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Brother Juniper's Bread Book Paperback – November 8, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is not that geared to the beginning baker unless that beginner is ready to work by 'feel'. The assumption is made that you know what a dough looks like when it comes together and what the right temperature water and room should be. The book also does not even deal with making breads with heavy duty mixers or bread machines -- this is back to the old fashioned way of doing things where you. have a greater connection to your product.
Now, I happen to enjoy this book but I would begin with a better beginner's book like, Baking with Julia before tackling the breads in this book because you will have a better technical understanding. But once you do the breads of this book you will be amazed and deeply grateful for the generousity of Reinhart for sharing his recipes.
If you plan to use a mixer make sure it is a very heavy duty mixer otherwise, your machine will break with heavy, tough doughs like Struan. I tried the dough with both a KitchenAid and a Magic Mill DLX and both had trouble with Struan. In the end it is best to hand knead the final 10-15 minutes, but you will get quite the workout.
Further, I suggest that you read the recipes ahead because the layout is not easy for those into glancing at recipes as they work. And no, there are no pictures to help the baker.
But get this book none the less, because it is a book done with love and is a good addition to the collection.
First, the meditation (the blessing): Peter Reinhart is interested in how baking bread can help you (as it helped him) find the miracles in everyday life. He asks that you slow down. Instead of trying to force the bread to adjust to your schedule, you adjust to the bread. Kind of the Chevy Chase "Caddyshack" mantra "be the ball"--though here it's a ball of dough. I find much to like in this part of the book (even if I am not quite completely sold--I'll proof my bread in my proofing oven, add yeast even to sourdough, etc.).
And then the recipes. These are really good bread recipes. They focus on taste and artisanal look/feel of the loaves. As another reviewer noted, these aren't necessarily the most "healthy" recipes, but then, who said you couldn't put on a few pounds even as (as Joni Mitchell puts it) you got yourself back to the garden? My beef (the curse) is that there just aren't very many recipes, and it would make for a thin volume, if not for the meditation on finding the spiritual aspect in the mundane tasks of life.
Bernard Clayton's bread book is my go-to book for recipes. But this book is worth reading, as a reminder to some of what is so satisfying about baking bread. And it is worth owning if you want that reminder at your fingertips.
I picked up the hardcover version of this book a little over two years or so ago, and really enjoyed it -- but not for the recipes (tho' there are some intriguing ones here). Mostly too complex for my liking.
Rather, I was captured by the author's infectious love of and approach to baking. Mr. Reinhart wrote this volume with a solemn candor tempered by wit and humor. I found (and find) it wonderfully refreshing.
So ... delighted with the purchase but, paradoxically, more from a philosophical than a culinary perspective.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love the cookbook, except for one thing. The recipe for the Straun Bread said to use a High-Gluten Flour (no amount specified). Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
A fantastic book with great recipes that make even a rank amateur look like a great baker. Try the Struan Bread. Easy to make. Delicious. Then, try them all.Published 14 months ago by Kevin Murphy
I have several of his books and this one I just ordered, and I am intrigued by the long slow rise method he uses. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Ti-JLB
Peter Reinhart is, no questions asked, the best bread baker in the country. His recipes are advanced, but highly worth it. Highly recommendPublished 17 months ago by r warn
GOOD IDEAS ON BREAD BAKING. BUT GOOD IDEAS ON LIFE TOO. PETER REINHART TRULY IS A MASTER AT BAKING, A GREAT STORY TELLER, AND MAYBE EVEN A MASTER AT LIVING LIFE.Published 21 months ago by Blueskylad
Although we've been baking our own farm bread for 40 years, this book has opened my eyes to techniques and philosophy that will make for huge improvement. Read morePublished on February 20, 2014 by Richard Huset
Just a basic, but fully informative book on how to make bread and the recipes though I haven't tried them all are greatPublished on February 12, 2014 by footsie57