Home Bread-Bakers v104.n011.4

Book Review: Celebration Breads

Reggie Dwork <reggie@jeff-and-reggie.com>
Sun, 22 Feb 2004 20:47:46 -0800
Celebration Breads: Recipes, Tales and Traditions
by Betsy Oppenneer
copyright 2003 by Betsy Oppenneer
ISBN 0-7432-2483-3

Betsy's new book, _Celebration Breads: Recipes, Tales and Traditions_, is a 
compendium of very interesting and fun breads from around the world.  Her 
research is quiet evident and the results are very enlightening to the 
bread enthusiast.

Betsy starts off with chapters on ingredients and equipment.  Both chapters 
have lots of information but stop short of being boring or 
overwhelming.  The third chapter is entitled "How to Make Bread".  It 
begins with  a very well written description of the four basic rules of 
bread baking followed by sections on making bread by hand, by heavy-duty 
mixer, by food processor and by bread machine.  Chapter four is about tips 
and techniques.

The remaining chapters are divided by regions and here Betsy's research 
really shines.  She covers Africa, the Americas, the British Isles, Eastern 
Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, Russia and Asia, 
Scandinavia and finally Western Europe.  In addition to the well known 
breads such as England's Good Friday Breads (Hot Cross Buns and Chelsea 
Buns) and Sweden's Christmas Bread (Saint Lucia's Crown) are many recipes 
for breads most of us have not encountered before.  Most recipes include 
instructions for using each of the machines in addition to the by-hand 
method.  Betsy shows her teaching abilities through her clear communication 
of the techniques for each of the breads.  There are many drawings and tips 
spread throughout the book.  There are appendices with instructions on how 
to candy fruit and with measurement and temperature conversions.

Of all the breads I made from this book, I found myself most often making 
the German Speckbrot.  I made it for Christmas presents and have had many 
requests for more from the recipients.  It is very good.

Betsy's _Celebration Breads_ is for everyone - beginner to experienced 
baker.  This is definitely a book to add to your cookbook library; one that 
you will use over and over again throughout the years.