Amy Scherber is a professional baker who runs a bakery in New York with Toy Kim Dupree. Amy's Bread cookbook is not as extensive as either Baking with Julia or Nancy Silverton's book. Like Nancy Silverton, Ms. Scherber and Ms. Dupress love bread and it shows in their bread book. As should be the case with any good bread book, almost all of the bread recipes are for long rise breads. Where Nancy Silverton almost always uses starter, most of the recipes in Amy's Bread use baker's yeast, although there are recipes for starter breads as well. The baker's yeast breads all use a "sponge" starter. This consists of
1 1/2 cups warm water (~105 F) 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast 3 1/2 cups flour
The sponge is made into a dough and then rises for six to eight hours at room temperature or over night in the refrigerator. This "sponge" serves as the base for most of the recipes in Amy's Bread.
I have made a number of the breads in the book, including two kinds of sourdough and a walnut bread. All of these recipes I have tried have turned out well and I highly recommend this cookbook. There is also a wonderful recipe for black olive and sweet red pepper bread. According to the cookbook this is a bread that was inspired by a bread that Amy and her sister had in Venice. I baked this bread just before my wife and I left for a Pat Benitar and Styx concert. This concert was held about an hour north of California's Napa valley and it took us over three hours to get there from Silicon Valley. The concert turned out to be a disaster. The resturants were jammed and the concert was full of drunks (the bourbon coolers flowed freely). We also learned that you can't go back. A band that was great twenty years ago tends to be aging and tired today. Since we could not get into the few resturants at the resort where the concert was held, we ate the black olive and sweet red pepper bread with chedder cheese for dinner. So when ever my wife thinks of this bread she thinks of our "adventure".
A Review of Four Bread Cookbooks
Book review table of contents
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