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Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor Hardcover – September 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Bread is back, Reinhart (The Bread Baker's Apprentice) asserts, and it's better than ever after being villainized during the anticarbohydrate diet fads; his manifesto of renewal, this enthusiastic tome featuring the kinds of whole grain breads he sees as the way forward, will be eagerly received by serious bakers. In three useful preliminary chapters, Reinhart describes how he developed the delayed fermentation process that makes these breads delicious as well as wholesome, dissects wheat's route from stalk to loaf and patiently walks through the new technique's theory and process, in order to arm bakers with every bit of information before they start kneading. The level of technical detail and demand for scientific precision may overwhelm amateurs, but anyone with some experience working with bread dough and starters, as well as a desire to get to the next level, will be gratified by Reinhart's intense but friendly approach. In the more than 50 recipes, from a variety of breads including multigrain loaves, whole wheat cinnamon buns, brioche and crispy lavash, Reinhart builds on the first chapters with detailed commentary on ingredients and preparation, encouraging bakers to own the process but never leaving them in the lurch. Whether or not a home baker is looking for healthier recipes, Reinhart's peerless way of writing about bread is sure to inspire a new respect for whole grains. Color photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“We’ve always known how good whole grain breads are for us, but we’ve also known how they’re usually heavy, dense, and sort of boring. Now here comes Peter Reinhart, a passionate bread scientist who has figured out fifty-five different ways to make whole grain breads light and delicious. His work is nothing short of revolutionary.”
–Sara Moulton, Food Network host and author of Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals
“No one is better qualified–either as a teacher or as a baker–than Peter Reinhart to tackle the complex subject of whole grain breads. His techniques and recipes are easy to follow and yield excellent results every time. Peter and his breads are the real thing.”
–Nick Malgieri, author of How to Bake and A Baker’s Tour
“Whole Grain Breads is a beautiful and important work, which is no big surprise coming, as it does, from Peter Reinhart. Everything here is a gift: the breads themselves (both described and pictured), the poetic voice, the story, the technique, and the generous spirit. Read this from cover to cover, and you will find yourself looking at all food differently, from a new height and a deeper appreciation.”
–Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook
“I’ve spent years following directions from more than a dozen bread baking books. I’ve babied bowls of dough in various stages of fermentation, and I’ve only ended up with bread that tastes like an inner tube. Peter has unraveled the mystery of baking, and I now approach this intimidating subject with confidence.”
–James Peterson, author of Cooking
“Peter Reinhart is a gifted teacher who explains the science of bread dough in easy-to-understand language. Using Peter’s innovative techniques for enhancing both enzyme and yeast activity and following with his gentle, clear-cut guidance, even a beginner can master sourdough starters, pre-ferments, soakers, and mashes to make incredibly flavorful whole grain breads.”
–Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise
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Top customer reviews
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It really doesn't take longer to make this way. You have to plan ahead, but the actual mixing/kneading/shaping time is no more, perhaps less, than I'm used to. Since it's broken up over two days, I find it's very easy to fit into a working life.
The recipes all seem to make one loaf each, and so as much as I regret writing in such a pretty book, I've learned to write the double-quantity formulas down the side of the page so I don't mess up. My first loaf, I forgot to double the ingredients added the second day, and the bread was NOT a success. My two-person household needs two loaves a week, so this makes it simpler for me.
He specifies agave nectar as an option, as well as nondairy milks in the fortified breads. This is nice for me, as a veg. I'd use them anyway, but it was good to know that he'd tested the recipes this way. I'd be interested in whether brown rice syrup or maple syrup would work as a sweetener. I have used almond milk in the sandwich bread-very nice! I sour the milk alternative with about a tablespoon of vinegar per every 8 ounces to improve the taste of the final loaf.
A couple of things I would have preferred were in the book: a page showing pictures of traditional and fancy hearth bread shapes with ideas for scoring (there is a section on shaping, but it only shows a few ways); some information on storage (I slice the whole loaf the next morning after a bake, slide it into a gallon bag and fit it into a paper sack, then freeze, and toast the slices right out of the freezer); recipes for more non-yeasted breads like soda bread; and info for maintaining sourdough starter when you only bake a small amount each week. I've looked at the sections on making the starter, and I want to try the breads, but it seems very inefficient since I'd be using just ounces of it each week but having to feed it tons of flour.
I saw on his newer book a review that called Reinhart the Leonardo da Vinci of bread. That made me laugh, as da Vinci's recipes didn't turn out all that well if you'll notice. Trust me, Reinhart's formulas DO work, so don't worry about moisture ruining your masterpieces!
I honestly love the richer and nuttier taste of all whole grain products such as brown rice and brown pasta, in addition to bread of course, but the whole grain breads I was baking for the last year were edible, but still somewhat heavy and dense. When I saw this book as a reference for 100% whole grain breads exclusively (minus some of the transitional recipes), I knew I had to get it.
This book has surpassed my expectations. I must confess that not only is this my first Reinhart book, it is my first bread baking book, but I am thoroughly amazed. The first section of the book is all about the history and science behind Reinhart's approach to whole grain baking. As I am particularly interested in where art and science come together, I found this section to be very eye-opening to help me understand, at least somewhat, some of the chemical processes during the baking of the bread.
After a couple months of having the book, I have baked the whole wheat sandwich loaf multiple times, the potato-rosemary bread, the focaccia bread, and the pizza dough. These will most likely be my staples that I'll rotate normally throughout the year. Without exaggeration, my sandwich loaves have not only become way lighter, but they have become much richer in taste. The others as well, with a special favorite being the focaccia bread (I think, in general, I enjoy focaccia bread). The best thing about his methods is that they're just formulas to easily start from, but then you can add your own twists and ingredients (whether that be garlic, rosemary, dried fruits, other grains, more or less water, etc...). Once you understand the science and technique as a starting point, the recipes in the book really simply become starting-formulas to get you on your way and allow you, as the baker, to make it your own with spectacular results. His extra footnotes/commentary in the margins help in this way.
Reinhart's philosophy to extract the full potential of flavor from the grain is realized by following the tips and formulas in this book. Just make sure you have a kitchen scale!