24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers (Hardcover)
After baking my own bread for 5 or more years I was looking for new inspiration and Daniel Leader has provided that.
3 stars implies caveats and there are several. First this is a US book with a strange design. It is a large format hard-back. Every page has decorative red lines across the top and bottom, and that the ingredients table for a loaf can sometime take up a whole page of red lines and text. Bread is simple - just 3 basic ingredients flour, water, yeast so more than 360 pages for around 100 variations on the recipe is a bit heavy. There's some good information here, but it would be a lot more accessible in 100 pages or less.
There are some great photographs.
There is a lot of repeated copy-and-pasted text which leads to some annoying typos - how can more than 400 grams of ingredients make a piece of dough 'the size of a plum'. Bread making is a craft not a science, and to ask us to weigh out ingredients in amounts like 368 grams is a bit of a nonsense.
On the other hand, it is always great to read someone with real enthusiasm for their subject and this author's description of his visits to bakers in Europe is charming for this.
He recommends a set of equipment which is not so easy to find in the UK, even on-line. I recently found through Ebay "Bakery Bits" from Honiton Devon who seem to import everything mentioned in the book.
He has lead me to try some new techniques - for example adding flour to liquid, measuring the rising of dough using a parallel sided container, and so on. Time will tell if I continue this way. And our course the treatment of Levain - the creation of "natural" sour raising agents which is the whole purpose of this book.