The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Great NPR interview about a quest for the perfect loaf

Sally80's picture

Great NPR interview about a quest for the perfect loaf

Did anyone happen to hear the NPR Weekend Edition Sunday interview with William Alexander, the author of a new baking memoir called 52 Loaves? It was alternatingly hilarious and touching. In his quest for the perfect loaf, he grew his own wheat, and the oven to bake it in, travelled to France and Morocco, and restored a lost tradiition of baking to an medieval abbey in Normandy. His description of flailing wheat is priceless. You can hear interview here.  His website is

He has great blurbs from Jacques Pepin and Peter Reinhart, btw.


marilee's picture

Very interesting. I think I may try to get his book.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Mr. Alexander has been known to read and post here on TFL. I posted about his book "52 Loaves" after I saw it at a B&N in Omaha, NE. Within a couple days he replied with a brief note.

I haven't read "52 Loaves" yet but I did finish his book "The $64 Tomato" last week and I can say that as a gardener, it's a screamingly funny book. The man does understand the seemingly incongruent desire to utilize large caliber semi-automatic assault rifles on any deer that passes within 100 yards of a garden. I know that urge has crossed my mind. Just two days ago I lost a newly transplanted Genovese basil plant to a relative of Bambi and I mimiced a line from the book "Just shoot the damn thing!".  My annual dual of wits with the horde of four legged, antlered rodents has already begun before I've harvested anything from my garden. Don't worry, I haven't stockpiled C-4 explosive, yet.

Based on my reactions while I read his first book, I'm looking foward most enthusiastically to reading "52 Loaves".

caltiki's picture

I hope his readers won't blame the failure of his earth oven on Kiko Denzer! One look at the man's website and it's clear that his interpretation of Kiko's lucid instructions was, uh, fanciful...