Bread on the Table: Recipes for Making and Enjoying Europe’s Most Beloved Breads

Ten Speed. Oct. 2019. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9781607749257. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781607749264. COOKING
Debut author Norman (Easy Tiger Bake Shop and Beer Garden, Austin, TX) shares bread ideas from three decades of bakery experience and his studies and travels in Europe. Norman distinguishes his book from others by emphasizing the fact that bread plays different roles in different cultures, and then going into more depth in chapters dedicated to French, Scandinavian, German, and Italian breads. The main focus on European bread recipes, pre-ferments, and sourdough starters makes the book similar to Danial Leader’s Local Breads, which omits Scandinavian, but covers Czech and Polish breads. Norman includes detailed background information and simple recipes for beginners, but also encourages experienced home bakers to stretch with unconventional suggestions for smoking flour to increase flavor and for improvising a steaming pan. He prefers hand-mixing, touting his modified kneading method (a combo of traditional kneading and the autolyze method). But he explains how to achieve success with a stand mixer, too. The book is text-heavy with photos depicting finished breads and appropriate crumb structure, but few that illustrate shaping techniques. Chapters end with serving ideas to showcase the bread and have bonus recipes for accompaniments including gravlax, oysters, and sausage salad.
VERDICT Recommended for home bread bakers of all calibers.

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