Different cultures - their customs and traditions, their history, their dress, their food - fascinate me. So, when I found the book, The Cook's Guide to Bread, in a bookstore, I bought two copies, one for myself and one for my daughter. That was PD (pre-divorce), so I've had it for quite a few years. Later on, I found the second book, The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Bread Making, in a thrift store and purchased it as well. not realizing that the contents were identical.That's right: aside from the size and cover, the books are the same, even to the page numbers. I'm still happy I bought the second book, however, because the print is larger and it stays open easier. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the first one.
While this book does make an interesting reference book, and I enjoy perusing its pages, it also has at least 100 recipes. None of which I had tried, until yesterday. Making a dinner of lasagne, I decided to complete it with a Caesar salad (vegan dressing recipe here) and bread. An Italian bread, since the meal was Italian (though apparently, Caesar salad was invented in Mexico by an Italian American, who had also lived in Canada). The book has this to say about Italian Breads: "The distinguishing feature of most Italian breads, especially those bought from an Italian-style baker, is the shape rather than the dough... The difference lies in the shaping, the slashing and the baking..." p. 66.
For all recipes, quantities are given in both metric and imperial measures and, where appropriate, measures are also given in standard cups and spoons. Follow one set, but not a mixture because they are not interchangeable. (In the smaller book, it omits this note).
Fair enough, but it is an inexact science.
As a Canadian, I automatically defaulted to the cups/spoons measurements and that went well until it came time to add the olives. Olives, kind of like dry pasta, do not measure well in a cup. Being oval shaped and hollow if they're pitted, there's lots of empty space in and around the olives. The kalamata olives were already sliced, so it took more of them to fill the space. The pimento-stuffed green olives also took up more space than the hollow black olives. And mine ended up being a "generous" one cup rather than a level one cup. How do you level a cup of olives anyway? So, I found it was almost impossible to incorporate the olives into that amount of bread dough. And in the picture from the book, there appears to be a lot less olives than in my finished loaf.
|Taken from The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Bread Making
And that's what I intend to do. I've set myself the goal of trying every bread recipe in this book. They will, of course, be veganized, and made with whole grains as much as possible. So, stay tuned and I will report on each one.
By the way, this book has been reprinted once again under the title The Bread Bible and you can find the full pdf of this book here. The printing is so small as to be almost inscrutable, so it's not like you could actually try any of the recipes from it, though, at least on my 21" screen. And certainly not from your cell phone. So buy the book if you want to follow along and experiment with different breads from around the world.