Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On Bread Baking Mojo

Walnut breads
How many bread bibles is it legal for one woman to own? Considering that I am an avid baker, who takespride in baking most of the bread we consume in this wee household, I take it there's still a limit. Two of the ones I have are even NAMED The Bread Bible, but are by different authors. One book I have two editions of, because, well... I didn't realize they were the same. Yet, even so, I managed to acquire one more of those babies - Meyers Bageri. It's Danish, it's gorgeous and I strongly recommend it.

Light rye bread

Every time I buy a bread book (or even a regular cookbook) I feel like it's more or less the same recipes that are in there. Obviously, it doesn't stop me from buying them. But there's your everyday wheat-type bread, a couple sourdoughs, some dark bread and then they end with a couple of yeasted cakes. Of course, they're not exactly the same in all the books, but they're cut from the same fabric. Often, I just end up using the same standard bread recipe I always use - one part coarse-type flour, one part tipo 00, 2 parts wheat. It's easy and reliable.


Emmerbrød - bread made from emmer, an old wheat-type

Does it feel too overwhelming, following a recipe I never tried before? Perhaps. I know that's how I sometimes feel with recipes for everyday meals, even though they may be no more time consuming than the things I make on a regular basis, and would bring something new! and exciting! to the table, which, I must admit, is desirable. Afterall, we can't live off mince, chicken and baked root vegetables all the time.


Brunsviger with marzipan, ohmygoshyoumusttrythis!

This book here, I felt was different. I'd been eyeing it in the shops for a while, and got it for a friends birthday present. I then proceeded to leaf through it the entire evening (what company I am!) Yes, there's still all of your standard fare, but there was something more. The photos are pretty, text good and thorough - but not overly lecturing - and something in it made me want to bake.

Pumpkin bread
 All of it.

Apple muffins with fresh cardamom - it really does make a difference

The breads are wow, even without the baking stone they keep telling me to use. Since I got it, I've baked several new breads, a yeasted cake, apple muffins - I even raised a sourdough! I guees that's all the proof you need - it made me want to bake again. It made me try a new way of kneading, and had me browsing the internet for bread baking techniques and (ooops!) had me searching for a new mixer (yes, I love my Kitchen Aid mixer, but it sadly isn't strong enough for the type of bread doughs I'd like to make) On my way, I found a new forum (The Fresh Loaf, anyone? It's a veritable treasure trove of all good things bread) and plain and simply, I think this book helped me get my bread baking mojo back. Now, all I need is a new baking stone... And big, big sacks of flour!

Wheat bread, cold-proved


Bread books I own (some more used than others...):
Camilla Plum - Et Ordentligt Brød
Nanna Simonsen - Brød & Kager
Aurions Bagebog - Fremtidens Brød af Fortidens Korn
Hanne Riisgaard - Hjemmebagt
Linda Collister - The Bread Book
Rose Levy Beranbaum - The Bread Bible
Beth Hensperger - The Bread Bible: 300 Favorite Recipes
Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid - Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World
Dan Lepard - Baking With Passion: Exceptional Recipes for Real Breads, Cakes, and Pastries
Nancy Silverton - Breads from the La Brea Bakery: Recipes for the Connoisseur

What is your favorite bread book?

20 comments:

Jennie said...

I don't have a favorite bread book...yet. Actually Mikael makes all the bread, rolls etc at home, but he uses too much damn yeast, and doesn't let it rise long enough. I will be buying a few bread books soon, as a very strong hint!

Now - where the hell is the recipe for the brunsviger with marzipan?! I want!!! Now!

Jo´s said...

Sikke lækre brød og brunsviger du har bagt...du kom mig i forkøbet med brunsvigeren, men på fredag efter mødregruppen så reklamere jeg også for den på min blog.
Men hvad er det du dog mener med Kicthen aid røremaskine??? Er den slet ikke god eller bruger du speciel ælteteknik til dit brød?? Jeg har kun en håndmixer, men har snart fået slidgigt i armen og skulderen af at bruge den. Undskyld men bliver nød til at spørge om alt muligt...kan jo også se du brænder for bagværket. Er bare ikke støt på nogen i blogland eller i den virkelige verden som er så passioneret omkring sit brød, kage og mad som det ser ud til du er.
Du behøver altså ikke svare, men spørger alligevel.
Bobler din surdej meget?
Hvad fodre du den med?
Har du tæt låg på eller løst??
Hvor bor den?
Det ser ud som om du bruger brødkurv til at bage dine brød i..gør du det?? og hvis ja, hvor har du købt den/dem?
Bruger du kun tipo 00 som det fine hvedemel?
nu tænker du sikkert..hende der "wanna be a baker" tøsen er da helt stået af...det er jeg også lidt. Men håber altså lidt alligevel du deler nogle fif ud.

Kh fra Jo (en bagesøster)

Zarah Maria said...

Jennie, you are so my kind of girl. I am usually the swearing type (so much so that I'm figuring the boy's first words will be some thing not so cute, ahem), but here, for some reason I play (too) nice! I'll update the post with the recipe for the damn brunsviger ;) And tell that Mikael to just cut his yeast in half, and let the dough rise in the fridge overnight - it's so easy and SO worth it for the better taste!
Jo - velkommen :) Altså: problemet med Kitchen Aid'en er, at den kun kan klare at køre en dej på lige under 1 kilo mel - og det er altså bare ikke nok! Den er fantastisk til kager og frostings osv., men til brøddeje er den altså ikke stor nok, hvis du spørger mig. Tilgengæld er den rigtig pæn, hihi!
Mht. dine spørgsmål - og du er ALTID velkommen til at spørge, jeg skal forsøge at svare så godt jeg kan. Jeg er altså på ingen måde ekspert, men derfor kan vi jo sagtens udveksle erfaringer - jeg spurgte jo selv på din blog. Det er så rart at møde "lidelsesfæller" ;) (og skønt at svare på dansk, så kan man få alle nuancerne med)
Til sagen: Min surdej bobler faktisk kun (vil nok nærmere kalde det skummer blidt) et par timer efter den er blevet fodret. Ellers står den mest bare og er lidt grå i toppen. Den får som regel 100 g. mel (af hvad jeg lige har der er friskest) og så to deciliter vand. Inden har jeg taget 1/3-½ fra, og enten brugt eller bare smidt ud. Den bor lige pt. på køkkenbordet, men har delt den, så halvdelen står i køleskabet - den har jeg tænkt jeg så kun fodrer sådan hver 3.-4. dag (den på køkkenbordet bliver fodret i hvert fald hver anden dag, og rørt lidt i hver dag) På køkkenbordet bor man med et viskestykke over, i køleskabet i et patentglas uden gummiring (så det er vel et løst låg?) Det er i øvrigt den fra Meyers, jeg har lavet, og den er jo VIRKELIG flydende, i forhold til andre surdeje jeg har lavet. Den skiller sådan lidt i noget gråligt "vand" foroven og så "mel-slam" forneden, men den dufter meget godt - ser bare lidt sær ud!
Brødkurve - ja altså. Bruger dem ind i mellem, men er ikke ubetinget fan. Synes det er rigtig svært ikke at få slået luften ud af brødene når de skal vendes ud, men øvelse - og en MASSE mel! - gør vist nok mester. De skal have en ordentlig håndfuld mel inden man ligger dejen i (og eftersom manden i huset synes det er irriterende med mel ovenpå brødet kan du selv gætte hvor tit man så får lov at bruge sine hævekurve) De er gamle, men den ene er købt i Kunst & Køkkentøj, og den anden er faktisk fra en kineserbiks inde i uh, Rosengårdsstræde? hvor den blev solgt som en brødkurv og var RIGTIG billig!
Tipo 00 - bruger jeg kun, hvis det står specificeret (Nanna Simonsen er f.eks. rigtig glad for det), men ellers bruger jeg generelt hvedemel fra enten Skærtoft, Mørdrupgård eller Aurion. Har forsøgt mig med ren tipo 00 ind i mellem, men synes det smager af meget lidt - næh du, god dansk hvede! ;) Ølandshveden er også ganske fantastisk, har du prøvet den?
I øvrigt var emmerbrødet rigtig dejligt, mmm, saftigt og med god smag!

Žiupsnelis Druskos said...

I dont have any bread-making books. Which is strange considering I love the feeling of making my own bread! But then again - thats what blogs are for! :)

Would it be possible to get the recipe for that light rye bread - which looks soo tasty; and apple muffins - which, although I cannot see the picture for some reason, - sound divine?

Joy said...

About 3 years ago I found your blog looking for a recipe for brunsviger...now I _need_ the recipe for the brunsviger with marzipan! I even have half a package of marzipan in my fridge waiting for a purpose and a daughter's birthday rapidly approaching.

I am glad you are finding time and will to blog again.

gastroanthropologist said...

I was in copenhagen not too long ago and picked up a copy of meyers bageri and love it. Had lunch at the deli and it was so good! Some of the bread recipes are a bit tough as I am translating everything via internet dictionary. I did make the chocolate chip cookies a few weeks ago with success!

My favorite bread book is probably the bread baker's apprentice, but all my bread books are packed away in boxes at home thousands of miles away. I love flipping through the books and admiring all the pictures!

Jenny said...

Me too, I don't bread book at the moment, but anyway, I really love your bread photos collection, looks like very delicious.

Yum Yum!

Amaranthian said...

I am an avid bread baker myself, but don't own an actual cookbook yet. I usually find recipes online and tweak them. One day I hope to own the Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, as I have heard many great things about it.

School Lunch Box said...

This is a great website! I just bought a bread machine, it makes things much easier but the taste does differ.

christine said...

I see that you’re interested and fascinated in food stuffs. This is a good blog! You see, we have this food site Foodista.com (http://www.foodista.com) that is a food and cooking encyclopedia that everyone and anyone can edit. Maybe you are interested in sharing some of recipes to us or share your knowledge about food stuffs and techniques, Or maybe you just like to write reviews about food, restaurant and recipes...why don't you
visit us sometimes, if it's food you're interested in, then we are interested in you. Don't hesitate to check us out.

I hope to see you there.

Cheers!

Elana said...

How beautiful your breads are. You are inspiring me to get out the KitchenAid stand mixer and get to baking!

www.craigslist.com said...

Its looking so delicious ...! yummy

Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams said...

Such pretty breads. I love the one with the pumpkin seeds.

jenniferashley said...

My favorite bread book is "Beard on Bread" by James Beard. There is a great, great banana bread recipe in there that is to die. for. By the way, if you have anytime, check my food blog out too! Oh- and nice photographs! What kind of camera do you use?
http://renaissancekitchen.blogspot.com

Louise said...

thanks for the recommendation, i will see if i can get hold of it. I too have several baking books and once i get beyond the nice pictures etc i realise that the recipes are all very similar so i would like to try a book that is a bit special.

fortune said...

Let me recommend 2 books, Clavel's The Taste of Bread for French breads and Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread. I think you will especially enjoy the Hamelman as he has many rye breads - 90%, 80% ryes of various kinds, and also excellent instructions on easily making a rye sourdough.

My Danish boyfriend and I have lived together in California for more than 14 months now and we often make Hamelman's 90% whole rye as well as a version of Meyer's pumpernickel, the one that bakes for 24 hours, all from sourdough.

Let me second your thoughts on Meyer. His bread book is excellent and the recipes I've tried so far are quite good. His Danish is very accessible even to someone like me, who basically reads at a 4th grade level. I highly recommend it.

If you like, you can see my latest Meyer pumpernickel here.

Charlene said...

Hi from the San Francisco area Zarah! I visit your blog from time to time, glad you are still writing! And congratulations on the baby! I have a new nephew, born in April (about 2 months old now). :-)
All the best from Charlene

D. @ Outside Oslo said...

Hi Zarah, if you had to suggest just ONE bread-baking book for a Scandinavian-American woman, what would it be?

Whitney said...

Bumped into your blog by accident (or maybe it was destiny) tonight and I really like what I see! I hope you’ll have time to start posting more regularly in the future.

BTW-where did you get all those vanilla beans from? I wish I could find a place in Norway that sold that many at a time or even a place in Scandinavia.

-Whitney


Read more about my food adventures in Norway at Thanks For The Food. You can also follow me on Twitter at Thanks For The Food on Twitter or on You Tube at a Thanks For The Food on You Tube.

spiceandmore said...

Aahh...I just returned from Copenhagen last night. Had lunch at Meyer's deli and browsed through their copy of the book. I was so excited looking at it even though I could not read Danish! I googled it now hoping to track down and English version of the book. Maybe you can translate one of their excellent rye recipes and share it with us...please??!!