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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
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!
Simply incredible book which covers details that Tartine glosses over. I have not a lot of interest in the oven section but loved reading that tooPublished 12 months ago by Alex