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on 3 March 2005
I pre-ordered Handmade Loaf and was not dissapointed. It is well presented, beautifully illustrated. The recipes do work and are easy to follow because of the detail in which they are set out.
A treat for all bakers out there.

A postscript: It is a number of years since I first ventured into sourdough bread. I have used my copy so much it is very worn!! The recipes are exceptional and once you have made your own sourdough you will be hooked.After having made your starter it is easy to keep if you bake on a regular basis. The recipes do work just try the basic loaves first.
Give this book a try you will not be dissapointed it is a joy.
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Although I have seen articles written by Dan Lepard, this is the first book authored by him that I added to my collection. I have some that almost tell you how to open a bag of flour and others that assume that you are baking commercially. This does neither but treats the subject seriously, but sufficiently simply but also comprehensively and with evidence of a widely varied personal experience.

As Lepard is British-based, the book is one that can be used universally and does not depend on equipment you are unlikely to possess or is not accessible. It also explains a system widely used commercially, bakers' percentages, in a brief but clear manner - more so than any other book I have seen in which it is mentioned.

The range of recipes included is wide but it is not just a recipe book. It is part history, part geography, part baking and a great deal more, and includes recipes too. Not too many as to make a selection impossible nor too few so as to feel that the recipes are included simply to allow it to be included in the Cookery section of a bookshop.

His writing style is attractive and quite readable and there are plenty of photographs, not only of the finished loaf but of dough preparation, some of the bakers mentioned within the text, and others.

Not over-expensive, if you are interested in or just thinking about making bread at home, it is a serious contender.

Definitely recommended.
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on 7 December 2004
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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on 20 July 2006
This book is beautifully photographed and wonderfully written. I bought it for the instructions for natural leaven and although I haven't made any yet I fully intend to. I think if we want to explore how bread is in intrinsic part of our lives and the ways in which our lives intertwine with it then this is a great book.

If you want to follow the recipes slavishly, then you need to invest a bit more time in your bread-baking. I used this book as inspiration for some of my other, quicker recipes, and it has helped me bread-baking skills immensely.
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on 28 July 2009
Having made my own bread for about the last 20 years, using "easy" dried yeast and the traditional 10-minute kneading, I was a bit wary about the idea of 3 separate 10-SECOND kneadings. So much so that I had the book for about 2 years before I recently took the plunge, found a source of fresh yeast, and gave it a go. Unbelieveably, it works! The flavours are stunning (try the wheatgerm loaf), and the general information and background stories from bakers all over Europe are fascinating. Perhaps most of all, there is a passion and enthusiasm for his craft which leaps off the page, a bit in the style of Nigel Slater, which makes you want to go straight to the kitchen and give it a go. A 100% "must have" if you want a proper loaf rather than steam-cooked cotton wool from the supermarket.
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on 8 July 2009
If you are home bread maker and want to give your time and heart to your dough this book is worth buying. The most important: the measurments are correct, expressed in grams and the baker's percentage. I dont have to mention that the bread taste is great. Inside the book you can learn how to bake wheat, rye, barley sourdough breads.

Usually you have to light knead your dough several times to get perfect bread structure, this book is not for the lazy or impatient. Inside the book you will meet people from United Kingdom, Sweden, Russia, Danmark, Ukraine, Skotland, Germany and see how they bake bread.

This book is really good book to start and I give 5 stars: for the recipes and for the human story included.
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on 25 April 2013
This is an informative book and has some nice looking bread recipes. I enjoyed reading about breadmaking traditions in other countries. Unfortunately most of the recipes seem to require you to make your own leaven in a jar which I haven't found at all practical, and I thought throwing some away to replace with new flour each day was wasteful and would work out expensive. The book doesn't tell you how to make the recipes with yeast instead, so for me there are a lot of unuseable recipes. I am sure if you had the time you could make superb bread and I am happy enough with this book for the recipe for Stotties. One for the real enthusiast though.
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on 9 December 2004
Dan Lepard's previous book (written with Richard Whittington), was "Baking with Passion", and passion is again the appropiate word for this new book which is imbued with his infectious love of breads and breadmaking and his empathy with breadbakers wherever they may be, from farm to hotel kitchen. I enjoyed reading his previous book, but was rather daunted by the complexity of the equipment and methods. I find the new book more user friendly, particularly for someone like me who is a home baker with a modest, cramped kitchen. I am now into the second day of preparing a levain which I hope will start fermenting like crazy before being used in some experiments on his array of tempting recipes. I am also enjoying reading the country sections dispersed throughout the book, and Dan's account of his encounters with kindred spirits from Russia to Denmark and England. I'm intrigued by his method of kneading at regular intervals for only 10 or 15 seconds at a time, on an oiled rather than floured surface, and will be interested to see how this works out in practice. If pressed for time, I wonder if having a mega-knead of 10 minutes rather than several mini-kneading sessions over several hours, would still work with these recipes.
All in all, inspiring!
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on 16 December 2010
This book has taught me how to make bread and really understand the process. I love the only kneading for 10 secs and then waiting approach. Why would anyone pummel dough to bits when you have tried Dan's method? After using this book for some weeks I am able to customise the recipes and experiment. We never buy bread now. I have a full-time job 40 miles away and yet I still find time to do this - it is delicious and rewarding. I would not have a bread machine in the house. Making bread by hand has given me a real feel for the process.
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on 1 July 2009
this book is one of the best for aspiring bread makers. yes, some of the recipes are complicated, using leavens, others take a lot of time, but the results.........

buy any of dans books, add in the richard bertinet books, and the river cottage bread book and you have all you need to make succesful bread...
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