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James MacGuire sourdough article

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leucadian's picture
leucadian

James MacGuire sourdough article

James MacGuire has written an article in The Art of Eating vol 83 on sourdough. I haven't read it but there's a nice writeup in Chocolate and Zucchini. Clothilde includes a recipe, which looks like conventional wisdom at TFL, but a good writeup nevertheless. (2 stage levain build, 69% overall hydration, stretch and folds at 1 hour intervals, steam oven, bake at 450 then 350. No autolyse per se, just a rest after mixing. ) But the original article has a lot more than just a recipe, apparently. Has anyone seen it?


http://www.artofeating.com/back.htm 
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2010/08/pain_au_levain.php#more


 

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

when it arrived in my mailbox, ignoring the rest of that issue. At least to start with. It was a fairly straightforward recipe, but with very little wiggle room. Do it exactly the way he writes, MacGuire seems to say, and you'll get a great loaf every time. I didn't actually try the recipe though, as I am pretty happy with my basic breads.


Art of Eating is one of the best things I read.


Jeremy

LindyD's picture
LindyD

having obtained it through my local library's intra-library service.


My copy of the MacGuire article is nine pages long; the tenth page is titled How to Buy and Store Pain au Levain by Edward Behr.  But no recipe.  Looking at it now, I see that while there is no missing text in the article,  page 21 of the magazine is missing and am guessing that page contained the recipe.   I also noted that the referenced blogger who had published MacGuire's formula had to remove it after being contacted by Mr. Behr.  


Mr. MacGuire does offer a thorough discussion of levains and their maintenance.  He goes on to note that every time he's been given a culture (even one that was supposedly over 100 years old), no matter its origin, on his regimen of feedings those cultures produce bread that tastes exactly like his own.


He has a nice discussion about the Poilâne Bakery and how their famous miche is made, but what I found most interesting was his comment that "Maybe because North America is no longer the bread desert it was, in Paris I was less appreciative than I used to be.  I wanted to like the loaves I tasted, but none struck me as especially delicious."  


He goes on to write of his certainty that the root of good flavor is in the levain and long fermentation.  


Happily, Mr. MacGuire did find his heart's desire in a cooperative bakery, Paine Virgule, outside Nantes.


It's a very good read, Leucadian, and contains much, much more.  Check with your local library if you don't want to purchase the back issue.  They should be able to either make a copy of the article, or obtain the entire issue for you.


 

leucadian's picture
leucadian

but not any more. I have a strong affection for TFL and for C&Z, and view Mr. Behr's objections as short sighted and petty. I'll check the library loan desk. Thanks Lindy.


 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Mr. Behr has reconsidered and is now allowing Clotilde to post her version of James MacGuire’s pain au levain recipe.  All passionate bread bakers looking to improve their skills would be well served by supporting Mr. Behr’s and Mr. MacGuire’s efforts by purchasing a back issue of their own.


 


SteveB


www.breadcetera.com




 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

If you think about it, authors and publishers earn their living (in whole or in part) through the publication and sale of their work.  People buy the magazines/books, etc. and royalties are paid to those who earned them.


I personally see nothing objectionable about Mr. Behr, or any author/publisher, protecting those earnings through copyright enforcement.


In Mr. Behr's case, his magazine carries no advertising so I imagine he has to rely solely on subscription sales to meet his expenses, including paying his featured authors.


It was unfortunate that the blogger at C&Z didn't ask permission before putting Mr. MacGuire's formula on her blog.  She may have been able to work something out and create a win-win situation by doing a bit of free advertising for the Art of Eating publication in exchange for using the formula.


Like you, I had contemplated subscribing - but I really need to examine a full issue before doing so.  Guess it's time to contact my librarian again.

leucadian's picture
leucadian

I believe that legally, C&Z was on firm footing in rewriting the recipe and publishing it. The on-line review gave credit to the Art of Eating,  recommended buying it for the excellent article, and gave a convenient link for purchase. Perhaps Mr. Behr didn't appreciate the impact his letter asking for the withdrawal would have. It's interesting to note that C&Z was quite gracious in their withdrawal, making no comments other than that they were not violating any copyright.


For myself, I am considering again whether to subscribe to The Art of Eating, and I appreciate that the recipe is back on-line at Chocolate and Zucchini.