Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader and volunteers with the elderly playing her designed The Write Word Game. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Author: Stephanie Petersen
Publisher: Front Table Books
“Even the most beautiful of my loaves is designed to be consumed in culinary bliss. Thus the addition and development of edible decorative dough has come to pass,” Stephanie Petersen writes in her cookbook, Bread Art – Braiding, Decorating, and Painting Edible Bread for Beginners.
This one hundred and eight-five page hardbound targets readers looking for artistic ways to create and present breads and rolls. After a two page introduction, the book is divided into seventeen chapters, followed by an index, measurement conversation charts, the author’s biography, and other authored books written.
This is not a boring bread book, it is a piece of artwork, not only by its visual photographs of amazing, creative inspirations of bread making, it is a step-by-step instructional cookbook how to design breads that look enticing to eat.
The first four chapters covering almost fifty pages discuss the basics of good dough formation, general bread tips, yeast adjustment scheduling, and simple bread recipes. Thirteen standard base recipes range from no-knead four-ingredient bread, or sweet, white, whole wheat, Irish soda, oat, whole grain, and rye bread to a unique yeast-raised orange gingerbread.
The next twelve chapters incorporate the basic recipes into tutorials, instructions, and tips on making decorative embellishments, loaf formations, braids, fancy rolls, wreath and crown loaves, edible flowers, bread painting, loaf-seeding, themed breads and buns, and fancy baguettes, ending with places to buy specialty products.
Some of the samples from the chapters range from savory herb decorative dough, bread slashing, thirty-two-strand star loaf, bear claws o’ glory, sunflower bread, and making roses, daisies, and carnations, to painting with espresso powder, berries, turmeric and annatto, stenciling and stamping, attaching rolled grains, designing five animal breads, making wedding loaf flower or lilac clusters, and adding fresh herbs to baguettes.
Each recipe lists ingredients, directions, baking instructions, and sometimes chef’s notes to perfect the loaf or rolls. The decorating sections have numbered techniques to follow with tips on how to best create the desired outcome.
Need something artsy for a special dinner? Try the leaves or vine designs. A quick gift could be the old-fashioned pheasant’s rye bread. Delight children with a fish, rabbit, calico cat, bear, and bird loaf and enjoy Petersen’s funny instructional technique on the bear: “Ask the next person you see, ‘Do you want butter or jam on your bear buns?’”
The main problem with this book is the fear of the edible artwork quickly disappearing once completed, with its mouth-watering appearance and aroma taunting the beholder.
Thanks to Cedar Fort, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.