The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The promptings from a Book Review on The Fresh Loaf

handsonleaven's picture

The promptings from a Book Review on The Fresh Loaf

  I recently read this on the Fresh Loaf as a "non-member" of the site. 

     Here and there Hamelman makes a nod to the home baker, but it doesn't take long for the amateur baker to realize that Hamelman is not all that interested in his or her plight. The continual references to steam injectors and oven vents, proper posture when lifting 75 pounds of dough, and potential injury from improperly holding 7 to 8 foot long peels while unloading dozens of loaves of bread quickly make the amateur realize this book was not intended for him.  

I decided after reading this: "Maybe I should join "The Fresh Loaf" and see if people are struggling with Natural Leaven in bread dough because books are written without the intentions of including the homebaker." 

   As a homebaker, artisan baker , and author of a natural leaven primer, I could relate to this statement very well. my publicaton is intended  primarily for the HOMEBAKER  and artisan bakers who want a simple approach to teaching the home baker about natural leaven and its use in bread dough.  I thought, "I wonder if anyone is having difficulty with the basic rudiments of natural leaven due to the fact that in a comprehensive baking book on bread; natural leaven may be covered, but not in simplicity for the "no experience' to "some experience" person who is struggling with personally discovering making and managing natural leaven and its use in bread dough.  While my study of natural leaven has been over a twenty year period of time and I don't cross the knowledge of a professionals, I thought maybe there are some "out there" who need help.I did at one time, but have mastered the skill and sympathize with homebakers who can't get the answers for Natural Leaven Bread they are looking for.

My primer is sold wholesale, so I suppose one person doesn't need 100 ( my minimum order); but perhaps I could get a feel for those who are reading books that are not intended for them and make conversation in personal discovery of makng and managing  natural leaven and its use in bread dough. I tried bloggin elsehere but the set up was irritating and this seems to be going good for the first time now that I have been set up correctly

Don't communicate on The Fresh Loaf your interest our farm publcation: "Each One By Hand": A Natural Leaven Primer; this 24 page full color gloss magazine style handbook can be discussed else where; but is anyone  struggling with natural leaven and needs some questions answered.  E-mail: with Subject: Question about Natural Leaven. 

I am new to Fresh Loaf, I think I am supposed to sign my user name so ,




ehanner's picture

Helping people discover how to create great bread "one at a time", is a noble pursuit. Why don't you join the discussions by showing us your signature bread with a nice write up and some pictures. That way people will see that you have indeed mastered the process. Just an idea. There are some very prestigious authors here at The Fresh Loaf who have made a living helping home Artisan bakers. You will be in good company if you choose to join the community.


handsonleaven's picture

Hello Eric,

I don't join discussions because unlike my bread my hands have difficulty adding just the right stuff to get those words and images to rise in this box.  Unlike the leaven I work with, I do not know the activity of this site well enough to shed light on my mastery of what I have personally discovered about making and managing natural leaven and its use in bread dough. I will continue to try and maybe soon I will join  the discussions and image my work. 

I am grateful to hear that many of those at The Fresh Loaf have made a living helping home artisan bakers.  I am glad to know The Fresh Loaf has this kind of company. I will never be a celebrated author.  I will always be someone who likes to learn a skill, learn it well and help someone with that skill.  Written below is my answer to the question:  Why a Natural Leaven Primer? I am certain a much touted author could compile a greater work that would radiate and outshine mine. But it still remains my way of helping someone with the sole subject of natural leaven and its use in bread dough. Its a 24 full color gloss magazine-syle handbook; IOW a contemporary wrap of an old tradition: narural leavens, wood fired brick ovens and a baker who loves the art! 

  I appreciate your encouragement to gather more crumbs from The Fresh Loaf.  I will let these thought bake in my mind and hopefully they will give rise to my learning more how I can do this.  For now, here is my answer to the question I posed early

Why a Natural Leaven Primer: Taken from the introductory pages of my primer.

Each One By Hand: A Natural Leaven Primer was created to strongly guide the good, unanxious, quiet work of a loaf of Natural Leaven Bread. Almost two decades ago my husband and I began a study of natural leaven and its use in bread dough.  Our skills have increased over the years.  The comfort of starting a culture of wild yeast and bacteria (natural leaven) is when a simple loaf of bread can be easily made and it is well liked.   To me, easy means "”learned by heart”.  Well- liked means “ fresh baked”.   My management of natural leaven has not been difficult when viewed as a “personal discovery”.  What I found most frustrating was my inability to “learn the work by heart.” I think this was because I did not find the basic rudiments of making and managing natural leaven in the spine of one book.  I could create fresh bread, but often I did not like it because I was unaware of what my hands were really doing, and what the leaven was doing.  I wanted to possess the art of the work not just “what do I do.” For this reason, I created detailed notes each time I baked.    Each One By Hand: A Natural Leaven Primer is a compilation of my detailed notes from baking often and my past publications: “ A Little Leaven and Hands On Leaven.  These were created as drafts to  help others and myself. This primer is not a recipe book, but a basic handbook to introduce you to making and managing natural leaven and its use in bread dough.  

  Making each loaf by hand is a productive, joyous, human activity worth all the time and effort.    The primer has lengthy written instructions that will be time-intensive at first.  The Baking Schedule will help you to bake often and thus reduce the time.  The skills taught in this primer were carefully layed out for reading, practicing, executing and mastering the art of simple bread.