Whenever we're in New York, Amy's Bread is one of the first stops on our list. The rows of burnished artisan loaves and pastry cases of treats draw us like a kid to a candy store, and it's always agony deciding which one to get. With this cookbook, now we can make (or at least attempt!) some of these same loaves back at home!
Title & Publisher: Amy's Bread: Revised and Updated by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree. Published by John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
First Impressions: What a gorgeous book. If you've never been to Amy's Bread in New York, flipping through these pages will give you a pretty good idea of the experience. Inviting full-color photos of breads are on nearly every page spread, and the layout of the text makes the recipes feel approachable and easy to follow. The book is hardbound and easily lies flat on a counter top. The paper is thick and the binding feels sturdy - we won't worry about dripping or splattering this book!
The Angle: This book brings Amy's Breads to people who aren't able to stop by the store themselves or who would love to re-create their gorgeous loaves at home. The recipes are the same as those used in the bakery, but scaled back for home kitchens. This book is also an update of their book published in the 90's, and reflects how both Amy's Bread and baking in general have evolved in the past ten years.
The Recipes: There are nine full chapters of recipes, ranging from the most basic white sandwich loaf to complex multi-day sourdough boules studded with seeds and other ingredients. There's enough here to keep a home baker busy and challenged for quite some time! Following the course of the recipes, you encounter many kinds of flours, learn to work with sourdoughs and starters, and explore breads both sweet and savory.
Other Stuff: Amy and Toy really hold nothing back. The recipes are full of their advice, gleaned over years of working and refining these recipes in their bakery. The introductory chapters offer more detailed descriptions of recommended equipment and techniques that might be new or unfamiliar to home bakers. We also really enjoyed the walk-through of a typical day at Amy's Breads and the profiles of their dedicated employees. It was a behind-the-scenes look at one of our favorite bakeries!
Strengths and Weaknesses: After seeing these beautiful loaves gracing the shelves of Amy's Breads, re-creating them at home can feel rather intimidating. But Amy and Toy write these recipes with such enthusiasm and detail that we felt nothing but confidence as we read through the book. Their approach is gentle and encouraging, and they tell plenty of personal anecdotes to keep you entertained along the way.
Some of these recipes are pretty complicated. They require plenty of advanced preparation: making specific sourdough starters, letting things ferment overnight, patient attention to detail, and so on. On the downside, the number of recipes that can be made spontaneously when you get the baking urge on Saturday morning are few. On the plus side, if you're the kind of home baker who wants to know all the details and loves getting your hands deep into the dough (both literally and metaphorically!), then this book will be your new best friend!
Recipes for Right Now: Crispy Bread Sticks with Anise, Coriander, and Mustard Seeds; Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread with Oats and Pecans; Tangy Twenty-Four-Hour Sourdough; Semolina Rounds with Black Sesame Seeds; Chocolate Cherry Rolls
Recommended? Yes! This is a beautiful book, both in content and in layout. In reading it, we definitely felt the tug to get in the kitchen and start measuring flour!
Buy the Book: Amy's Bread: Revised and Updated by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree, $24 on Amazon.com
Have you picked up this book? What do you think of it?
Related: How to Knead Bread Dough: The Video
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image: John Wiley & Sons)