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Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own Hardcover – September 15, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The first quarter of the book may turn some readers off since it is quite 'dry', but it is probably the most important part of the book!The author details the modern process of commercial breadmaking with all it's faults and dangers. Then he moves one to reiterate that making bread is not the mystery so many of us think it to be. The layout, while dull to look at, is chock full of excellent information on tools, methods, bread making steps and descriptions of ingredients. The explanations are clear and in a simple language that makes the book accessible to most readers.
The 50 bread making recipes in this book are scattered in chapters titled :
First bread and rolls
Bread-a meal in itself
Of crust and crumb
Sweet breads and celebrations
Easy as pie
(and Miraculously!) Gluten Free baking!!
(on a personal note the last chapter will be a lifesaver for me since, two weeks after getting this book, I discoverd that my son is allergic to Gluten!)
I have tried out a few of the recipes in the 'first breads' chapter (Basic bread, Milk Bread) and one from the Sweet breads chapter. All turned out great although, having baked bread before, I was skeptical of the consistency of some of the doughs. What was great about the book is that the author forsees the questions that will pop up in the novice or experienced baker's mind (shouldn't I add some flour now? This is way too sticky!) and addresses them promptly in the recipe.Read more ›
Bread was good for us before we let go of it to the corporate bakers. If you are interested in corporate malpractice, this book is for you. If you want to understand, for good and for bad, bread as a nutritionist would, this book is for you. The information here is important if you imagine carbohydrates to be bad. If you worry about glycemic response there is food here for thought and for life. If you just want to make a good loaf of bread, you can use this book to learn how, but it is only half the reason to buy it at most.
Ultrafast dough, used by corporate bakers is as pernicious as every other "ultra" facet of our ultra marketed ultra miserable society. Ultra fast dough is the product of ultra fast chemicals that puts you into that ultra dirt nap.
Bread is not to be hurried. Mix ingredients and let them rest rather than jumping straight into kneading. Give your little enzymes a head start and they will help you back by developing structure while you knead later.
Go slowly to load enough water. Enjoy icky sticky by lofting your dough and kneading in the air. The dough will leggo your fingers soon enough.
Same with rising. Slow. I even take extra days to make a new starter when I move to let the local yeasties find it and add their tang. Beers used to be so local because their own yeasts had a natural radius of around 25 miles.Read more ›
The first two chapters ("What's the Matter With Modern Bread" and "Does It Really Matter What Bread We Eat"), nearly 50 pages, are the author's diatribe against modern bakery bread. Besides taking up a lot of space in the book, it seems a lot like preaching to the choir. People reading this book are already interested in baking bread at home so it seems unnecessary to annoy them with stuff unrelated to learning how to make good, healthy bread.
If this were the only place the author included this kind of material, I'd simply advise skipping those two chapters unless you are really interested in reading about the rise of commercial baking and how that affected the nutritional content of bread. But the author keeps going through later chapters. I was really sick of reading long before I got to the chapters that were meant to teach bread baking techniques.
Chapters 3 & 4 are about tools and ingredients and, at 40 pages, are much wordier than necessary.
Nearly 100 pages into the book, the information on baking bread finally starts (Chapter 5 "Starting From Scratch"). It too lacks the conciseness that would make it really helpful. And when I got to the timetables for making bread, I was really disappointed. There were 3 different time tables for making bread. Two of them involved baking the bread mid- or late morning, which only works on the weekends for working people. The third one, which did allow for baking the bread in the evening, resulted in bread coming out of the oven after 10 p.m.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book for beginners who want to learn the why to bread making - foundational techniques and some science. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is probably the current go-to book for anyone who wants to learn the basics of artisan bread and especially of naturally-leavened breads. It is also highly readable. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Curmudgeon in the Kitchen
Not quite what I expected as I like to use my mill to make my own flour and this book does not really cover that aspect.Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book. The instructions are easy to follow and the described methods work beautifully. It's the only bread baking book I will ever need. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Miriam Hafner
Great book but sometimes repetitive = why I have given it 4 instead of 5 stars.
I go back often and read it as a reference for the formulas and the techniques.
Roughly half the book covers the "why" of baking your own bread; it's a long diatribe about the evils of commercial bread baking compared with the wonders of artisanal bread. Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I own many of the best available bread books in print today and I do not consider this one of the strongest in the field. Read morePublished on April 1, 2013 by Carlton L. Adam