The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Rosalie's picture

New Bread Book by Ken Forkish: Flour Water Salt Yeast

October 3, 2012 - 8:47am -- Rosalie
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I ordered this book from the library, and I believe I'm the first person to check out this particular volume.  The author, Ken Forkish, had left an unsatisfying career in the Silicon Valley, chucking it all for artisan baking.  He opened Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland, Oregon, in 2001.

Boleigh's picture

It's my birthday soon...

July 4, 2012 - 1:40pm -- Boleigh

Hello (again from England, but slightly north of lovely Suffolk)

It's my birthday soon - in a month or so and I think I would like a baking book - especially about sourdoughs and long fermentations. I'm an experienced beginner - I can make a loaf and I love the NY Times recipe for no knead - but would like to get into sourdough etc. 

Any ideas?

Thank you 

 

blacktom's picture

Opinions needed!

February 27, 2012 - 1:38pm -- blacktom
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Dear everyone,

For several years I've been working on a book about bread-making, less from the standpoint of individual recipes than the underlying principles, science and history.

Although not quite complete, I've posted the finished sections as pdfs on my website, and I would really appreciate any comments and feedback from contributors to these forums. I've been working in a bit of a bubble and I would really benefit from other  people's opinions.

Terrell's picture
Terrell

I am extremely pleased to say that the book I've been reading this week, 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander is a vast improvement over the previous bread-related memoir I reported on. It's possible, even probable, that you need to be at least a little baking obsessed to enjoy it as much as I did but anyone who has baked at all or even those of you who just really appreciate a good, chewy bite of the staff of life should appreciate this chronicle of a year of bread. Alexander, author of the 2007 book on gardening The $64 Tomato in which he told of his quest for the perfect garden, seems to have a problem with obsessions. Fortunately, he's very funny about it.


In 52 Loaves, he decides that he must, absolutely, recreate the perfect flavor, crumb and crunch of a piece of bread he ate some years ago while on vacation. He reasons that if he bakes the same artisan peasant bread every week for a year, he will come to understand it down to its tiniest filament of gluten and thus be able to achieve his goal. Along the way he guides the reader through the mysteries of wheat and flour varieties, the true nature of yeast, explains in plain English the fearful calculus of the Baker's Percentage and allows us to follow him into the subterrenean kitchens of the Paris Ritz. He travels to meet bakers, scientists and like-minded enthusiasts. He even grows, harvests, threshes, winnows and grinds his own crop of wheat. Best of all, he is hilarious as he describes his attempts to make his perfect loaf. In the last section of the book, he convinces the monks at a monastery in Normandy to let him come bake bread in their ancient community. This section is weightier and clearly important to the author. He seems to finally get close to the "why" of his bread obsession.


I highly recommend this book for any novice bakers (and even for people who have more than a few loaves under their belts). I guarantee it will make your own struggles with levain and alveoli easier and much, much funnier.

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