In the world of great kitchen gadgets, the bread machine holds a special place. More than a time- or labor-saving device, it sparked a home-baking revolution. When the machines first appeared in the United States 11 years ago, some misguided culinary Luddites predicted that they would signal the end of creative home baking as we knew it. They could not have been more wrong.
In fact, the advent of the bread machine launched a virtual renaissance of creative home bread baking. Released from the physically demanding, hours-long labor of handmade bread production, millions of home bakers short on time or muscle power but long on gastronomic love found themselves able to turn out delicious, beautiful breads for the first time. And for the neophyte dreaming of the aroma of freshly baked bread and the seasoned home baker alike, Tom Lacalamita's Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook was the last word in lovely loaves. This past October, Lacalamita produced an up-to-date, comprehensive version of his best-seller: The All-New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook is a 208-page source book on every aspect of bread baking, from the science of flour, yeast, and gluten, to the intricacies of hand-shaping. There are scores of scrumptious bread recipes, from old-fashioned buttermilk white bread to tomato-and-basil-flavored loaves. And for those who can't live on bread alone, there are even doughs for brioche, sticky buns, jelly donuts, Christmas stollen, potato knishes, and German-style pretzels.
Lacalamita is no stranger to kitchen revolutions. The resident genius at The Kitchen Resource, a company dedicated to the invention of wonderful new tools for the culinarily obsessed, he spends his days thinking about ways to make cooking easier, more fun, and, of course, ever more delicious. His cookbook credits include The Ultimate Pressure Cooker Cookbook and The Ultimate Espresso Machine Cookbook; he's written for a slew of national food publications, including Cook's Illustrated and Fine Cooking; and he tests the worth and effectiveness of new kitchen products for the Good Housekeeping Institute. His common sense advice and straightforward, thorough style have made the kitchen a friendlier place for hundreds of thousands of phobic cooks, and his creative, fearless approach to gastronomic invention has freed countless serious home cooks to experiment and explore.
This month, Lacalamita brings his kitchen reformation to the Beard House, pairing his gorgeous breads with soul-satisfying soups. Home bakers of the world, unite: you have nothing to lose but your tired arms!
Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza
Onion and Sage Foccaccia
Fresh Herb Bread
Funny-as-a-Monkey Chocolate Pull-Apart Bread
Coconut Pecan Coffee Cake
Creamy Cauliflower Soup