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The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens Paperback – July 1, 1999
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100 Books for a Lifetime of Eating & Drinking
If you want to make an authentic tagine, bake mouth-watering cakes, or vicariously experience the life of a chef, you’ll find the book for it on this list.
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As Laurel Robertson, author of The New Laurel's Kitchen says, "This book is ice cream for a baker! We visit legendary bakeries, meet wonderful people, learn all sorts of fascinating scientific information with practical usefulness in bowl and oven, and best of all, get the skinny on masonry ovens, the cherished fantasy of us all." The enthusiasm of the authors in their search for the perfect loaf of bread permeates this detailed but lively and accessible book, and will offer much of use to both amateur and professional bread makers. --Mark A. Hetts
Review from Ecology Action Newsletter-
The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens, by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott, is a serious book, written for people who take their bread baking seriously. It is not a cookbook but one whose object is to help the baker understand all parts of the process that go into creating an excellent loaf. As such, it is a technical journal that thoroughly details natural fermentation, bread grains and flours, leavens and dough, and dough development. The second part is about masonry ovens and their construction, since both authors agree that such an oven is a necessary part of creating the excellent loaf. Each chapter of the book includes a visit to a commercial or private venture which is using some or all of the processes being described. The book is not a light read but should prove inspiring to those wanting more information about the baking process, how to construct a masonry oven or anyone who is glad to see that these traditional methods are being nurtured rather than forgotten.
"This book is ice cream for a baker! We visit legendary bakeries, meet wonderful people, learn all sorts of fascinating scientific information with practical usefulness in bowl and oven--and best of all, get the skinny on masonry ovens, that cherished fantasy of us all."--Laurel Robertson, author of Laurel's Kitchen
Top Customer Reviews
If you want to understand the principles of what you're doing, this is it. And if you want to build a commercial quality oven for baking your own bread, here are plans and detailed instructions. I have had the pleasure of meeting, and learning a little about ovens from Alan Scott. I am very happy that now, in addition to having a master baker on my bookshelf, I also have a master oven builder as well. Thank you both very much.
From: Darrell Greenwood<email@example.com>
Subject: The Bread Builders -Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens
I had a very interesting book pop through the mail slot yesterday, 'The Bread Builders - Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens' by Dan Wing and Alan Scott.
When Dan wrote me for my address so he could send me a review copy he noted in his enthusiasm for his newly minted book "It's a really good book." After receiving it yesterday I noted in my enthusiasm for his newly minted book, "It's a really good book" and it is :-).
You get for your $35 the best book I have read on "natural leavens" or sourdough. It has no recipes but sets out to teach you the basics underlying baking bread with no commercial yeast... and succeeds very well. The book is 254 pages, paperback, indexed, and well illustrated with color and b&w photographs, graphs, line drawings and a glossary.
Starting out with interesting introductions by Alan Scott and Dan Wing, the book's chapters wind their way through Naturally Fermented Hearth Bread, Bread Grains and Flours, Leavens and Doughs, Dough Development and Baking, Ovens and Bread.
Interspersed in the chapters are 'visits' where a separate article describes a visit to an interesting bakery or baking related location ranging from Vermont to California. The book's clear and easily readable style is assisted with sidebars and notes clarifying various points. I do like the notes in the margins as this book does rather than at the bottom of the page.
But wait, that is only half the book. You get thrown in for free another book, on how to design, build and operate a masonry oven. Its chapters range through Masonry Ovens of Europe and America, Preparing to Build a Masonry Oven, Masonry Materials, Tools and Methods, Oven Construction, Oven Management and A Day in the Life at the Bay Village Bakery. If you are not up to rushing out to build a masonry oven right away, 3 methods are given to approach the results in a masonry oven, cloche, baking stone, and you'll have to read the book to see what I am going to be doing with a metal pot, cookie sheet and pie plate.
All in all I believe this book is a good read for aficionados of sourdough, and they would find it a good reference work for inclusion in their library. As a book for someone switching from baking yeast bread to "natural leaven" bread they would probably regard ownership of this book as priceless gift. For someone starting out in bread baking it would allow them to get a really good understanding without all the "old wive's tales" that unfortunately dog some sourdough advice. I know it will find a treasured place in my library and be well thumbed through as it assists me in achieving the perfect loaf.