum's simple chapter headings. Fitting Ms. Hensperger's home baker orientation, she has two whole chapters devoted to using a food processor and a bread machine for bread recipes. Ms. Beranbaum discusses bread machines, finds useful things they can do, but ultimately keeps them on the sidelines due to their small capacity and the tendency of most to heat the dough, causing a too fast rise in the dough for optimum taste. Rose is certainly not a Luddite, as she makes extensive use of the KitchenAid stand mixer and its big brother the Hobart stand mixer. I prefer to not use bread machines. If you are comfortable with them, Ms. Hensperger may have more to offer you.
It is no surprise that both authors deal with brioche. Ms. Hensperger includes four recipes for brioche and three variations. All are embedded in a chapter on egg breads including Challah. Ms. Beranbaum devotes a whole chapter of 45 pages to brioche, including Challah, cinnamon buns, panettone, and a provocatively named `stud muffin'. Lots of variations on each recipe are given. As with all recipes, Ms. Beranbaum's approach is much more detailed and precise. The most obvious sign is that all of Rose's recipes give ingredients in both volume and weight in imperial and metric units. This feature alone would swing my choice in favor of Ms. Beranbaum's work. Another example of Rose's precision is that she specifies the high gluten brands of all-purpose flour rather than simple `all-purpose flour. I am constantly amazed at the variety in recipes for brioche. Like every other authoritative recipe, both recommend an overnight rise, but the two recipes start the sponge in much different ways, with Ms. Beranbaum using a much more finicky approach, being very careful to avoid exposing the yeast in the sponge to salt than Ms. Hensperger. When separating the dough to be put into molds, Ms. Hensperger is unconcerned about differences in size. Ms. Beranbaum is not compulsive about same sizes, but does recommend a scale to achieve uniform amounts of dough in the molds.
Neither author oversimplifies her procedures, but Rose Beranbaum consistently gives a much more professional instruction and a deeper understanding about what is going on along the way. Both have an ample amount of passion and love for what they are doing. If you are a home baker and can find Ms. Hensperger's book at a good discount, you will not go wrong. If you are a baking hobbyist or even aspiring to being a professional baker, then Ms. Beranbaum's book is the one you want. Both are excellent. Ms. Beranbaum and her publishers seem to have invested much more energy, money, and precision into their volume.
Judging from other reviewers comments, some errors have been detected in this book. The same is true of Ms Beranbaum's book. This issue is a wash and I have stopped holding a small number of minor errors like that against cookbooks.
49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
What a wonderful bread baking experience 9 Sep 2007
By Erin O. Clayton - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is just wonderful! I have been baking bread by hand for several years now and have thouroughly enjoyed it, but this book has helped me to stretch beyond the recipe and try some new things. In the past 2 weeks, I think I have made 7 recipes out of this book. I just can't seem to stop. The Bulgur Oatmeal bread, I think, is the best bread I have ever tasted. Absolutely AMAZING! I also made the Sesame Burger Buns, Whole Wheat Long Rolls, Vienna Bread, Pain Campagne and Farm-Style White Bread with Cardamom. I have probably 200 cookbooks and this is my new favorite! A must read!
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Fabulous, versatile book 13 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I LOVE this book. It has lots and lots of recipes for whole grain breads, white breads, rustic breads, quick breads, flat breads, etc, etc. However, what sets her book apart from other "comprehensive" books is the quality of the recipes. I am constantly picking up my copy of the Bread Bible to try something new, and I haven't been disappointed in the results yet. She also gives great pointers on ingredients and methods, and tells you how to convert "by hand" recipes to recipes for either the food processor or bread machine. The book doesn't have photographs in it like some, but frankly, if they had to make room for photos there wouldn't be so many great recipes, so that suits me just fine. It's beautifully designed and easy to read. It's a pleasure to own this book.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Every recipe has come out great! 14 Oct 2007
By Elizabeth Jones - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. It is by far, the easiest, most delicious bread recipe book I have owned. Without getting overly technical it gives recipes and tips for making wonderful home cooked bread. I don't have a bread maker, but there are plenty of those recipes as well. I made the mountain white bread first and it made wonderful sandwiches for lunch. Next, I made banana bread that was so moist and delicious I've already had requests for more.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
easy home recipes -- amazing gourmet results 14 Feb 2000
By Fortune R. Elkins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Beth Hensperger writes excellent recipes -- common sense, easy to follow, no errors. And the results are incredible!
This to my mind is the best cookbook I've bought since Deborah Madison's. Beth emphasizes simple, elegant baking that focuses on the ingredients.
She offers great recipes for the food processor and the bread machine. Most of the recipes, in fact, can actually be made in the food processor -- she offers advice to help you convert a "by hand" recipe to a "by machine" one.
For example...
My husband particularly loved her "Artichoke, Pepper, and Eggplant Pie." The recipe is easily made in a food processor; you can use frozen artichoke hearts and canned tomatoes (Muir Glen gives the best results).
I made the dough in the food processor, left it to rise, washed out the work bowl and then used it to chop the onion, peppers, and eggplant. Then I tossed all the vegetables in a pan to saute for 15 mins. 20 mins. prep in all and I didn't even get my counter dirty!
Usually rolling out dough can be difficult -- the dough doesn't always want to roll out. But this dough was so easy to work with!
I draped the bottom crust in the pan, filled it with the vegetables, added some eggs and cheese to help the whole thing hold together and folded the top crust over. Popped it in the oven and in an hour I had the most beautiful rustic-looking Tuscan-type vegetable pie.
It really was gourmet-cookbook picture-perfect, but so so simple. My husband really thought I had gone out and bought it at Dean & DeLuca!
The flavors were fresh, balanced, and clean, as if it had been made right from the garden, while the dough was light and crisp, not soggy. My husband had thirds.
I don't mean to rave on and on, but rarely do you find a cookbook that gives the home baker excellent results without requiring hours of work and fancy equipment.
Plus, from her writing, you sense that Beth herself is a fun person who would be really cool to know. She is just very encouraging and supportive of the home baker.
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