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Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers [ LOCAL BREADS: SOURDOUGH AND WHOLE-GRAIN RECIPES FROM EUROPE'S BEST ARTISAN BAKERS ] by Leader, Daniel (Author) Aug-01-2007 [ Hardcover ] Unknown Binding – 1 Aug 2007

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B007NC1KNY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By P. Myerscough on 6 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After baking my own bread for 5 or more years I was looking for new inspiration and Daniel Leader has provided that.

3 stars implies caveats and there are several. First this is a US book with a strange design. It is a large format hard-back. Every page has decorative red lines across the top and bottom, and that the ingredients table for a loaf can sometime take up a whole page of red lines and text. Bread is simple - just 3 basic ingredients flour, water, yeast so more than 360 pages for around 100 variations on the recipe is a bit heavy. There's some good information here, but it would be a lot more accessible in 100 pages or less.

There are some great photographs.

There is a lot of repeated copy-and-pasted text which leads to some annoying typos - how can more than 400 grams of ingredients make a piece of dough 'the size of a plum'. Bread making is a craft not a science, and to ask us to weigh out ingredients in amounts like 368 grams is a bit of a nonsense.

On the other hand, it is always great to read someone with real enthusiasm for their subject and this author's description of his visits to bakers in Europe is charming for this.

He recommends a set of equipment which is not so easy to find in the UK, even on-line. I recently found through Ebay "Bakery Bits" from Honiton Devon who seem to import everything mentioned in the book.

He has lead me to try some new techniques - for example adding flour to liquid, measuring the rising of dough using a parallel sided container, and so on. Time will tell if I continue this way. And our course the treatment of Levain - the creation of "natural" sour raising agents which is the whole purpose of this book.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover
'Local Breads' is a wonderful bread baking book, from the point of view of ease of use, clear instructions, and of course spectacular home bread results. I started baking bread about a year ago using Ursula Ferrigno, Leith's Baking Bible, and Anne Sheasby's Big Book of Bread, all perfect for the novice, easy to make, straight-dough recipes without any complicated starters. However, I have decided that the time has come for some more serious bread baking, including sourdoughs made from traditional starters. I wanted to dedicate more time to breadmaking and wanted to make REAL bread rather than quick-rise loaves that can be made in a couple of hours. And so I purchased, among others, bread baking books by Peter Reinhart, Rose Beranbaum, and Daniel Leader. And what can I say - after trying various starters, levains, bigas, preferments, Local Breads certainly comes out tops.

What infuriated me about a number of other bread books was the amount of recipes that call for heavy duty kitchen mixers. I am usually unable to make half of the recipes becauuse I do not have a Kitchen Aid, and the instructions are so off-putting saying that "the dough is too runny to make by hand." Surely no-one had Kitchen Aids 100 or 500 years ago when real hearth breads were baked, so why cannot authors just give recipes that can easily be made by hand just like our ancestors did?? And this is where Local Breads wins in every respect - his mammoth book contains perhaps 5 or 6 recipes where you need a Kitchen Aid, all the rest (including ciabattas and focaccias) can be made by hand.

I have tried many new and unusual recipes from this book and have not once been disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Baron on 8 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book, inspiring, great pictures, great stories, my only gripe is that some of the tables and the instructions don't match up and you have to use your common sense to work out what the quantities etc should be, and some are just wrong, editorial problem I would guess. Where a book like The Handmade Loaf wins hands down is that if you are unsure about something in the recipe you can get in touch with the author via his website and he will advise you! Something that this author might consider as I am sure he wouldn't want his readers to be sad and confused, like I was this morning trying to make something.

Edit 2014- -I would suggest searching on Twitter or Facebook if you can't find an author's website or contact via their publisher.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Clough on 15 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've read and worked with a fair number of other bread books over the years (Dan Lepard, Peter Reinhardt, James Beard, Nancy Silverton) and this one is hands down the best. The book is crammed full of information about the science and art of bread baking--useful tools, why starters work, why different bakers might use different starters, more information than I have ever found on the subject of flour, etc--combined with fascinating stories from the Mr. Leader's travels and work with other bakers. The book contains recipes for a few different kinds of starter, explaining why different types are useful for different breads.

The book discusses the breads of a variety of regions in France, Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Each of the main chapters takes on a region and discusses some of the history of bread baking in the area, and then walks you through how to make various related breads. The chapters usually start out with the most basic recipes for the region and move on to the more complicated recipes. The recipes are well illustrated with shaping techniques, etc. The ingredients amounts are given in volume, metric weight, imperial weight and bakers percentage. Talk about thorough! I've found the recipes easy to follow and I've had a lot of success. This is the one bread book I would never give up.
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