Book Review of Crumbs!

Yeast, Stories, and Slices: A Tale of ‘Crumbs!

Getting back into reading after a hiatus was like rediscovering an old friend. The catalyst for my literary revival? The aspiration to pen down a food memoir. And so, the quest for inspiration began. ‘What kind of writing resonates with me?’ Reflecting on this, I found myself drawn to culinary books – those delightful creations that seamlessly blend recipes with compelling narratives. There’s a certain charm in the fusion of storytelling and information, a literary concoction I yearned to explore in my local literary landscape before venturing into the realms of foreign authors.

Amidst my exploration, I stumbled upon a gem that captured my heart: ‘Crumbs! Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen’ by Saee Koranne-Khandekar. It was an instant connection, a literary love affair that ticked all the right boxes for me. And to find such a treasure aligned with my passion for bread – well, that was like the perfect cherry on top!

You see, I appreciate a writing style that’s not just informative but also warm and friendly, a guide that solves problems while creating a whole new world for its readers. In ‘Crumbs!’ I found precisely that. Today, let’s delve into my thoughts on ‘Crumbs! Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen’ by Saee Koranne-Khandekar, a literary delight published by Hachette India in 2016.

“Crumbs!: Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen” by Saee Koranne-Khandekar is a delightful exploration of the realm of bread-making, blending personal narratives with an array of tempting recipes. This culinary journey takes readers from traditional Indian breads like sheermal and bhakri to international favourites such as ciabatta, sourdough and baguette, making it a diverse and appealing guide for both novice and experienced bakers.

Crumbs! Book Cover Front
Crumbs! Book Cover Back

Writing style in the book

The book opens with an inviting invitation into the world of bread-making. Koranne-Khandekar’s writing is engaging and friendly, making the reader feel like a welcome participant in her journey. If you enjoy a writing style that’s friendly, warm, and filled with genuine passion, you’ll love this book. The author’s use of personal stories makes the book informative and easy to relate to. Her narrative is relatable and encouraging for those intimidated by the idea of working with yeast and dough.

One of her stories about Parathas and Kulchas reminded me of my school days. Back then, a friend named Sashi introduced me to simple ghee parathas with a sprinkle of salt and red pepper. I used to happily swap my lunch with Sashi, hoping my mom could recreate that exact paratha. All I could tell my mom was, “It’s very soft, yummy, and has something in it that makes me go zing!” After days of pestering, I finally had to bring half a paratha from Sashi’s lunch for my mom to taste. That’s when she got it just right!

Writing the book review of Crumbs!

Content of Crumbs!

The book’s strength lies in being inclusive, covering everything about bread from its history, preparation techniques, necessary tools, and troubleshooting, to actual recipes (with the author’s suggested variations). It even goes beyond, teaching you how to use leftover dough and finishes with recipes for jams, chutneys, flavoured, and nut butter that pair perfectly with the breads.

With over 13 years of experience as a food writer, researcher, and culinary consultant, Saee’s expertise shines through in her keen observations of food preparation, meticulous research, and captivating storytelling within each chapter. It’s great for beginners, addressing the worries and questions of new bakers, and making the whole bread-making process easy to understand. The variety of recipes is wide-ranging, from traditional Indian breads to international favourites, making the book appealing to a broad audience.

However, if you’re searching for a deep dive into specific regional breads or advanced baking techniques, this might not be the best choice for you.

Educational Value of the Book

Some readers suggest that diving deeper into the science of bread-making could make the book even more educational, especially for readers wanting to understand the processes better.

From what I felt, the author’s goal was to make bread-making less confusing, especially with all those fancy terms. She wants new bakers to feel confident using yeast instead of being scared. Making perfect bread is an art that takes time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start. The author emphasizes the inevitability of making mistakes, encouraging readers to view them as valuable learning experiences rather than failures.

This book is great for learning. It gives practical tips and explains the science behind bread-making. Maybe there’s another version of the book coming that goes even deeper into the science of making bread?

Goal/ Aim of the Author of Crumbs!

Visuals within the Book

Talking about visuals, some folks might want more step-by-step pictures, especially for tricky recipes. But I think the colourful and delicious visuals added by Koranne-Khandekar were just right. They make the recipes look even more tempting and serve as a helpful visual guide for us readers.

Easy to use Recipes

The heart of the book is, of course, the collection of recipes that cater to a diverse range of tastes and preferences. From the traditional Indian breads that hold cultural significance to the more contemporary and international options, each recipe is presented with clear instructions, accompanied by vibrant and appetizing visuals. The inclusion of a variety of breads ensures that there’s something for everyone, making the book a versatile companion in the kitchen.

Making Multigrain Bread from Crumbs!
Perfect Bread!
Perfectly proofed bread

You can also check out my post on how to make bread in 12 easy steps. From mixing simple ingredients to a final loaf of bread, bread making goes through 12 steps. Follow these steps to get perfect bread, every time!

Steps to make perfect Bread

Cultural Persepective

Koranne-Khandekar adeptly weaves together the cultural context of Indian breads in her book, offering readers not just a collection of recipes but also captivating stories and insights into the cultural importance of various types of bread. She delves into Indian breads from every corner of the country, giving special attention to classic breads from Irani cafes, as well as exploring the world of Parathas, Kulchas, and the Goan Poder.

The book also sheds light on the unleavened Indian breads commonly found in our kitchens, elucidating their usage and cultural significance. Not confined to the boundaries of India, Koranne-Khandekar extends her exploration to Western breads, including Ciabatta, French Breads, Sourdoughs, and more.

To Conclude

In conclusion, “Crumbs!: Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen” is a delightful and accessible guide to bread-making, catering to a broad audience. Saee Koranne-Khandekar’s personal touch, coupled with her expertise, creates a book that is both educational and enjoyable. These stories aren’t just entertaining; they’re invaluable lessons that highlight the importance of embracing mistakes as an integral part of the learning process. This approach beautifully humanizes the art of bread-making, transforming it from a daunting task into an accessible and enjoyable endeavor.

Key takeaway from Crumbs!

While the book may not delve deeply into certain aspects, the book’s overall impact is positive, making it a valuable addition to the library of both novice and experienced bakers interested in exploring the world of bread. Throughout the book, the author did a great job, sticking to the main goal: to make yeast and those fancy bread terms less mysterious, so that everyone can start making bread in their everyday Indian kitchen!

Share your thoughts about this review in the comments below and feel free to suggest similar books for my reading list. Subscribe to Bakestermind in the form below for more such content. Until then, enjoy your reading and happy baking!

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