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The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens Paperback – 1 Jan 1990

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Product details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co (1 Jan. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890132055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890132057
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

In recent years, there has been a revived and burgeoning interest in wholesome, locally baked bread, with bakeries springing up in small towns and major urban areas alike, producing an astounding variety of interesting, crusty, tasty, hand-made breads. The Bread Builders explains the grains and flours, leavens and doughs, the chemistry of bread and the physics of baking in a big book filled with helpful drawings, photographs, recipes and tips. In a unique angle for a book on baking bread, it also includes detailed diagrams and instructions for building your own masonry bread oven from scratch.

As Laurel Robertson, author of The New Laurel's Kitchen says: "This book is ice cream for a baker! We visit legendary bakeries, meet wonderful people, learn all sorts of fascinating scientific information with practical usefulness in bowl and oven, and best of all, get the skinny on masonry ovens, the cherished fantasy of us all." The enthusiasm of the authors in their search for the perfect loaf of bread permeates this detailed, but lively and accessible book, and will offer much of use to both amateur and professional bread makers. --Mark A Hetts

From the Author

At last: how to make wonderful sourdough hearth bread!
Taste and smell are the memory senses. My Proustian drive for many years has been to make bread that is as good as my memory of the best bread I ever ate. Although I have been baking (fairly regularly, but at home) for thirty years, it has only been for about ten years that I have been able to make bread that approached the best I have ever eaten, and only about five years that I have been able to make bread that is as good or better than the best available-- hearth breads with wonderful color, chewy/crisp crust, resilient crumb, satisfying flavor, and full nutritional value.

I had to make two major changes in my baking to make the bread I love. The first was to stop baking with commercial prepared yeast, changing to the slower European sourdough or natural leaven method of rasing my doughs. The second was to bake in masonry: first in a ceramic cloche, then in a masonry oven I built myself with advice from America's leading masonry oven builder, Alan Scott.

The combination of these two changes produced bread that was so different, (and so much better!) that I joined with Alan Scott to write a book about both halves of the process-- a book in plain English about the science and art of natural leavens and the theory, construction, and management of masonry ovens.

I am a scientist/physician by training, and I drew on my established research skills to chase down the best available published technical information on sourdoughs and ovens, then supplemented that information with practical trials. For example, Alan and I used instrumented ovens to record temperature changes over time. In the book, this type of technical content is leavened (excuse me!) with an extensive series of profiles of bakers, millers, and bakery consultants, illustrating the principles developed in the main text. The result is a book that is visually beautiful, informal, and accessible.

Alan Scott not only is an oven builder and metal craftsman, but also is a master baker and a deep thinker about whole foods, right livelihood, and ecology. In addition to his technical contribution to the book (which contains a full set of plans and instructions for building an Alan Scott-style oven of household size) is a continuing awareness these great issues. Many of these themes have also run through a number of recent Chelsea Green Publishing releases-- about organic orchard practices, commercial organic flower farming, solar gardening, and sustainable building methods.

I think The Bread Builders has the potential not only to allow you to make the kind of bread you have always wanted to bake, but to allow you to look at your life (family, career, diet) and consider some wonderful changes. Even if you will NEVER build your own oven, if you love hearth breads, you will want to read our book. I wish I had it to read, YEARS ago!


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 May 1999
Format: Paperback
I've been a serious amateur bread baker for more than thirty-five years. In that time, I have learned that magnificient bread can be made of the simplest of ingredients. Often, I have found it difficult to convey to friends that wonderful bread is "built" (to use the term in the book's title) upon the subtleties of technique rather than on the complexities of recipes.
Dan Wing and Alan Scott have provided bakers with a wonderful book that teaches these techniques and the principles that contribute to their success.
In addition, they provide detailed information about building that masonry oven I've been dreaming about for years. I think that it will soon become a reality.
Rarely have I felt so appreciative of a new book.
I offer these highly skilled authors my sincere thanks.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
As an erstwhile professional baker, I learned plenty ...and I could tell from the good bread advice that the oven-building advice is authoritative and just what I've been looking for. This book is essential reading for anyone who seriously wants to bake good bread. Thank you, Chelsea Green, Daniel Wing, and Alan Scott. WELL DONE!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 May 1999
Format: Paperback
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 16:33:05 -0700
From: Darrell Greenwood<darrell_greenwood@mindlink.net>
Subject: The Bread Builders - Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens
I had a very interesting book pop through the mail slot yesterday, 'The Bread Builders - Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens' by Dan Wing and Alan Scott.
When Dan wrote me for my address so he could send me a review copy he noted in his enthusiasm for his newly minted book "It's a really good book." After receiving it yesterday I noted in my enthusiasm for his newly minted book, "It's a really good book" and it is :-).
You get for your $35 the best book I have read on "natural leavens" or sourdough. It has no recipes but sets out to teach you the basics underlying baking bread with no commercial yeast... and succeeds very well. The book is 254 pages, paperback, indexed, and well illustrated with color and b&w photographs, graphs, line drawings and a glossary.
Starting out with interesting introductions by Alan Scott and Dan Wing, the book's chapters wind their way through Naturally Fermented Hearth Bread, Bread Grains and Flours, Leavens and Doughs, Dough Development and Baking, Ovens and Bread.
Interspersed in the chapters are 'visits' where a separate article describes a visit to an interesting bakery or baking related location ranging from Vermont to California. The book's clear and easily readable style is assisted with sidebars and notes clarifying various points. I do like the notes in the margins as this book does rather than at the bottom of the page.
But wait, that is only half the book. You get thrown in for free another book, on how to design, build and operate a masonry oven.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mishjas on 11 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
Was so impressed with the book my dad bought one too. This book will help start our own bakery with training given here locally for the old traditional way of baking.
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