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Classic Sourdoughs: A Home Baker's Handbook Paperback – November 30, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (November 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580083447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580083447
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #895,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Brings the tradition of sourdough cooking into focus. It is easy, interesting reading and doesn'¬?t make sourdough baking seem complicated.”—Sharon Maasdam, The Oregonian“A Match Made With Leaven: A True Story of Loafing, Lust, and Loss” —headline of review with recipe tested by The Palm Beach Post

About the Author

ED WOOD is a pathologist, biologist, wild yeast expert, and master baker. In 1993, he was invited to participate in a National Geographic project to reproduce the first leavened breads at an excavated baking site in Egypt. Through his company, Sourdoughs International, he sells dried authentic sourdough cultures he has collected from around the world. He lives and bakes in Cascade, Idaho.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Each recipe is laid out on its own page, with clear EASY TO FOLLOW instructions.
Tessa F. Briggs
I am fully satisfied with the book and would definitely recommend to anyone interested in sourdough bread making.
David Kalen
This book provides thorough coverage of sourdough recipes, techniques to using and maintaining cultures.
Bargain Hunter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Mary Sanders on March 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book really is for the home baker who doesn't have the special ovens and tools of the artisans like Daniel Leader's Bread Alone or Nancy Singleton"s La Brea Bakery. Ed Wood's book gives instructions that can be used with any sourdough starter although I have produced far better sourdoughs with his starters than any I captured myself. There isn't a baker's yeast recipe in the entire book. If you're a novice baker or an old hand, you can learn a lot about sourdoughs from this book.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Helen Goode on March 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the only book I have found that really tells how to make sourdough bread the right way without having to use yeast. The book gives explicit instructions from the moment the starter comes from the refrigerator until the finished loaf leaves the pan. The step by step methods tell how to produce an active starter every time so the bread always rises well.
Each recipe gives different options for length of proofing cycles using different proofing temperatures. I was never able to control the temperature during proofing until I read the description for making an inexpensive proofing box described in the book. It made all the difference between success and failure.
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I began following this author quite a while ago including reading ealier books because there wasn't that much information about baking sourdough bread. He has simplified the directions a little but I was never successful with his directions until I took a course at King Arthur and discovered that baking sourdoughs isn't all that complicated. Now I make naturally leavened bread almost every week. I finally trashed the silly "proof box" that Mr. Wood recommends. I occasionally dip into this book to try the recipes and I'm pretty sure some of them have significant errors (the SF sourdough turns out more like a ciabatta because either the flour or water measurments are wrong). If you want a really good book on bread baking check out "Bread A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" by Jeffrey Hamelman. It has lots of good sourdough recipes based on solid baking formulas.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Josh Kelly on March 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
The thing I liked best about Dr. Wood's new book was the section on doing sourdoughs in bread machines. For the last 10 years I've been totally frustrated trying to get a decent sourdough out of a machine. Now, I'm turning out a perfect sourdough with the sourness I really like and the loaf comes out with that open texture with all the big holes of a real San Francisco sourdough.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Whitney E. Hess on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have used the recipes in this book and they work pretty well with the Sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour - I then purchased some starters from Ed Wood and followed the instructions in the book. When they did not revive (they came dried) his basic reply was "tough" even though they claim you will get a refund. Since the book is an infomercial for his starters I would think they would be a little more friendly!!
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77 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Pastedechouan on January 1, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for scientific and detailed instructions on sourdough, as I was expecting it from a scientist author and TenSpeed Press book description, Wood's book is not the best money the amateur baker can spend. Very few details (as few as 23 lines on p.8-9) are given on how to make your own sourdough culture and there is no clear instructions on how to use homemade chef--instead of chef made from exotic dry cultures marketed by the author--in the 102 recipies which form the main section of the book (p. 54-183). The book is no doubt excellent but if, as I do, you like to make things by yourself from A to Z, Daniel Leader's "Bread Alone"--in which seven pages cover minutely each sourdough making steps--is much more rewarding despites its very important editing mistakes (I have been told Mr. Leader is working on a second improved handbook). Following Leader's instructions, I successfuly made my first incredibly tasteful sourdough loaves few years ago. But the most complete (almost encyclopedic) information and instructions I found not only on sourdough making but also on poolish, sponge, etc, are in Raymond Calvel's "Le gout du pain" (recently translated into English as "The Taste of Bread" [...]) though the latter book is not for home baking. Look also for "Boulangerie Simon Rodolphe" on the net where a wealth of practical informations on sourdough making can be found.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By John Annunziata on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
My whole incentive for purchasing this book was that I was under the perception that it would go into great detail on how to create, or activate, and maintain sourdough cultures. The author spends a whole one and a half pages on this topic only!!!!Do not purchase for the recipes--- nothing special at all.
The process is explained in much better detail in other books on Artisan Baking (like Peter Reinhardt's' "Crust and Crumb".

In addition, I purchased dried cultures from his company ($ 35.00), and when I had vital questions during activation, it took him six days to respond. When I then sent a series of (distressed) inqueries, he tells me "buy my book, the answers are there!!! ".I had already bought the book --- and it is over-rated. This "king of cultures" is vague on detail, and impatient with support.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tessa F. Briggs on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've only had this book a few days, and have only tried a few recipes, but already love it. Unlike other cookbooks that fill up the vast majority of pages with personal anecdotes and rambling stories about something that happened 400 years ago in a kitchen, this author keeps the information concise, helpful, and clear. He gives you what you NEED to know about keeping your starter happy, kneading and baking bread, and the rundown on fancy gizmos you may have been told that you need. Each recipe is laid out on its own page, with clear EASY TO FOLLOW instructions. Unlike other cookbooks, this author does not skip steps or forget to tell the reader when to add a certain ingredient. He doesn't use funky fonts that make it hard to read and he actually gives a brief description of what each recipe tastes like - and he keeps that description to two sentences, tops. He sells all the different varieties of sourdough starter that are described in the book and spends about 5 pages giving a brief rundown of all of them at the end. Over all, this is a FANTASTIC cookbook and I am extremely pleased with the purchase.

The only downside I can possibly think of is that all of these recipes need to set for at least 3 hours, almost all of them for 12, and a fair portion for 23 in total before they can be baked. The only exception is for biscuits, which can be made faster. If you're looking for a cookbook that will show you how to whip up something sourdough in just a few minutes, you won't be happy with this one.

In fact, I am so pleased with this cookbook that I would buy another by this author even if the subject matter was the preparation of foods I never eat.
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