Freshly-made bread, warm from the oven – could there be anything better? Many people are nervous about making bread, but with Alexandra Stafford’s No-Knead basic bread recipe, really nothing could be easier. It is an incredibly simple recipe that almost guarantees good results. But Stafford’s beautiful book, Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves and Meals to Savor Every Slice takes you far beyond this simple beginning, in an eye-opening trip from fresh-from-the-oven to crumbs at the bottom of the bag, and which ensures you get to enjoy every delicious bit.
“Twenty years after baking my first loaf, I have found that the awe it inspires persists. Bread is what greets me in the morning, what sustains me throughout the day, and what I still look forward to most in the evening no matter the form: freshly baked, toasted, or crumbled all over my plate.”
Start with the basic recipe for two beautiful loaves of white peasant bread, then enjoy trying the almost 40 different variations made with additions such as fruits or nuts or herbs, or by varying the grains or shaping. These recipes are all pretty easy to put together, using the same basic techniques. Really this is quite surprising, and a revelation in itself – that you can make breads like Brioche or Multigrain Cereal Bread without any kneading!
Those recipes focused on the breads themselves. The next section shows you how versatile the breads can be, even once they have started to age a bit. This is where Toast comes in. Now you learn recipes for using the bread as an ingredient in Soups, Salads, Sandwiches (of course), Entrees, and even Sweets. Here are several recipes where the bread, now toasted, shines as a complementary ingredient, for example as the base of Tartines made with Avocado and Burrata, or to envelop your Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwiches.
The last section shows you how to use even those last ends and leftover crumbs, now as a basic ingredient for thickening soups (or even salad dressings!), coating fish sticks and cutlets, making tender meatballs, and topping or giving crunch to all sorts of things, from casseroles to desserts. These last two sections’ recipes are more involved and complex, although the recipes are still just as clear and the results, just as achievable.
Bread Toast Crumbs is a fascinating and joyous journey, a delightful look at how bread gives pleasure at every stage, from starring as a stand-alone loaf, to a supporting character, to almost a part of the scenery – but no less important for that. Beautiful photographs and enthusiastic, cheerful and confident writing just add to the joy. The book is a true pleasure, one you will delight to use again and again.