Not only the staff of life, but also the variety that gives it spice. (For spice itself, check out the tea rolls made with steeped Earl Grey Tea instead of water.) The Joneses (he wrote American Food and The World of Cheese and compiled The Food Lover's Companion) are such habitual bread bakers that the air in their kitchen abounds in wild yeast; as a result, their French bread must be refrigerated to slow its rising. In their relatively new country kitchen, they've noticed, the French bread rises slowly, as it should and did when they began to bake. The book abounds in the fruits of their experience--from comparative advice on machines for grinding your own flour, and suggestions for approximating brick oven conditions (or creating steam in your regular oven), to an original tip on simulating the baking form used in France with a split length of stovepipe. There are over 200 recipes in all: a far from exhaustive but knowledgeably representative personal compilation. Among the 14 ""Basic White Breads"" in the first chapter are a saffron loaf and another made with tofu; barley, oats, brown rice flour, triticale, and shredded wheat show up among the 32 whole-grain breads in chapter two. Other recipes range from humble hush puppies to the luscious Calzone Alicia developed at Berkeley's Chez Panisse restaurant; from the challenging croissant to a health-feeder's splurge: a tofu-carrot-soy milk-whole wheat-bran muffin. Ethnic standbys, from nan and poori to bagels and scones, come with due acknowledgment of authoritative American sources (Madhur Jaffrey, Julia Child, Claudia Rosen), plus ""touches"" worked out in the Jones kitchen. The dedication is to James Beard, whose classic Beard on Bread this sometimes duplicates but also complements with its more contemporary eclecticism.