The Hot Bread Kitchen

August 30, 2016

 Hot Bread Kitchen, based in NYC, builds lasting economic security for low-income, immigrant and minority individuals by creating pathways to professional opportunities in the culinary industry. 67% of their operating budget is funded through the sale of multi-ethnic breads and rental of commercial kitchen space. The range of breads that they bake and deliver includes Iran (nan-e-barbari, a chewy flatbread topped with black and white sesame seeds, and nan-e-qandi), Morocco (m'smen, a flaky flatbread traditionally served for breakfast with honey), Mexico (corn tortillas), Eastern Europe (challah), Ethiopia (the slightly sour injera, fermented teff flour served with wat), and more.​

The long-awaited Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook is divided by bread type: unleavened and flatbreads, lean breads and rolls, enriched breads, rolls, and buns, filled doughs, and quick breads and holiday breads. You'll find favorites from India (paratha, naan, chapatis), the Middle East (hummus, pita), Eastern Europe (challah, matzo, eier kichel, bialys, knishes, kreplach, nut roll), France / Italy (batard, pan bagnat, olive boules, ciabatta) and Mexico / Latin America (pan de muertos, conchas, tortillas, guacamole, tamales, tostadas, empanadas). Other little-known gems include Albanian cheese triangles, Tibetan momos, Another thing I liked was that various recipes are included that use leftover bread, from bread puddings and stale bread (panzanella, tres leches bread pudding with Mexican chocolate sauce, ribollita), to complementary dishes (curry, wat, stews, dips, salads) that pair perfectly with the included bread recipes.

I consider myself a fairly competent home baker; I have long worked with yeast breads (including fresh cake yeast) both kneading by hand and stand mixer, and I welcomed the challenge of new bread types. Step-by-step photos (for trickier items like braiding challah) are particularly helpful for novice bakers. As a longtime baker of challah, I particularly appreciated the many challah recipes, including basic, raisin, whole wheat and Sephardic. You'll even find Vietnamese-style bagueettes and iced Vietnamese coffee.

This lovely selection of breads and accompanying dishes, sauces, and sides is rounded out by baker profiles and a very thorough guide to tips, equipment, and bread storage suggestions. Ingredients are given in US volume and metric (for my baking books, I generally prefer weight measurements, so appreciated having the metric weights given). Gorgeous photos give serving suggestions for each bread and side dish featured in the book. A list of online/mail-order sources and a hefty list of acknowledgments round out the book.

An excellent resource for home bakers, especially if you already have some prior bread baking experience. This is a fantastic treasure trove if you enjoy trying international bread recipes and new dishes; it would be fun to host themed dinners using the included recipes. Highly recommended!

(I received this book through Blogging For Books)

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