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The Handmade Loaf: Contemporary Recipes for the Home Baker Paperback – 15 Feb 2008

113 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley (15 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845333896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845333898
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Dan Lepard is an award-winning baker, food writer and photographer. His first book was Baking With Passion (1999), followed by The Handmade Loaf (2004, author and photographer), and Short & Sweet (2011, author and photographer); and as a contributor, The Cook's Book (2005) and the Dictionnaire Universel du Pain (2010). His photography credits include Made in Italy (2006), Hawksmoor at Home (2011), Comptoir Libanais (2013), and Comptoir Express (2014). Dan also writes for the BBC, Sainsbury's Magazine, Waitrose Kitchen Magazine, Delicious and for 8 years had weekly column in the Guardian. He now writes a monthly column for The Sydney Morning Herald, and Melbourne's Age newspapers.

Product Description


"As fresh and as mouth-watering as a loaf straight from the oven...

the author's own step-by-step photographs are genuinely


Jenni Muir, The Independent Review

"(Lepard's) supreme skill is his empathy with people who bake,

from grandmothers using ancient ovens to cutting-edge chefs."

Sheila Keating,The Times Magazine

"It oozes knowledge, curiosity and love for its subject... I doubt a better

book will be written on the subject for a few years to come."

Tom Jaine, The Guardian

Book Description

Dan Lepard is the most watched and talked about baker in Britain More than 90 recipes Includes authentic stories about some of the most innovative domestic bakers in Europe, with photographs taken at their homes in their native countries Perfect for both experienced bakers and home cooks who want to know more Will be the authoritative and inspirational book on baking that any baker will want on their shelf

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Augustus Thistlethwaite on 20 Sept. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is really one for serious amateur bakers (in the literal sense of one who loves baking). The essence of the book is sourdough baking - making bread with a wild yeast leaven instead of commercial yeast. Baking this way takes time and a little dedication (though not nearly so difficult as some food-writers would have you believe), but it repays the effort.

As well as the recipes, the book contains accounts of bakers and baking traditions across Europe, as well as photos of actual bread (it looks like it was made by a human being)and real bakers instead of the usual cosmetically perfect food photography. For Dan Lepard making and eating bread is evidently a very personal and human thing. What I'm trying to say is the book has personality.

Above all, the recipes and procedures work, and Dan Lepard makes it simple, like all the best teachers. It transformed my baking.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Anonyfinn TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Dec. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've had this book a year, and it is undoubtedly a five-star book. The author writes so insightfully about the whys and wherefores, and when you follow the non-too-difficult recipes within you realize just how much talent, consideration and experience this excellently presented book offers. You'll find instructions for kneading and shaping, how to make and store your own leaven plus recipes from around Europe adapted for the home baker working by hand. The author has gone to the trouble of actually going to these places to talk with other bakers, and the corresponding photos of location, people and their wares give what I would describe as a sense of community. The recipes use all manner of flours and grains, and raising agents from fresh yeast to leaven and soda. Someone below had complained of a limited variety of recipes, but I don't find that justified since there are plenty of recipes and there's no need for 23 variations on the same theme - in particular I find this book imparts a real feel for what's going on so that you can use your own initiative to experiment, though you'll find it hard to improve on the recipes provided here by Dan Lepard. Another complaint below is about the time it all takes, and there is some justification here if you're looking for a 40-minute loaf. Performing multiple tasks in a restaurant, the author found that dough sorts itself out nicely and the flour is best and properly saturated if left alone rather than pummelled to death. So it's often about 10-second kneads once in a while with lower proving temperatures of, say, 21 C. The `worst' it gets with a white leaven bread is around 3 kneads at 10 minute intervals, then a half hour, then an hour, in the tin and another hour, wait a few hours more (even 5).Read more ›
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Carl Shavitz on 21 Dec. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Put all our other bread books aside. If you want to make and eat fantastic bread The Handmade Loaf from Dan Lepard is an eye opener. Sanity, at last, in the bakery. Almost immediately Lepard asks you to abandon all other and stick to metric weights and measures. No cups, no ounces, no nonsense. Lepard has really thought about the bread making process and it works. He takes you through each recipe step by step. And, if that's not enough, there are brilliant photographs from the baker himself to show you how the dough and finished product should look. All you need is time and the desire to make what most of us have rarely eaten at home, really delicious bread.
If you've got an aspiring breadmaker on your gift list, buy this book, an inexpensive set of digital scales and a few bags of flour and sit back and await the results.
Don't believe me, find out for yourselves.
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98 of 101 people found the following review helpful By N. Wood on 27 Dec. 2004
Format: Hardcover
First off, the presentation is excellent. The book's author is a keen (ex-professional) photographer and his work definately does justice to his baking.
Little chapters from artisan bakers from around the world can be found inbetween the recipes, making this a good read, as well as an informtive resource.
The book has some fine, wholesome recipes with a strong leaning toward hearty rustic breads. Each recipe is presented in detail with the author often offering explanation far beyond the basics.
I would hesitate in purchacing this book if looking for a quick bread machine fix however. The recipies are very versatile and every attempt is made to show the reader how each can be adapted but if you're looking for a simple list of ingredients and a recipe that reads "put everything into your bread machine and wait" then there are more straightforward (though not more appetizing) bread-books available.
I would suggest that to any keen home baker wanting to push their skills up a notch or anyone who wants to know the difference between Canadian and British wheat this is an invaluable resource. It's also a great coffee table book and a fantastic culinary roadtrip.
In short, buy it... Just wait for a couple of seconds before committing to a purachace if you're looking for convenience.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. P. Wallington on 9 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Beautifully presented and clearly explained. Every recipe I have attempted has turned out lovely: the resulting loaves have a better flavour and texture than any I have made from other books. A must buy for the serious home baker.

One word of warning though: this is not a book for those in a hurry. Many of the recipes require the use of a leaven (a fermented flour and water mixture) which can take a week to get started (and which needs periodic maintenance) and requires the resulting dough to be rested and proved for longer than in direct (yeast based) baking. A typical recipe starting at 8am will need attention at regular intervals until 12pm and then a 4 or 5 hour proving so by the time the loaf is baked it has taken 9 or 10 hours. This will not fit with everyone's lifestyle, but if you can manage it the results are superlative.
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