The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yet another bread machine cookbook--a good one!

davidg618's picture

Yet another bread machine cookbook--a good one!

We bought "Bread Machine, how to prepare the perfect loaf", by Jennie Shapter, about six years ago at a Barnes & Noble clearance sale. We've never felt the need to buy any other bread machine cookbook since.

My wife and I can't remember when we last bought store bread. We use our bread machine, a Zo, at least once a week. Yvonne has mastered what we call our "every day breads", and sweet, fruited breads we share with family and friends during the holidays. I, most often use the dough cycle only, especially for high hydration breads like caibatta. We both use this favorite cookbook. Initially, we followed it slavishly; today, having learned much over the past decade, its more a guide, but still a source for "first time" efforts. We've baked about a third of the recipes so far, a dozen have become favorites. We host an annual "open house" where we share our homemade wines that have come of age in each year, along with lots of nibbles, to about fifty guests. This year our theme will be wine and bread. Many of the bread recipes will come from "Bread Machine,...".

The author covers basics and fundemental ingredients in approximately thirty pages, and another twenty pages of advanced topics,e.g., "Sourdoughs and Starters", "Adapting Recipes for Use in a Bread Machine" and "Troubleshooting". The balance of the book is devoted to approximately 170 recipes in nine categories: Basic Breads, Speciality Grains, Flatbreads and Pizzas, Sourdoughs and Starter Dough Breads, Savory Breads, Vegetables Breads; Rolls, Buns and Pasteries; Sweet Breads and Yeast Cakes, and TeaBreads and Cakes. Many of the recipes specify ingredients for "Small" (~1 lb.) "Medium" (~1-1/2 lb.) and "Large" (~2 lb.) loaves to accomodate variations among different machines. Published in 2001, it reasonably up-to-date.

We've followed each recipe we've baked precisely (at least the first time) with unvarying success. It's obvious that every recipe has been carefully kitchen tested for results. There are lots of photos of final results, and "how to" where appropriate, but not at the expense of clear, detailed instructions.

I'm not a big fan of cookbooks anymore, or for that matter any "how to" genre. I rely on the internet (or my self) for nearly 100% of all my cooking, baking, brewing, wine making, gardening, woodworking, etc. projects. However, this is one cookbook I'm glad we have; yet I've never seen it mentioned by other bread machine bakers on the baking sites I visit.

The book is out of print, but, as of yesterday, there were eleven copies, new and used, on Amazon. The cheapest was 8 bucks: a bargain, for a fine book.



BNLeuck's picture

I must make this book mine! Specifically, I want the "how to convert to bread machine recipe" section. I'm attempting to convert a goodly number of yeast and quick breads from KAF's Whole Grain Baking Cookbook to bread machine recipes to make them more convenient for everyday life. I love a good oven-baked loaf as much as the next foodie, but let's be honest, BMs are soooo more practical for everyday life. (Especially when you've got three bottomless pits in the house... >.> I love my family. Even if they do eat us out of house and home. LOL)