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New bread book?!

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caryn's picture
caryn

New bread book?!

I was browsing on Amazon this morning and came across a new book by Daniel Leader, "Simply Great Breads: Sweet and Savory Yeasted Treats from America's Premier Artisan Baker."  Does anyone know anything about this?  Not that I need another book :), since I already have too many, but I am still always interested and curious.

bshuval's picture
bshuval

It's a nice, simple, book for beginning bakers. No advanced breads in here. This is a surprisingly small book, with lots of colorful pictures (although not of all the breads). The recipes are given in imperial/metric/volume measurements, although temperatures are given only in degrees F (and not C).


The scaling of the recipes is strange: some recipes are scaled for 500g of flour (which I understand), some are scaled to have nice volume measurements (one of the recipes calls for 6.75g of instant yeast and 2.54g of salt. Ridiculous). They should have used a consistent scaling throughout the book. 


The breads in the book are interesting, but not the kind of breads I like to usually consume myself. Many of the breads in the book use enriched doughs -- rather too enriched to my taste. I prefer leaner breads with a high proportion of whole grains. Nevertheless, the breads in this book are good for entertaining. There are four chapters in the book:


(*) Classic breakfast breads (English muffins, crumpets, brioche with variations, bialys, bagels) 


(*) An Ideal Bread Basket (Parker rolls, angel buscuits, ham and cheese cresecent rolls, ciabatta rolls, grilled ciabattam navajo fry breds, whole wheat challah with apricots)


(*) Flavor packed flatbreads (Pizza dough for grilling, grape schiacciata, savory yeasted tart with onion confit, mana'eesh)


(*) Quick yeasted treats (yeasted pancakes, yeast-raised waffles, berliners, cider doughnuts, banana doughnuts, beignets, fontina bombolini, yeasted coffee cake, chocolate babka, monkey bread). 


I am drawn more towards the breads in the flatbreads chapter than any of the other chapters. 


Unfortunately, the book contains several typos, errors, and mistakes. For example, in the recipe for yeasted pancakes, one of the ingredients listed is 0.09oz/72g cinammon. Obviously, 0.09oz is nowhere near 72g... 


I am not sure if all the recipes can be trusted. The salt levels in some of the recipes seem too low (the recipe for schiacciata calls for 444g of flour and only 2.54g of salt. Far too little in my opinion). As another example, Leader gives a variation of the challah to include olives instead of apricots. He suggests to add 15g of olives to the dough. 15g are about 3-4 olives. And that's for dough made from 1lb of flour!  


My verdict is: if you are looking for a bread book for beginners, with quick and easy recipes that you won't easily find elsewhere, this is a good purchase. However, the recipes should be scrutinized for mistakes. If you loved "Local Breads" and hoped for a sequel, this is not it. 

yy's picture
yy

Wow, bshuval! you've certainly been busy this morning. You have a good eye for catching mistakes. There should be a page on TFL for posting errata from various baking books (a dedicated page with some organizational structure, not just a forum topic). The publishers don't always provide them, and it would save us a lot of grief to exchange this type of information.

Felila's picture
Felila

Those odd gram amounts are the result of a thoughtless conversion from volume measurements to weight. You can't just take a recipe that calls for a cup of one thing and a tablespoon of something else and convert it to grams in one quick and easy pass. Ingredients have different densities, so you'd have to have a conversion formula for each and every ingredient. You shouldn't use a calculator to come up with odd amounts (2.54 grams) that are WAY more precise than any home scale could manage.


Converting a recipe designed for volume into the weight format means redoing the recipe completely. Using measurable weights, testing and tweaking until you have something cookable.


This is a failure on the part of the publisher.

bshuval's picture
bshuval

Actually, the recipes in the book are inconsistent in how they're scaled. Some of the recipes are scaled for volume, some are scaled for weight, and some are scaled for neither! 


I am pretty sure that Leader scales his recipes by weight, not volume. He even stresses clearly in the book that weighing ingredients is important. It's just that the conversions are all over the place. I am placing the blame on Lauren Chattman. 


Sometimes, the conversions are plainly wrong. One recipe calls for 3.5oz/70g/7 Tbsp butter. One Tbsp of butter is 0.5 oz, or 14 g. That would make 7 Tbsp 98g. (Of course, I would simply write "100g butter"). That same recipe calls for 1.27oz/36g/0.25 cup milk. Since milk (and water) measured by volume is the same as measured by weight, a quarter cup of milk should weigh 60g, not 36g... 


Other amusing things... In one recipe, 1tsp of instant yeast = 4 g. In another, 1.25 tsp of instant yeast = 3.75g. In another, 2 tsp instant yeast = 6g And in yet another, 0.25 tsp of instant yeast = 0.75g. (BTW, the last one is the "correct" one, as 2.5 tsp instant yeast = 7.5 g = one packet). 


Also, in some cases, I don't think that measurements by weight should be given. For the savory yeasted tart with onion confit and olives, the topping requires, amond other ingredients, 0.7g of sugar (1/4 tsp). Really? They expect ANYONE to weight this amount of sugar for the topping -- which should be to taste anyhow? Or, who needs the weight for the amount of jam required to fill jelly doughnuts? These are filled after frying, so they should have just specified 1/4 cup of jam or something like that... Instead they wrote "4.25oz/120g/6 Tbsp". LOL 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

an unneccessary expense, bshuval. I just saw this book as a recommendation at amazon and was wondering whether it would be nice to get it - not that I need another baking book, either...


Karin

mccvi's picture
mccvi

Why is it that all Dan's books seem plagued by editing errors?  I ask this non-rhetorically. 

caryn's picture
caryn

I am just getting back to this post today. I certainly am not so interested in buying this book after this discussion about the inconsistencies in his recipes!   While looking at this book on Amazon in the "Look in this book,"I discovered the most comical error.  I was reading the recipe for whole wheat challah with apricots, and in its description, Leader declared that "The result is worthy of any occasion, including a Passover dinner." It really made me laugh. Passover is the Jewish holiday in which bread is forbidden!!! 

mimifix's picture
mimifix

I don't know if that was an error on Leader's part. He seems to have an attitude that suggests irreverance. A rather disrespectful attitude.

yy's picture
yy

LOL. You know what else goes well with apricots during Passover? pork loin. 

caryn's picture
caryn

Really!!!!

meetmike's picture
meetmike

While we're on the subject of publishing disasters, maybe someone can help with one I purchased. Splurged on a copy of Alford and Duguid, Homebaking, The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World, Artisan, A Division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2003. Truly a pretty and informative book. But...very unhappily, the printer mis-assembled the latter part of the book, duplicating some 20 pages and eliminating another 20 or so, including the glossary. Even thinking about it feels like knowing there's a stain on a favorite shirt--don't want to wear it, but don't want to throw it away either. Did anybody else run into this? Were you able to get a replacement, corrected copy? Would appreciate any guidance, suggestions. Mike in Maine

mimifix's picture
mimifix

Return the book if you bought it within the recent past. Otherwise, contact customer service at Workman Publishing. Since it's in a 2003 book they must be aware of the problem and have  apolicy for handling it. Hate when that happens...

meetmike's picture
meetmike

You've inspired me to make the effort with Workman Publishing. Thanks for responding. Mike in Maine

TerryD's picture
TerryD

I have been working my way through Leader's Local Bread for the past two years.  I came to think of it as the best conceived and worst executed cookbook ever - the range of breads included is terrific, but the recipes simply cannot be relied on to be correct - it is so frustrating. I have seen MANY corrections to Leaders recipes here on thefreshloaf. I'm sorry to hear the he continues the sloppy work. I'm not eager to put myself through all this trouble again, so I will pass on his new book

Following up on an earlier comment -has there been a compilation of corrections/revisions for Local Bread?

itinerant baker's picture
itinerant baker

The summary of errors noted by commenters above is very helpful...thank you.  

I found so many errors in Leader's Simply Great Breads that I called the publisher, Taunton Press, to ask if there was a list of corrections available.  Customer service checked with editorial, who said no, as they had never heard of any errors in the book.   

Here's another mistake in the conversions that I discovered too late:  I followed the recipe for mana'eesh, which called for "4 oz/113 grams (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing" to make two flatbreads.  It seemed like a lot, as most Arabic and Armenian recipes I've seen call for no oil in the dough, or at most a Tablespoon, but I gamely pressed on, thinking I'd learn something new.  I used weighted measures as he recommends in early pages of the book, and glugged in 113 grams of oil to the dough. Lordy that seemed like a whole lot, so I checked his math, and in this case, I should've used the 1/4-cup fluid measure, since 4 oz/113 grams of olive oil is actually equivalent to 1/2 cup!  Respecting his recipe and trusting his weights wasted a whole lot of good ingredients, and of course, baked greasy, inedible bread.

It's disappointing that few of the reviewers on Amazon note the errors that many of us readily found on first bake.  Many seem to have reviewed their complimentary copies for readability and pictures, but didn't actually bake from it.  That's my last bake from a Leader recipe, I think.

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

There was a long post, way back in September and October, re. errors in Leader's Local Breads. 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4097/formula-issues-leaders-local-breads

The upshot was this list of errata:

http://www.breadalone.com/PDF/local-breads-corrections.pdf

Hope this helps; it was put out by Leader's wife, Sharon Burns-Leader, Sharon@localbreads.com.

Joy

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I just looked at this endlessly long thread about Leader's errata dating from 2007/8, finding MiniOvens comments on cumin in German rye breads. She is absolutely right - this has to be a translation error. Cumin is not at all usual in German breads, especially not in traditional ones! I bought cumin only when I started cooking some Indian dishes, never used, or seen, it before.

Mini is right - it has to be "Kümmel" = caraway, one of the typical German bread spices (the others being anise, fennel and coriander.) The German term for cumin is "Kreuzkümmel", for a translator an unfortunate similarity to "Kümmel", but in a book on ethnic "local" breads you would really expect a more diligent translation.

I'm planning to bake some of the breads, having got the book as Christmas present, and I have seen the list of errata. The cumin/caraway error has, unfortunately, not been addressed yet.

Karin

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Sharon@breadalone.com.  Sorry 'bout that.