Thursday, February 6, 2020

Breads From Betsy's Kitchen - A Book Review.

I am going to make a random guess, and say that I have over 100 books regarding cooking and baking.  Many I have purchased, some given as gifts, I have even won a few via Goodreads Giveaways.  Over the years, I have used many religiously, let others gather inches of dust, and given many, many away...just to receive more in kind.

I love the smell of baking, especially when it comes to yeast.  There is something so comforting in the smell of baking yeast breads and rolls.  Maybe it relates to childhood memories of going to the local Italian bakery.  Entering into a warmth of friendly greetings and overwhelming smells of breads, rolls, pastries and cookies.  Hugging loaves of crusty, sesame seed covered Italian bread, and the anticipation of munching on that goodness, slathered with melting butter.

So, when Breads From Betsy's Kitchen, by Betsy Oppenneer, was displayed in a Barnes and Nobles bookstore, it was the cover which naturally called to me first.  It was a kitchen scene that I have always wanted for my own, and still covet to this day.  Yes, I am one of those women who dreams of owning a farm type home, with a large country kitchen; wooden rafters on the ceiling, counters and cabinets all around, room for table and chairs, and a professional stove with gas burners, oven, and grill.  This would be heaven for me!

I'm still young (61 going on 21), it could still happen!

Anyway, it's been only recently that I was able to finally pull out this baking book, and begin playing with the recipes.  I have to state that our favorite is "Country Fair Egg Bread", and it very much reminds me of, well if Challah Bread married Italian Bread, and had children.  Just don't have a better way of describing it.  My hubby, Roy, simply says, "it tastes better than that stuff at the store", and uses it for everything...breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacking, sandwiches, and loves when I make French toast with it.

So, I will post a photo of the recipe, and then additional photos of making the recipe, and how it came out.  Even if you are a beginning baker, I would recommend trying out this recipe.  It is easier than it might look, and I bet you'll love the results which would include an ego boost to your confidence.

Oh, this was supposed to be a book review, ok, well, this is a great book from beginner to age-old baker.  The recipes have little stories, complete ingredient lists, and easy to understand instructions.  There are no photos of the baked goods, just a few drawings; but that means no pressure to be perfect, and I like that.  Interested in baking, or just want one for your collection, then this book will be just right for you.

Recipe for Country Fair Egg Bread
(page 34 in Breads From Betsy's Kitchen)

Proofing the Yeast.

Braided and Left to Rise

After Rising

Brushed with Egg Wash

After Baking

Crusty on the Outside; Tender and Fluffy on the Inside

If you need to see more photos, for help, please go to my article on making Challah Bread, and you will see the braiding technique.

Mary Cokenour

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