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English Bread and Yeast Cookery

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  21 reviews
In this universally acclaimed book Elizabeth David deals with all aspects of flour-milling, yeast, bread ovens and the different types of bread and flour available. The recipes cover yeast cookery of all kinds, and the many lovely, old-fashioned spiced breads, buns, pancakes and muffins, among others, are all described with her typical elegance and unrivalled knowledge.
Paperback, First Penguin edition, 592 pages
Published 1979 by Penguin (first published 1977)
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Bonnie Wilson
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was given to me in 1980* and I can't count the times I've consulted it since .... most recently yesterday when I baked some edible but unsatisfactory bread. So what did I do wrong? Elizabeth (I feel like I'm on a first name basis with her) has the answer. Always. From the chemistry to the crumb.

The history is interesting, the explanations of how different fats and liquids affect a loaf invaluable, and the contempt for commercial bread as pertinent today as when it was written. Most of
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. My favourite bread book. It’s part food history, part recipe book. I made her cottage loaf three times, each one a success, and I followed her surprising tip of baking it in an oven that had not been preheated.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in bread
For years, I've heard people raving about Elizabeth David's cookery books. Now I really know why. This is a must-have!

Particularly fascinating are the several historical recipes, reinforcing the fact that bread has been made for centuries in much the same way as now.

Particularly disheartening is what we are collectively allowing and condoning to change how bread is made, by adding time-saving additives (so-called "improvers") to the ingredients to produce lovely looking but taste-free loaves.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An overwhelmingly impressive book. Not so much a cookbook, as a historical survey of most types of European bread since always. Yes, it has recipes (many dating from the 16th or 17th century) but more than that it's a detailed description of ovens, flours, techniques, etc. A tour de force that I really had to add to my bookshelf. ...more
David Armstrong
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth David is my kitchen idol. If I could spend my life learning to cook like one person, it would be her. I owe her, and this book, so much. The history, the depth of knowledge, and the passion for local recipies all come together to make this the best and only bread book anyone could ever want or need.
John Croall
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is easily the best book on bread I have ever read. Not so much how to make, but fabulous on the history.
the section on ovens? she did the math!
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is history, and it is baking.
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who is interested in what they eat.
The title describes this book perfectly. Between the covers the reader will find anything and everything they could possibly want to know on the subject; and once the reader begins baking real, yeast risen bread .. and hot cross buns … and pizza, …and … well, after that there really is no looking back. Mrs David insists that the reader is given a background in understanding the source, properties and milling of different flours; such knowledge is incredibly useful when the home cook begins to in ...more
Nov 14, 2010 rated it liked it
The book's first half is a long (255 pages) discussion of how bread is made: the flours, the yeasts, the waters, the fats coupled with a diatribe on the state of "factory bread". I think she is missing her audience. Those who would pick up this book are ones who already agree with the paucity of current store-bought bread from the groceries of the 1960's and early 1970's. Once past that, the recipes look pretty interesting. I won't be trying the ones that start with "With a quarter of flour (256 ...more
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth David is not just a cookery writer, she is a food writer of uncommon wit, sense, and integrity. Part recipe book, part historical document,this volume contains some pithy commentary on the state of the commercial bread industry which is, regrettably, much the same now as it was in 1977. Highly recommended for anyone who loves bread, and who suspects that the supermarket loaf, no matter how tarted up by packaging and hyperbole, isn't what it seems. ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh come on! Who doesn't want to bake a flowerpot loaf! Just remember to use a new pot and make sure it isn't plastic...
This book is a wonderful survey of the history of bread and yeast cookery, with recipes from historical sources like Eliza Acton and Mrs Rundell. These often don't have reliable quantities, or use huge quantities that modern home cooks would find impractical. Still fascinating though.
Jennifer Heise
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking, food-history
When I first looked into bread-baking in the pre-modern era, this book, and Six Thousand Years of Bread were the ones that were recommended to me. I feel more knowledgeable about bread and bread history for having read it, and I enjoyed reading it.
That said, pre-1650 breadmaking is touched on only lightly here, & in a less-than-satisfactorily researched way. A good search through google scholar on medieval bread would dig up more recent research.
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookery
Forget the current deluge of books by wannabe celebrity bakers. This is a deeply personal exploration of baking by one of the all-time great cookery writers much-imitated by the many lesser writers who have followed in her footsteps.

Most important of all, the recipes have never failed me.
Heather Schwartz
Nov 08, 2009 rated it liked it
A keeper. Love the indepth look at the historical aspect of bread/yeast. I have read lots of books on bread and yeast in history but none that grabbed and exhausted the topic like this. A book you read and NEVER give to Friends of the The Library...
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking, own
I love this little book of Bread making.
David A.
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. Anyone interested in the history of bread, flour, yeast, or any kind of baking should have this book on hand.
Rebecca Huston
Still one of the best books on baking bread and worth the hunt to find out what is really going on with all that yeast.
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Any serious cook or cookbook collector would love to have this as part of their collection.
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
It's all about the stories. ...more
Jul 01, 2012 added it
This is the chef d'oeuvre. Also the masterpiece if researching bread. But also practical because the recipes are also for today. ...more
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Born Elizabeth Gwynne, she was of mixed English and Irish ancestry, and came from a rather grand background, growing up in the 17th-century Sussex manor house, Wootton Manor. Her parents were Rupert Gwynne, Conservative MP for Eastbourne, and the Hon. Stella Ridley, who came from a distinguished Northumberland family. They had three other daughters.

She studied Literature and History at the Sorbonn

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