In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves & Meals to Savor Every Slice

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | Aug 7, 2017 8:00 AM
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Copyright © 2017 by Alexandra Stafford. Photographs by Eva Kolenko. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Our Summary:

Finally, there is an answer to your question, "what to do with that leftover bread?"  With Bread Toast Crumbs at your fingertips, the predictable answer "breadcrumbs" flies right out the window, and instead, you're thinking Bacon, Cheddar, and Onion Jam Panini or Mussels with Saffron, Crème Fraiche, and Grilled Olive Oil Toasts.  Or maybe that hunk is too small to wrap it into another dish so you settle for Green Gazpacho with Tomato Salsa or Zucchini Fries with Tzatziki.  Whatever the size or dimension, style or flavor, of your leftover bread you are headed for star-status with these recipes.  And if you actually want to make an easy no-knead bread, well, Bread Toast Crumbs has you covered there too.

What you need to know:

Buy it:  Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves & Meals to Savor Every Slice. Copyright © 2017 by Alexandra Stafford. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC, April 4, 2017. Hardcover $30.00 (Amazon $15.59; Kindle $15.99)

See it:  256 pages with beautiful photos in a rustic setting of most finished recipes, but not all.

Make it: over 110 recipes including 40 no-knead breads built off of a master Peasant Bread recipe; chapters include ideas for using sliced bread or pieces that are transformed into cubes or crumbs.  A useful section on troubleshooting for bread-baking and 2 pages of informative FAQs.

Our Review:

When you open the pages of Bread Toast Crumbs and land on pictures of Broiled Stripe Bass or Rack of Lamb you might scratch your head thinking, "bread???"  That's the beauty of blogger Alexandra Stafford's book.  She treats bread as a pantry staple and manipulates it into delicious recipes either relying on slices or crumbs to complete the recipes.  And while using these pieces of bread in recipes is clever and appealing, Stafford shines here with what she knows best:  bread baking - but the easy, no-knead, comes together in 5 minutes, rises in an hour, and bakes in buttered bowls, kind of homestyle deliciousness. 

You'll be so excited by the options in Bread Toast Crumbs that you'll have trouble deciding whether to start with a recipe to use up what you have on your counter, or whether to try your hand at a Quinoa and Flax Bread, Kalamata Olive Bread or maybe just Buttermilk Pull-apart Rolls.  Stafford's mother's secret recipe is revealed in The Peasant Bread Master Recipe that will make you a bread-baker for life.

Broken down into Chapters Bread, then Toast, then Crumbs, each chapter is further broken down into subsections so you can easily land on a recipe that suits both your needs and the piece of bread you have.  Stafford says you can and should bake the breads in Bread Toast Crumbs so you always have some bread ready for whatever it is you want to cook.  And, cook you will!  Even a simple sandwich becomes a celebration of flavor in the easy-to-make Tarragon Chicken Salad or Crabmeat with Sauce Gribiche.  Mostly, though, you leave each chapter with confidence in both your cooking skills and the ability to transform a simple piece of bread into something more.

For those who are concerned about gluten, Stafford politely and quickly suggests an alternative flour mix (and includes her own recipe for a gluten-free master flour mix).  It's here, in the introductory notes of Bread Toast Crumbs, that you get the complete rundown on the simplicity of ingredients and your kitchen needs.  Stafford rounds out her book with frequently asked questions (which you'll be glad you read) and then a page of troubleshooting that'll have you thinking like a seasoned bread-baker.  That you happened to page through a handful of dessert recipes to land there and stumble across Goat's Milk Gelato with Salted Caramel Crumbs or Fried Custard Cream is just an added bonus.

You won't tire of Bread Toast Crumbs though the book's premise seems fairly pedestrian.  It's anything but as you'll discover when you catch yourself reaching for Stafford's book over and again trying to use up every last piece of the bread that you have!

Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

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