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Williams-Sonoma Breads    by Jacqueline Mallorca, Chuck Williams & Allan Rosenberg order for
Williams-Sonoma Breads
by Jacqueline Mallorca
Order:  USA  Can
Time-Life, 1996 (1996)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Bread. The staff of life. What can ever taste better than a warm, crusty piece of fresh baked bread? Nothing in my book. And the fragrance! Heaven. When I happened on Williams-Sonoma Breads with two crusty baguettes on the cover, I couldn't resist the book, just as I can't resist the real thing. 'Man cannot live by bread alone,' goes the familiar old saw. To which I'd like to add my own elaboration: 'Neither can he dine well without it.'

The cookbook begins with a list of suggested equipment. It moves on to definitions of flours, bread baking basics, and a pictorial section on strategies for baking bread. Don't let the idea of making yeast doughs discourage you. I taught myself without guidance. And I have to say my breads were not only good, they were great. If I can do it, so can you. Next come the recipes oh, what wonderful breads! From Old-Fashioned White Bread to French Baguettes to San Francisco Sourdough Bread to Three-Grain Bread. The recipes go on and on, along with accompanying photographs that make you want to make each and every bread in the book.

The Whole-Wheat Bread would be a winner with my family. But I'd have to try the Portuguese Corn Bread and the Round Currant Loaf for me. Having owned an Irish import shop, I've made more than my share of soda bread and am always looking for one that might be better than my own recipe. This one looks like a contender, with the addition of plain lowfat yogurt. How about making your very own English Muffins or Bagels? That idea appeals to me. If you're from the Philadelphia area, you'll recognize the old-timey Sticky Buns. Nostalgic and always delicious. Different varieties of Focaccia even Sweet Focaccia with Grapes! make my mouth water.

Williams-Sonoma Breads is, in my eyes, a cookbook worth having. There's sure to be a recipe to entice you, and give you the courage to try something that seems hard but which is easily conquered. Move out of the box and go for it. I'm meeting a friend for dinner tonight at a restaurant that serves great breads. Can't wait. Don't have time to make my own today. I'm busy writing this.

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