Cookbook Giveaway: Home Baked

by Daisy on 10/15/2012

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When I was a kid my grandmother’s next door neighbor was a lovely and thoughtful flight attendant who made regular flights to San Francisco, California.  She often brought back with her a special treat for my grandmother: the famous San Francisco sourdough bread.

Back then, I failed to appreciate the true renown of this iconic bread, but I remember the way my grandmother valued her transcontinental loaf, and have since come to make my own sourdough over the years.

I’d never tried to make it Frisco-style, however, until I got my hands on, of all things, a Nordic baking cookbook.  It was Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry.

I didn’t know, but should have, that sourdough is healthier than other breads because the fermentation breaks down the phytate in grain, releasing iron, zinc, and magnesium so our bodies can absorb it.  Isn’t it nice when more flavor means more nutrition, instead of the opposite? Bonus.

I’ve been home baking for a long time, over thirty years, but I learned life-changing things from this book.  I learned a new way to knead that I love, the importance of misting the oven with water before baking, and the value of a baking stone. I made a focaccia I won’t soon forget, sprigged with rosemary and brushed with olive oil, and I’ve been slavering over an English Apple Pie filled with raisins and spice combinations that have my imagination doing loop de loops.  I was inspired to make my own bread peel, too, and, wow, that thing is handy as a pocket on a shirt.

If you’re a beginner baker, this is a very good place to start, because it gets down to brass tacks, including the anatomy of a grain of wheat, descriptions of different types of grain, the basic tools and equipment you need (and why), and the methods I should have learned from the start.

If you’re a veteran home baker like me, but have never studied techniques borrowed from the professional bakers scaled for the home cook, I recommend this book.  You will also enjoy the evocative photography of the author’s Danish farm–the author and her family own and operate a small-scale organic stone mill to process their own grain.

Be forewarned, the recipes are in grams.  I actually love this part, because it takes one of my least favorite parts of baking and does away with it–guessing whether or not I have measured the amount of flour correctly.  American bakers are notorious for using measuring cups instead of weight for baking, and I do this, too, even though I know better.  With this cookbook, I’m forced to use weight, and I know I’ve got the amounts right (or as closely as I can come to right, flours differ, moisture content varies) and I can stop worrying and just keep kneading knowing it will come together properly in the end.

If you would like to try to win a copy of this book from the publisher, Chelsea Green, click on the link below and get in the running.

Win Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry, by Hanne Risgaard

 



{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Hedie Wiens October 15, 2012 at 7:30 am

Good morning. My husband too used to travel quite a bit to San Francisco and he would bring home a loaf or two of their awesome sourdough for us to enjoy. We watched a documentary specifically about San Francisco’s special sourdough bread. It was amazing. What was most interesting was that they aren’t possessive about their recipe. The reason is that is CANNOT ever be reproduced anywhere else because it’s the spores found specifically in San Francisco’s harbor air that makes their bread taste the way it does. That is why sourdough will taste differently based on the air that is around it no matter where it’s made. Isn’t that cool? Just thought I’d share that with you. Thanks

Daisy October 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

Hedie Wiens–It probably doesn’t hurt to BE in San Francisco while you’re eating it, either!

Rebecca October 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm

What a fun book!! Thank you for sharing!

Kate October 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Sounds like a “Must Have” book to me!

Mary October 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Bread and pastry in one wonderful book!

Katie October 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Baking has become like breathing for me. When I first learned to cook for myself, I thought that yeast was the scariest ingredient in the kitchen, I now consider myself the “yeast master!”

Lisa Anglin October 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm

San Francisco sourdough. It makes my mouth water and brings back so many memories. I grew up in the Bay Area and had access to the best sourdough bread you can ever find! I miss the taste of San Francisco’s best. I live in Oregon now and rarely get home but when I do, I stock up. Thanks for bringing back some great memories.

By the way, Hedie is correct. Sourdough tastes different wherever you are. I’ve had sourdough from Seattle, Washington and it has a completely different flavor than San Francisco’s sourdough, and both have a different flavor than what my friend makes here in the high Cascades of Oregon.

Paz October 21, 2012 at 1:00 am

Hello Ive been stalking this blog for some time now, a great fan but Ive always been shy about posting a comment till now, who am I anyway some strange person in our planet who happened to stumble across this fine blog in…. actually I dont remember where i found it…
Anyways, hi and a question, would it be cheating or mean of me to enter this givaway after having won the bee book givaway?

Daisy October 21, 2012 at 6:09 am

Paz–Congratulations! Naw, go ahead and throw your hat into the ring, there’s no limit. And thanks!

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