I am glad to have this collection of sourdough baking recipes, as genuine sourdough is almost extinct these days, even in France; books on sourdough baking are practically non-existent. On the other hand, this bread baking book is no better than other generic cookbooks with bread recipes. The recipes and procedures are lacking in necessary detail. This is a valuable collection of bread recipes, but only for those willing to devote the time and effort to properly adapt them to the home kitchen.
The author correctly points out that until the last century, all breads were sourdough based, meaning that you had regularly feed, care for, and keep alive the yeast like a beloved family pet. Upon the invention of commercial yeast, almost all bread bakers switched. The commercial stuff is easier to deal with and more profitable, but it also means that the breads have much less flavor. In this book, the author has assembled a standard collection of bread recipes using a sourdough starter instead of the usual commercial yeast. He has recipes for standard loaf breads, ryes, egg breads, whole wheat, French, rolls, buns, pancakes, waffles, batter breads, and the like. Of particular interest are the kamut and spelt bread recipes (both are ancient predecessors to our modern wheat), and the bread machine recipes.
On the down side, the author does not seem to have devoted much time to developing proper recipe instructions. He has one master recipe (for loaves, for example), and all the other ones are just ingredient variations of the master. This a problem, as the breads go all over the place; some are heavy, dense ones, some are similar to French breads, and others have vastly different hydration levels (moisture content). This common procedure does not work for all the varieties of different breads. All the doughs that require kneading simply say "until dough is satiny", but this description is never explained. Most of the loaves have both milk and butter as ingredients, including those breads where this is inappropriate. The various ethnic breads also have traditional makeup methods for the dough in their country of origin, but the author simply ignores them and uses his master recipe procedure, whether it is correct or not. To proof the doughs, a temperature of 85 degrees is specified; to get this, the author has rigged up a Styrofoam ice chest with a 15 watt bulb jammed into it.
The wild yeast starter that I have makes sourdough that is similar to the classic San Francisco one (I live near, but not in, SF). I had trouble getting my culture to work properly with the recipes in this book. Most of his recipes have a 1 to 2 hour proof, but my culture at standard room temperature-around 70 or so-takes 4 to 6 hours to proof properly, sometimes more on a cold day. The rye breads I tried produced a loaf that was unacceptably heavy and dense, unless you are going to use it as construction material. This is not to say that the recipes are worthless. The experienced home baker should be able to work out the problems with a little experimentation and some test bakes; this is certainly worth the trouble, as many recipes are important ones that you will want to do on a regular basis. The many non-loaf recipes are especially useful, as they give you something to do with the extra yeast (which I often just throw out) when you refresh the starter and do not feel like making yet another loaf of bread.
The author commits the ultimate sin in baking books: not telling us how he measures the flour, nor what weight of flour to use. This information is the sine qua non of proper baking. I should also note that much of this book is an advertisement to get to buy the live sourdough cultures that the author sells. Many of his recipes require the use of a "fast" culture, which most sourdough cultures are not (mine certainly is not). By coincidence, he sells such a culture, which he calls "Russian". Many of the recipes seem to have been developed for this specific culture. For these breads, I suggest that you simply use a commercial yeast; I know this defeats the whole purpose of this book, but his description of the Russian culture seems to be similar to the regular yeasts you can get at the supermarket.
I found almost no editorial errors. The make-up instructions for a couple of breads were inscrutable (like Butterflake Rolls). The reference on page 119 should say "page 28". The pizza recipe, when made as specified, produced a thin, cracker-like crust; I believe there is an error somewhere in the recipe; I fixed it by reducing the oven temperature, and making the crust much smaller and therefore thicker. A more detailed Table of Contents would make it easier to find recipes.