The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bernard Clayton Jr.

hungryscholar's picture

Made some Italian Easter bread and everybody helped shape it. I'll have to check on revealing the carefully saved family recipe from a likely long out of print cookbook. I can reveal that it has a nice mix of fennel seeds and lemon zest that I haven't seen in other Easter bread recipes making the rounds.

Easter was great visiting with family, but I got home and there was a washer to be fixed and plenty of clothes to be washed. Since I wanted to watch the washer while running a test load I made sure I had everything I needed to pass the time, fresh coffee, and a copy of Clayton's Breads, recently snagged at a library book sale:

cook book hoarder's picture

Bernard Clayton Jr. "The Breads Of France" Type-o ?

February 16, 2012 - 7:32pm -- cook book hoarder

Hello Everyone!

Maybe someone can help me. I can't find any references online to the three typographical errors in this book. Does anyone know if this was an occurence in all the printings of 1978? It should be simple enough, but I have not been able to find a thing about it. I appreciate any help or direction!

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

This is my first project from the many breads that I found interesting in Bernard Clayton Jr.'s book,  "Breads of France", first printed in 1978. I obtained the copy I'm reading through an inter library loan from McPherson, KS, which is deep in the heart of Kansas and wheat growing country. The book is a 1978 copy. Mr. Clayton's formulas are written down in volume measurement so I used a calclator, pad, and pen to scratch out my weight measurements. That's the penalty I pay for not having learned how to use a spread sheet. This must be an obscure if not quite forgotten bread because both Bing and Google searches failed to turn up any formulas on line that I could find.

The bread isn't quite a flat bread as Mr Clayton described it nor is it a focaccia type bread despite the estimated 77% hydration. With stone ground whole wheat flour accounting for 44% of the flour and some wheat germ added, the bread has a nice dark crumb. The WW flour is used in both the preferment and sponge so there's little if any bitterness from the WW. I expect that the formula could be adapted for use with a sourdough starter. It goes well with hearty soups that I like to serve in wintertime. Mr. Clayton wrote that the bread was considered as a "pain de regime" or diet bread in France at the time the book was written.

I wouldn't say that my formula has been perfected yet. There were enough details in the formula and procedures that puzzled me the first time around so I think that I'll have to go back to this loaf again. However, I posted my procedures and weight measurements along with some aimless chatter on my blog. Don't expect a professional formula please. If you should share my interest in the loaf and actually try it for yourself, I hope that you'll share your successes and mishaps with me.

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