A few noteworthy traditional recipes, but for the most part this is an ill-conceived and contrived compilation. Aside from recipes for such dependable standbys as brioche, challah, angel biscuits, and sour dough bread, Olney provides a series of gimmicks to form bread dough into all sorts of nifty shapes. There are a Honeycomb Loaf, Sunflower Bread, The Artichoke (a French eighteenth-century form, but here done in a ""two-tone, two-flavor loaf""), the Cauliflower Loaf, and the World's Largest Hamburger Bun. While the presentation of such loaves would certainly elicit ""oohs"" and ""ahs"" (assuming that directions could be successfully followed--they are none too thorough for such complicated procedures), this type of recipe is less concerned with the art of baking than the craft of shaping dough. Topping it all off are techniques for making scorched designs on a loaf, and a final chapter on purely decorative bread dough made of Bread Sculptor's Clay (store-bought bread mixed with glue). Other ideas for how to take bread out of its slice-and-eat realm are contained in a chapter called ""Essence Breads and Their Butters."" Included in this section is another imaginative shape--a loaf made to resemble a baked potato (with butter, sour cream and chives, of course), but most are simply overdone combinations of flavors: Gingered Banana Bread with Rum Butter, Pistachio Lemon Bread with Lemon Butter, Chocolate Chip Bread with Chocolate Butter. In sum: a collection of showy but adulterated breads. Perhaps underneath all the foofaraw are some decent recipes, but they are too difficult to find.