The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Bible and Enchanted Broccoli Forest ERRORS

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Bread Bible and Enchanted Broccoli Forest ERRORS

I am a novice who has found the help of SourdoLady, Floydm, Mountaindog et. al. to be unbelieveably helpful.  What I find most puzzeling is how recipes can be published in books that have no possibility of working.  There can be many examples but take for instance the Echanted Broccoli Forest of Mollie Katzen on page 70 where she lists ingredients for a Basic Bread Recipe.  If one looks at it from a somewhat knowledgeable perspective there is no way that the recipe can work with only One pkg of yeast and only 2 cups of water.  I am a novice and have been thru the recipe twice and it just ain't goin' to happen. You just can't put 8 and 1/2 half cups of flour into 2 cups of water....it won't fit.  And no my problem is not the altitude, time of year or the weather outside. In my field of computers, Microsoft distributes software and the first year of any Microsoft release is known in the industry as the Beta or test release even though it goes out to the public as a final ready for purchase product.  Everyone in computers knows this is the way it is and has always been for Microsoft.  It is no secret.  My question is simply that since Katzen and Beranbaum publish books with recipes that are neither tested in the kitchen or proof read in the galley sheets then should I just assume that all recipes in similar books are just Beta recipes? Please remember that the Katzen Basic Bread Recipe is pretty basic and should have been corrected early on in the process but was not.  So as a novice do I just read the books for the general info and ignore the recipes?  Thank goodness for thefreshloaf and its wonderful members......

merrybaker's picture
merrybaker

Hi, CountryBoy. There are some bad recipes out there, that's for sure, but I'm surprised you've had trouble with Beranbaum. She's usually very precise. Do you have this list of corrections to The Bread Bible?

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2006/02/corrections_the_bread_bible.html

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I have found one error so far in Bearenbaum's The Bread Bible, which was fairly obvious, would not have affected the recipe, and for which the author had already published a correction on the publisher's errata page.

 


I am fairly sure that RLB tests all her recipes herself in her home kitchen. She mentions 45 versions of one recipe to get it correct.

 

Which Bread Bible receipe specifically are you having problems with, and what are the problems?

 

sPh

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

A friend had a lot of trouble with the bread bible as well. I looked at it and there were a few recipes that looked "off" to me as well (for ex. the proportions in the scone recipe were unlike any I had seen before). But I haven't used the book much so can't say for sure. Oh and BF tried to bake bread with Enchanted broccoli forest years ago and still tells me of his trials.  So I can confirm you're not the only one who had these feelings.

 

I just checked out two books from the library that gave me the same feeling. "Dough" the one that won the Beard this year(?) had a lot of bizarre statements on the first read-through. His "definitions" were odd (levain was defined basically as any dough that had been set to rise for a while before using) and I found it extremely bizarre that one formula for "white dough" was used for several different breads, including baguettes and something that looked like a pita.

 

The second one was "Your Brick Oven: Building It and Baking In It." As I'm just getting experience baking in my woodfired oven, I thought it would be helpful as it had recipes, etc. On the back was a chart of oven temperatures, stating that pizza should be cooked at 800+ degrees(!) and "cake" at 450 degrees. All of the temps were way off the standard--it made me wonder if it was a bad celsius conversion??

 

Anyway it made me very glad I started with good books, as if I was a beginner I could have learned some really bad habits or terminology with some of these books. I hate to think of people getting frustrated and thinking they can't be successful making their own bread.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

> stating that pizza should be cooked at 800+ degrees(!)

 

Commercial pizza ovens, whether gas, wood, or coal, cook at around 900 deg.F. One of the reasons it is so hard to get a New York-style pizza at home.

 

The crazy pizza guy, who I have linked to before, modified his oven to allow him to cook pizzas on the cleaning cycle (950 deg.F). Not something I would recommend, but he does manage to get NY-style pizza out of it.

 

sPh

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Really?  I guess I've done pizzas in about 600+ degrees (in the mud oven) and they were done in 3 minutes.  I had to assume 800-900 would burn in a minute or less!

 

Maybe if the door was left open.... 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I find Bertinet's book quite amazing - it helped me take another step with my baking.

Watching the DVD over and over again on my commute and following Bertinet's movements really got me confident in working with slack doughs.

And I like the layout: Each chapter provides you with the material: white dough, oil dough, sweet dough. Then he proceeds to give you tools to alter the appearance and taste of the end product. This book left me with a good sense of what I can expect from a specific dough and how I can alter other recipes to my liking.

Juergen

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

said that.  I  also love the way the content has been laid out.  This book will probably become one of my favorites.

Tschüß :)

Anna

jm_chng's picture
jm_chng

Back the in the late 80's I searched and searched and wasted £££'s on really bad recipe books it is criminal the amount of utterly appalling recipes out there. I have been bitten far too many times in the past and scrutinise everything when I buy a book. I first off wouldn't dream of buying a book that wasn't in grams these days. Cups are just way too changeable. I already said that the first good book I got suggested one recipe at 96% hydration and that was his conversion from cups to grams. Crazy. 

Only follow recipes in grams unless you have a good understanding to start with but then you wouldn't need the recipe. : -) 
These are good books. 
Peter Reinhart: Crust and CrumbThe Bread Bakers Apprentice
Dan Lepard:The Handmade Loaf
Richard Bertinet:Dough, though he does suggest yeast in a sourdough starter. : -(
I'l Fornaio Baking Book. But it does need a little experience with adjusting recipes.

Jim

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Jim, thank you for your specific suggestions; much appreciated.  It is just very difficult for a Novice who has nver seen bread made and has no basis of judgement to evaluate bread books.  Molly Katzen is all over the tv and has many books out so I just figured there was a highly probability of her knowing whereof she spoke.  But I am at this moment in the 3rd  attempt to make her basic bread and after this will never read or follow another of her recipes.  The Main thing is that when one is serving ones novitiate on this learning curve one automatically assumes that the novice is wrong and the recipe is right.  So how does a novice KNOW if a bread book is reliable or not? I am so incredibly grateful for the Shared Wisdom of the wonderful people on the fresh loaf website. 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

You really cannot go wrong with Peter Reinhart's, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore or (electronically, anyway) favorite online vendor to purchase it. 

 

If you're looking for 100% whole wheat breads, The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, is very good. But I'd still recommend starting out with the BBA.

 

After you've made a dozen loaves or so, you'll have a much better idea of what makes a good bread book. 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Yes I am reading The Bread Baker's Apprentice and the bread bible.  I guess I am really gun shy after my experience with the Enchanted Broccoli Forest.  Also with the bread bible I am puzzled that there are so many errors in the book shown at

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2006/02/corrections_the_bread_bible.ht...  I do not mind being an apprentice but working with the Broccoli Forest is more a matter of banging one's head against a wall...(You just can't put 8 and 1/2 half cups of flour into 2 cups of water...)

sphealey's picture
sphealey

> I am puzzled that there are so many errors in

> the book shown at

 

Well, I count nine errors listed on that page, from a 450 page book with ~100 recipes. Just going on judgement, I would say that two of those errors would prevent the novice from completing the bread and the other sevn would not. Leaving a count of two errors in 450 pages.

 

I think you may be overestimating the abilities of book authors, publishers, editors, and proofreaders. In the 1980s, before book publishing was computerized, it was common for a 450 page textbook (which is what TBB resembles) to come with a mimeographed list of 100-200 errors.

 

You might want to read Peter Reinhart's latest blog entries as well - he had one discussing how he "discovered" a new recipe when he made - you guessed it - an error in the text of a recipe he was sending out to his remote testers.

 

sPh

LisaPA's picture
LisaPA

I think you're overreacting a bit, especially when you say the recipes were never tested or proofread. That's just absurd. I've been buying Molly Katzen's books for years and have used dozens of her recipes and only had a few of them not turn out to my liking. That was always because I didn't care for the flavor combinations or what have you--I've never actually had a recipe FAIL.

I've only been baking yeasty things since late October, so I'm by no means an expert. I recently used the Basic Bread recipe myself and did find it dry. Part of that was because I used graham flour rather than wheat bread flour because it's what I had--I used my own judgment to determine that clearly, I could not add another cup of flour, and that clearly, I needed to add more water. I don't have the book in front of me, but I'm fairly certain that I recall the recipe saying you may use UP TO x amount of flour, not that you had to. It turned out quite yummy.

Her recipes are very much an art and not a science--she cooked by feel for years before committing recipes to the page. If you're not comfortable with that style of cooking (which I personally prefer), then you're better off with another book. However, that doesn't mean the entire book, or the author, is worthless.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Am I over reacting or misreading her recipe? She suggests the recipe " is a good one to start with if baking bread is new to you." I am sure she tests and proof reads everything but the page 70 Basic Bread Recipe lists the ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of flour in the sponge; 3 more cups of whole wheat flour plus 4 cups of white flour in the mix.  Nowhere where does it say "you may use UP TO x amount of flour." I could be wrong but I do not see it. And she calls for only one package of yeast. Now if you can make the 2 loaves happen I say fine but I am a novice.  And at the moment the recipe is clearly a "roman a clef" with me as a novice not knowing how to read it.  This is my third try at this by the way.  However, please feel free to bake it and show me what I -as a novice-  should have read instead of what she wrote.  That is all.  And I must say her tv presence and art work is indeed charming.

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I think everyone has favorites when it comes to cookbooks, and it has a lot to do with individual styles. I think the best thing to do as a new baker is use your public library!! Sometimes a certain author's descriptions really speaks to you--you get that "I GET IT" feeling. After a few years of making basic yeast breads, for me it was "Bread Alone" by Daniel Leader that was the book that inspired me. Somehow his instructions made sense to me, and I was ready in my self-learning to take the next steps into pre-ferments and sourdoughs. I found I had checked his book out 3 or 4 times, and realized it was time to get my own copy. Since then I often preview new books via the llbrary and test a few recipes before I buy them. Used book stores help a lot too.

 

We're all wired differently, and one teacher may speak to you better than another. Also, I've found (as with Artisan Baking across America) that sometimes you own a book for years before you "get it".

 

So I definitely have book and author preferences, but they're my own. You'll get yours too!

gaypet's picture
gaypet

I am also a novice and have found the best info on this site. If you are looking for a good basic recipe use "My Daily Bread". I have some books I like but the recipes I have found here are the best to play with and learn. Cooking should be fun! If you are frustrated with a recipe, let it go. Katzen has served me well for Pita and many other recipes but for making good bread find a recipe here that works for you and play with it until you feel you can read a recipe and know what's up.

gaypet

sewwhatsports's picture
sewwhatsports

I agree that we all have our favorite authors.  I first started reading the books by Maggie Glezer.  I progressed to The Bread Bible by Rose Ley Beranbaum and have graduated to  Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.  Though it is not a book for true beginners, I found that it offers me a lot of explanations as to the 'why things happen' in bread baking.  After reading his book I then took a class from him and will be taking another next month.  I have heard that he is too technical for some people, but we all find what we like and need.

Rena in Delaware

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

Oh, here's an easy place to brush up on baking skills and terminology, it really is a good course, and it's free. It's pretty basic, but a great start. It's fun also. Lot's of recipes too.

 

i took it.

 

http://busycooks.about.com/c/ec/1.htm

 

jeffrey

tony's picture
tony

I've been making bread for about three years at this point. In earlier phases I've used the Tassajara Bread Book and Thom Leonard's Bread Book. In this go-round I found my way to BBA, Beranbaum, Wing & Scott, and Hamelman. All books have been informative. However, what has been most helpful was befriending the bakers at my friendly neighborhood artisan bakery. Watching them work, chatting with them (they recommended several of the books), and helping out a little have made a big difference for me. Doing what they do, mostly in conjunction with Hamelman's extensive explanation of the process of bread making, has helped most.

 

There are just a lot of ways to make bread. Following recipes from those books very carefully often produces less than wonderful bread. Different experts advise quite different techniques for the "same" type of bread. Each book contributes a different portion of what is clearly a large body of bread lore.

 

I keep a log, kind of like a chemistry lab notebook. That way I learn from my own experience and have a basis for interpreting what I read in the books. I don't think one can have too many bread books, though; and like the cabbie told the person who wanted to know how to get to Carnegie Hall, "Practice, man, practice."

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Thank you for your comments.  They are most apposite.  Especially when you say

There are just a lot of ways to make bread. Following recipes from those books very carefully often produces less than wonderful bread. Different experts advise quite different techniques for the "same" type of bread. 

It gives me incentive to keep trying and to persevere, and to believe I am really not that stupid.  I mean a college education and over 25 years in the computer industry has to suggest a minimum level of intelligence and ability to following directions.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

somewhere ?  I just received my copy of the book and on first glance, I will absolutely love it.  Now I read that there are many mistakes in the 1st US Edition which, of course, I seem to have purchased.  I cannot find the usual errata sheet online.  If you know of an error in this book would you mind jotting down the page so I can do corrections ?

Thank you,

Anna

 

jcking's picture
jcking

Anna,

Page 93, Brown Dough; change 2 Tablespoons of salt to be, 2 teaspoons. I don't know of any errata and have only made a few of his recipes. The book has some interesting bread shapes and the DVD is good, maybe the best part. Hope others will chime in.

Jim

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

for your reply. I haven't seen the DVD yet, looking forward to it.

 

Thanks!

anna

 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

the workout!

Juergen

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

my shoulders hurt just watching the DVD  :)

anna

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I do this technique all the time, and there are a few things that help:

1. a firm stand so that your hands aren't too high above the counter

2. The hands make a movement like a lying 8 pointing away from you, with the palms flipping over at the furthest and nearest points

3. Don't involve the shoulders. Imagine your cat is lying around your neck ...

4. The dough needs to be wet, 68% water or higher

Viel Spass,

Juergen

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

werde ich es versuchen -   despite old bones, I will try and attempt this method.

:)

Anna

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,

8.5 cups pf flour and 2 cups of water -

If you estimate 1 cup of flour = 135 g and 1 cup of water = 250g you get

flour =1147.5

water = 500

hydration = 43.5 %

This is not unheard of - for German Pretzels or some fruitbreads, however, it's very stiff.

Did you take the water for the sponge into account? Is that part ofyour 2 cups? Is there Milk, Egg, Fat?

English Bloomer breads can be made with hydration levels quite low (I've seen recipes using 54%)

And a packet of instant yeast can go a long way. DiMuzio's Pugliese (yield 178.4%) uses 0.4% instant yeast, that's enough for 3122g of flour, to make 5569g of bread!

Regards,

Juergen

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

Untested recipes abound in cookbook publishing and always have.  The problem is not just in editing, it is often in the writing.  We of TFL know that Stan and Norm fully tested the recipes in the upcoming Inside the Jewish Bakery because they used TFL folks to test the recipes.  Many cookbooks go through no testing whatsoever.  Publishers do not have cooking test kitchens.  Cookbook authors don't generally have staff in test kitchens.  

Be especially wary of authors who have published several cookbooks with many recipes in them.  A random example is Dana Carpender, about whom I know nothing except she came up when I put 500 recipes in the Amazon search box.   I then went to the author's website.  The titles/subtitles of seven books shown there (and she's written or co-authored others and does a newsletter) lay claim to 3051 recipes!  Does this mean all those recipes are bad?  No, but it does mean they are probably untested.  You can find many similar authors very easily. 

Cookbook reviewers don't have big test kitchens either so many reviews are written without testing any recipes.  Magazine editors vary in their testing of recipes.  Some have test kitchens but many do not.  Test kitchens are expensive operations. Publishing often works on a very narrow margin.  The economic factors just don't favor recipe testing.

I love cookbooks.  I still think I am getting a bargain when I buy a book with hundreds of recipes because they provide ideas.  But never assume a cookbook contains fully tested recipes.  Most don't.

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

If you go watch Mike's videos on http://www.sourdoughhome.com/stretchandfold.html you'll see a wonderful solution for the novice breadmaker.  I know this novice fell in love with these and it improved my breadmaking a good deal.