One of my resolutions this year was to finally get tough and make my own bread. I had made my share of banana bread and beer bread, but I wanted to make the kind that uses yeast and that you have to knead and wait around for. The internet led me to some tips and simple recipes, and I completed my goal pretty early in the year. But I wanted more!
I found just the book to scratch my bread knowledge itch in Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter's The Bread Bible (2006). This book starts with some introductory material on the history of bread making and the ingredients used in baking bread, then moves into some nicely illustrated step-by-step techniques and a nod to the different equipment a bread-maker might want. After this preparation the book pushes into an encyclopedic look at different types of bread from around the world, with a pretty heavy emphasis on breads from the U.K. and Europe. Finally, after reading about all the tasty bread options and drooling over the full-color photography on every page, Ingram and Shapter give us over 100 step-by-step recipes for a selection of breads that we read about in the first section of the book.
I haven't tried making any of these yet, but I have about a dozen recipes marked for immediate experimentation. My only qualm is that this book is a British publication and while the measurements are converted into US units, I still think a certain amount of translation is going to be necessary. There are also some endearing (and sometimes confusing) Britishisms used throughout: "greased greaseproof paper," "maize meal" (instead of corn meal), and she always seems to call a measuring cup a "jug." Overall, this is a fun read for a curious breadmaker and includes such a variety of recipes that it should cover pretty much every bread baking need (or knead).
Let the bready experiments begin!