The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

A new bread book looks very promising

dmsnyder's picture

A new bread book looks very promising

I have been aware of Maurizio Leo through his social media postings for some time. He is a home baker, but an extremely serious one who comes from a restaurant family. Eventually, I discovered his blog (ThePerfectLoaf dot com)  and found him to be an articulate and generous mentor for home bakers. More recently, he has published a baking book. It is more on the model of Tartine Bread or Forkish's books than, say, Hamelman"s. But Leo's recipes are very well documented and look really good. His book, "The Perfect Loaf," won a James Beard Award this year. 

Today, I baked his "Rustico." I have baked it once before with some flour substitutes and thought it very good. Today, I had the Central Milling T85 flour Leo uses, along with AP and whole Spelt, and I followed the recipe exactly.

Maurizio's "Rustico" is quite similar to my favorite multigrain sourdough. It is an 80% hydration, 45% whole grain and high-extraction flour loaf. I made it with no mechanical mixing, and it was a very nice dough to work with.

This is good bread. It has less wheaty flavor than my usual multigrain sourdough, but it has a nice sweet lingering flavor. The crust is crunchy and chewy. The crumb is tender and cool. This is a nice recipe, and I enjoyed the experience of making a bread with more spelt and higher hydration than usual for me. My biggest takeaway is that I want to play more with the T85 flour. I think it's good stuff.

Happy baking!



alfanso's picture

As virtually always the case, a beautiful bread to post.

"I found him to be an articulate and generous mentor"

We hooked up with Maurizio for coffee and pastries one morning several years ago when visiting your old med. school town.  He was a delightful companion and I've communicated with him offline once or twice since.  He was warm and friendly and kind enough to present us with one of his batards, which we consumed in no time flat.  He deserves all of the accolades due.



dmsnyder's picture

For the compliment and your photo.


Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

So which is Maurizio? 

The guapo with the black pants or the funny looking geezer holding the loaf?


Beautiful baking as always David.  Thanks for the tip.


plevee's picture

I baked the German whole rye from his book. His instructions, bakers' math, timings and temperatures were spot on and the the bread turned out exactly like the picture in his book and tasted delicious. I plan to bake more from the book.

Benito's picture

Very handsome loaves David.  I had borrowed his new book from the library and found it like his website, well written with loads of good instructions for baking his formulas.  If I was just starting out baking sourdough I would definitely have purchased it, yet there are loads of good recipes for experienced bakers as well.


dmsnyder's picture

This book does have a few recipes I definitely want to try, and it did get me thinking about using bassinage/double hydration more.

Your comment got me thinking about there being two kinds of bread baking books. One type is aimed at the bread nerd. It includes lots of bread science. Michel Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry," Hamelman's "Bread" and even Reinhardt's BBA are examples. Many are aimed at professional bakers but not all. The other type focuses on detailed technique descriptions without detailing why they work. I would put Leo's book in the second category along with "Tartine Bread" and Ken Forkish's first book. 

Which books are best for beginners? I'd say, it depends on their style of learning.

Happy baking!