Hot Bread Kitchen is a New York-based bakery that trains low income immigrants from all over the world in how to become financially independent through a baking career. The bakery started training women – many of whom grew up baking traditional breads, as well as preparing other traditional foods, in their home countries – in language, business and professional kitchen skills and grew from there to become the larger incubator that it is today. But though the business as grown, the breads they produce are the core of the business and the recipes they use come from the countries that their employees are from.
The bakery’s mission is unique because it aims to help both the people who work in its kitchen and the people who buy their breads, introducing them to new products that they may not be familiar with. The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook is built around the stories of those who have come through the kitchen and the recipes that they bake on a daily basis. The introduction also includes dozens of helpful bread baking times that cover everything from mixing dough to storing finished breads for optimal freshness. The tips will help you handle your dough confidently, as well as ensure that your breads turn out well. The book has a wonderful array of different bread styles from around the world and the chapters are divided by bread type, rather than by country of origin. This means that unleavened and leavened flatbreads have their own chapters, followed by lean breads, enriched breads and filled doughs. The recipes are carefully written, and each recipe comes with more recipe-specific tips that will help home bakers to produce bakery-style results without special equipment. There is also a chapter at the end of the book with recipes that put leftover bread to good use, including everything from chilaquiles that use leftover tortillas to grilled cheese french toast made from leftover challah.
This is a fun book to bake through, with beautiful illustrations that will put you right in the bakery. There is something for everyone, even if you don’t have much experience baking breads at home, and you’re sure to find a few new favorites, as well as some old classics.