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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 ›
A broad range of detailed recipes for making the range of different types of bread are logically grouped and discussed in a very conversational manner detailing not just one way of doing something but various ways of dealing with situations that occur when baking bread. Included are everything from a recreation of Roman spelt and raisin bread to dark Russian bread to French brioche.
Much of the criticism of this book would probably be silenced if the opinion part were at the end of the book instead of at the beginning! It is easy to disagree with certain statements or to question the scientific validity of some of the author's minor points but it would be a shame to let those sorts of details cloud the gift of bread baking knowledge the author has presented here to the reader and which form the bulk of the book.
Most everyone will accept his basic premise, that traditional, organic bread, which is free of unnecessary additives and which takes full advantage of the properties of microorganisms that work on the dough, is much better than industrial bread in almost every way.
Many good university professors veer off into personal opinions and theories and that is what makes their classes interesting. You can enjoy listening and learn quite a bit even if you don't always agree your teacher. The same is true here. Accept the author's personality and you can really learn a lot from this book. I have baked bread before without truly understanding what was really happening and now feel very enlightened for having read Bread Matters.
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 months 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 17 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 22 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 24 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