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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

An updated new edition of the essential resource for professionals and seasoned home bakers

Hailed as a "revelation" when it first appeared in 2004, Jeffrey Hamelman′s Bread is a legendary resource praised by baking luminaries from around the world. Explaining complex techniques with simple and helpful illustrations, the book includes recipes for a vast array of breads, including sourdoughs, brioche, authentic rye breads, flat breads, French breads, and much more.

  • Features nearly 150 detailed, step–by–step recipes, along with vivid drawings and photographs showing techniques and finished products
  • Written by Jeffrey Hamelman, one of fewer than 200 Certified Master Bakers in the United States and a recipient of the Golden Baguette Award (2005), the highest honor bestowed by the Bread Baker′s Guild of America
  • Fully updated to include the latest techniques, methods, trends, and bread varieties

Whether you′re an aspiring or practicing professional baker or a dedicated home hobbyist, Bread is the ultimate resource for almost any variety of bread you can imagine.

Quatrième de couverture

"Bread is worthy of high praise, from the generous number of recipes to the scientific discussions on pre–ferments. I wish that I had this book to guide me when I started my life as a bread baker 42 years ago. The author′s sensibility toward bread and his attitude as a bread baker are evident throughout this book."
Toshio Nihei, Advisor, Donq, Japan

"Bread is the masterwork of bread baking literature. It guides us through the journey that harvested grains make from the milling process to their subsequent interaction in the bakery environment with other ingredients and in the baker′s hands, the transformations that take place within the environment of intense oven heat, and up to the final loaves′ eventual cooling on racks."
Jim Haas, Baker, AgroEast Baking & Milling Co., Ukraine

"Jeffrey′s book is an ideal companion in the kitchen. He invites novice bakers to explore the world of bread baking with confidence, building a solid foundation of process and understanding of principles of fermentation and yeast dough production. His clear explanation of challenging ingredient functions and food science are key stepping stones for professionals improving their skills. This book includes inventive and delectable formulas and illustrative graphics that clearly walk the reader through shaping steps."
Milina Podolsky, Instructor, Kendall College, Chicago, Illinois

"This new edition of Jeffrey Hamelman′s book brings to light a great diversity of artisan bread making methods. Readers will discover an anthology of recipes from the French, German, Italian, and Swiss traditions, patiently reconsidered and shared with great generosity. It is a milestone in American bakers′ increasingly serious approach to artisan baking. With her wonderful drawings, Chiho leads the reader to an easier understanding of hand skills. This landmark book enables both home bakers and experienced professionals not only to make breads of the highest quality, but also to guide them to a thorough understanding of the keys to success."
Hubert Chiron, Institut National de Recherche Agricole (INRA), Nantes, France

"Jeffrey Hamelman has taught and influenced an entire generation of bakers. With his latest contribution, he shares his uncompromising, exacting methods, love for bread, and noble labor, along with the will to never stop learning and improving. This book is a gift to the world of artisan baking."
Markus Farbinger, Owner, Île de Pain, Knysna, South Africa

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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277 internautes sur 327 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Still Flawed with Inferior Editing 20 décembre 2012
Par Rick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The other day, I read a review on another web site which concluded that the Amazon.com reviewers who criticized the first edition were largely inexperienced home bakers incapable of appreciating recipes by a master baker. Thus, I trust prospective customers will realize the necessity for sufficient critique.

Commercial bakers are the primary audience of this book, although there has been an attempt to enlarge its scope to include home bakers. I purchased the first edition in 2010 through Amazon.com, and my review of the first edition is still extant. I'd been baking for about ten years at the time of my first purchase, and I wanted to take my ability to a new level. I recently purchased the second edition hoping that I would find it improved.

There are some huge omissions and oversights in this book. Let's begin with the worst one of them: flour protein level. Early in the book, Hamelman writes, "When working with any bread formula, it is important to know what kind of flour is used, and its protein level. When making substitutions or when trying out new flours, adjustments in hydration are very often necessary" (p. 34). That sounds good enough, except by the time the recipes begin in chapter 4 (about 90 pages into the book), he has not ever stated what to use. So, the baker wants to jump in and make some recipes--and they have to guess. I love the clarity with which Nancy Silverton writes in her section on white flour, "The white flour I use at the moment is blended from hard winter wheat and dark hard northern spring wheat, and has a protein content of 12.5 percent" (Breads from the La Brea Baker, p. 6). Rose Levy Beranbaum even provides the "Approximate Range of Protein in Nationally Available Flours" on p. 550f of "The Bread Bible" to make shopping easy for the home baker. "Amy's Bread" (Revised & Updated, 2010) does an outstanding job of prominently noting protein information in the Tips and Techniques section for most of the recipes, along with providing a "Flour Protein Comparison Chart." Amy Scherber's book is published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.--the same publisher as Hamelman's book--except that they had different editors.

Now, let's suppose the home baker wants to make the first recipe in the book called Baguettes with Poolish (p. 92). So, the home baker travels over to the local supermarket and stares at the shelf of flour choices. "Let's see. Hamelman works for King Arthur Flour. Here's a bag of King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour. The recipe calls for `bread flour.' That'll work. Problem solved." As it turns out, our home baker has made a poor choice because this flour is too high in protein level to make good baguettes with. It's not really "problem solved" but rather "problem created," especially if the home baker continues right on baking with this flour in the recipes that call for "bread flour." It was bad enough that the first edition of this book lacked protein specifics, but to repeat the same exact omission in the second edition is really inexcusable. There will continue to be all kinds of frustrated home bakers over this issue. It wasted a lot of time for me, and quite some time passed before I got around to working in the levain breads section later in the book (chapter 5, p. 146) where Hamelman does indeed specify a protein level for his recipes that call for "bread flour." This made me come to the conclusion that Hamelman probably wanted home bakers to use King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour when he specifies "bread flour" in the other sections of the book. In my judgment, recipes have turned out better since the time I switched. To confirm, there's an excellent discussion of this problem on The Fresh Loaf website called, "Hamelman's `Bread Flour' vs. `High-Gluten Flour'" by some bakers who have taken classes at King Arthur using recipes from this book and are acquainted with Hamelman. I just found this discussion while writing this review, but it began back on December 24, 2009.

You are probably wondering why I just didn't look in the index. Good question. I did. It turns out that the index does not include the particular page in the levain bread section which specifies the protein level. So, if you look under "Flour / protein level in" or any of the sub entries under "Protein in Flour" it does not include that page. Here's another similar example. In teaching Baker's Percentages, Hamelman provides an example and writes, "It is worth noting that by simply looking at the percentages we can ascertain important things about this bread. For one thing, we know at a glance that the salt and yeast are within appropriate ranges." (p. 443). Really? I don't remember that Hamelman ever mentioned what the yeast range is in a balanced hearth bread formula, and I have searched both editions for it on several occasions. (He talks about the yeast range in a pre-ferment, but not for the entire formula.) There's no entry in the index under yeast for "range."

In fact, this index is inadequate. And, if you decide to work with this book, I strongly suggest that any time you come across important information that you either create your own topical index from scratch (which I do myself) or you verify that the entry actually exists in the book's index--because it can be very frustrating to retrieve information you remember reading if it has not been indexed, and sometimes, helpful information is hidden in recipes outside of the main presentation of the book.

There was an errata sheet for the first edition, and we are to understand that they have gone over the recipes with a fine-tooth comb. I've had the second edition for less than a week, and I can already find one mistake from the first edition that they missed. Please turn to Five-Grain Bread on p. 281. You will note that the overall formula calls for .26 oz of instant dry yeast. There's no yeast used in the soaker, but the final dough calls for .8 oz. How do they account for this discrepancy? If the home baker does not notice this and uses the wrong number, then there's a problem. Before learning of the existence of the first edition's errata sheet, I made some of the inaccurate recipes. It's time wasted that I'll never get back.

This book emphasizes proper weighing of ingredients. Hamelman writes, "Cups and tablespoons are inherently inaccurate, and serious home bakers should buy a good scale" (p. 82). His recipes use baker's percentages where "each ingredient in a formula is expressed as a percentage of the flour weight, and the flour weight is always expressed as 100 percent" (p. 442). Unfortunately, Hamelman's handling of numbers while scaling the commercial formulas into smaller portions for home bakers has not been done carefully enough. My degree is in electrical engineering. As I write, I sit here reminiscing about the days of yore at good ole' Michigan State University working on my Bachelor of Science degree doing triple integrals, Fourier series analysis, and other horrible math problems while others were out at the bar drinking. For you--and only for you--I will try to rally myself to do some baker's math. Please turn to the first recipe in the book, Baguettes with Poolish on p. 92, and let's verify the yeast weight in the overall formula remembering that the yeast % is actually fresh yeast for the convenience of the professional bakers and must be converted to instant dry for the home bakers that are routinely treated as second-class citizens throughout this book (see p. 48 if you don't already have this conversion committed to memory): 2lb flour weight x (16oz/lb) x (0.011 fresh yeast weight/flour weight) x (0.33 instant dry yeast weight/fresh yeast weight) = 0.1162 oz which they have rounded up to 0.13??? That's odd. I never learned rounding like that. Now, take a look at some other recipes all based on the same 2 pounds of flour and all specifying the very same 0.13 oz of instant dry yeast. Remember that these baker's percentages are in fresh yeast for commercial bakers: we have 1.25% for Baguettes with pate Fermentee (p. 94), 1.2% for Ciabatta with Stiff Biga (p. 96) and 1.3% for Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multi-Grain Soaker. It's like someone decided to take the easy way out and made a chart of range conversions instead of doing the math for each formula. So, if the fresh yeast percentage is between 1.1% and 1.3% then the home bakers are to use 0.13 oz of instant dry yeast. If you study recipes in the breads with yeasted pre-ferments section you will also notice they did the same thing for 2 lb. formulas calling for between 1.5% - 1.7% fresh yeast which all use the same 0.17 oz of instant dry yeast. When I was first learning baker's percentages from this book, I found it very confusing to find that some yeast quantities in the home baker's column were not arrived at by the method taught in the book. In any case where you discover a discrepancy, you will have to determine if it is significant enough to merit correcting.

Crackers and Flat Breads (p.364) is a new recipe which illustrates the problem of rounding off ounces to one decimal place in a recipe containing a small ingredient such as a spice. The recipe for home bakers is based on 5.2 oz. of flour and calling for 1% toasted cumin. So, here's the math: 5.2 oz. x 0.01 = 0.052 oz.--which has been rounded off to 0.1 oz. In other words, the careless rounding of numbers has resulted in almost doubling the amount of toasted cumin for the home bakers.

For some time, my impression has been that some of the recipes could use more salt. Since I'm not going to be able to bake a loaf for you over the internet, the only way I can describe what I've learned from looking into this issue is to do more baker's math for you. A part of this problem arises from the fact that they round off the salt in home recipes to one decimal place--an inconsistent practice considering that they use two decimal places for yeast. Hamelman writes, "Generally, the correct amount of salt in bread dough is 1.8 to 2 percent of salt based on flour weight (that is, 1.8 to 2 pounds of salt per 100 pounds of flour)" (p. 44). For home bakers, Hamelman often scales recipes to 2 pounds of flour. When you do the math, this means that 1.8% salt would be 0.576 oz while 2.0% is 0.64 oz.--both of which round off to 0.6 oz. There are numerous examples throughout the book of recipes where this rounding off has taken place. For home bakers, the rounding off of the salt means that you will not be able to experience the subtleties of his salting as you are effectively baking all of these recipes at 0.6 oz salt weight / [2 lb flour weight x (16 oz / lb)] = 1.88%. Clearly, this was not his intent, but they did not think this issue through enough before deciding to round off the salt to one decimal place. The remedy is for you to redo the math on any recipe that you make if you want to experience the subtleties of Hamelman's recipes. "The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking" by The French Culinary Institute has adapted several of Hamelman's recipes for use in their book and they also offer grams, which is a superior choice over rounding ounces to only one decimal place. For home bakers, it may be in your best interest to simply redo the entire recipe in grams using the baker's percentages.

Question: Why does this review have to be so long?

Answer: It is as long as it has to be to cover what I feel needs to be said. I do not get paid by trying to make an effort to help you.

In this book, Hamelman offers seven different formulas for French Baguettes. I can't think of another author who even comes close to that amount! But, all seven of these recipes have salt in the range of 1.8 to 2% so there's not as much variety as there could have been. It's helpful to mention some other prominent authors whose use of salt is in a very different range. Julia Child's famous recipe for Plain French Bread (Pain Francais) which she worked out with the assistance of Professor Raymond Calvel [who also wrote the Foreword for Hamelman's book] is approximately 2.9% (see "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child and Simone Beck, volume two, p. 57). Elizabeth David's general preference for salt in bread is upwards of 3.13% (see "English Bread and Yeast cookery," p. 120), and James Beard's taste is in the same range (see "Beard on Bread," pp. 22 and 28). In this book, I'd have been better served to have had at least a few of the baguette recipes break out of Hamelman's preferred narrow range.

Another type of common omission is worth mentioning because of potential safety. It is not unusual for Hamelman to mention other dough shaping possibilities in a recipe. For instance, on Baguettes with Pate Fermentee (p. 94), Hamelman writes, "Round loaves (boules), oval loaves (batards), pan loaves, and rolls can be made with this dough" but there are no bake temperatures nor times provided for these options. The bake temperature for baguettes is 460F. For pan loaves, it may not be as simple as using the time and temperature for the baguettes because pans may not be rated high enough to withstand the heat. I have a number of USA Pans that I purchased from King Arthur, and they are only rated to 450F. So, the home baker would have to use trial and error to find a safe solution. There is a Baking at Home section, but it is only marginally improved in the second edition. It talks about baking on stones, for instance. Many authors focusing on home bakers will also include information on La Cloche bakers. I've had some success particularly with the Italian style La Cloche for some of Hamelman's recipes. This section is only two pages long and could have been more robust, particularly given the varying performance of home ovens. Bake times and temperatures are for commercial ovens, and it is well for you to have reasonable expectations regarding how well you expect this information to work with a home oven before you add this item to your shopping cart. This has required more of my time than any other challenge presented by this book despite the fact that I believe my oven to be correctly calibrated!

The dividing and shaping information is not well thought out for home bakers. Bagels (p. 328) is an example of a recipe based on 3lb 3.5 oz of dough which is expected to yield 13 bagels, and the instructions call for dividing into 4 oz pieces. This is physically impossible even if you could scale exactly to 4 oz because 13 x 4 oz requires a minimum of 3 lb 4 oz to begin with. In reality, you will want to have some extra dough to work with to avoid having to reuse tiny cutting scraps. There is an excellent discussion in Daniel T. DiMuzio's "Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective" (p. 36) suggesting a 5% cutting loss as a starting place until you know your actual loss. Hamelman does, at least, teach how to scale a recipe properly. Amazon has provided three recipe excerpts from the book. Taking this information, you can now discover for yourself whether the recipe excerpt for Grissini contains a sufficient quantity of dough to begin with in the metric and home columns--given the dividing instructions.

There is a helpful discussion buried in the production notes of the sourdough rye breads (pp. 206-7) pertaining to the need to adjust bake times when the loaf size is changed. This discussion should have been placed in a position of greater visibility applying to the entire book, as I cannot find this discussion elsewhere. The home baker will always want to be on the lookout for recipes where the home loaves have been scaled to a different size than the commercial ones, as this happens frequently. Two of the most dramatic examples are: (1.) Miche, Pointe-a-calliere (p. 164) which has been scaled to 5 lbs. for commercial bakers but only 3 lb., 10.8 oz. for home bakers; and (2.) Mixed-Flour Miche (p. 166) which has been scaled to 5 lb. for commercial bakers but only 3 lb. 11.2 oz. for home bakers.

After having read, "A Conversation with Michael Ganzle" in the Baker's Recource: Sourdough Microbiology section of The Bread Builders by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott, I wished that Hamelman would have gone more in depth into his philosophy about maintaining a sourdough culture. For instance, how did Hamelman decide what percentage to inoculate his cultures with? Nancy Silverton writes, "I've found that bread turns out a lot better when the starter has been fed three times each day" (p. 35). Hamelman recommends twice per day. I'd like to know why he thinks the way that he does. I prefer Silverton's approach, but if you decide to use Hamelman's Liquid Levain I strongly recommend that you fix the math in the home baker's column.

Mixing times are for commercial-type spiral mixers, but some general guidelines are provided to assist home bakers using KitchenAid type stand mixers to adapt this information. Generally speaking, these guidelines have worked pretty well for me with only a few exceptions. In these cases, I needed to study similar recipes from a variety of sources until I was able to figure out what went wrong in the mixing process. My experience has been that the KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater has been of great value for mixing some of the rye breads. This beater has the flex edge on one side only as opposed to some of the third party models with flex edges on both sides which have not worked nearly as well for me and I do not recommend.

The repertoire of breads is primarily European artisan. The book features a lot of recipes with seeds and grains that I have enjoyed baking. Despite working for King Arthur, a long-standing American company in Vermont, Hamelman has very little interest in North American tradition nor regional favorites from the northeast such as Portugese Sweet Bread, Boston Brown Bread, or Anadama Bread. The repertoire of whole-rye and medium rye breads is especially distinguished, appealing, and tasty. Lovers of sourdough bread should find this book to be a must-have. Although, regarding baking with white rye flour, Hamelman writes on p. 42, "White rye flour has little in the way of flavor or color, and is generally a poor choice in bread making." When reading that I immediately thought, "Ooo, he must not like those white rye recipes of the Hungarian tradition by George Greenstein in 'Secrets of a Jewish Baker' from rival Ten Speed Press!" Therefore, I would qualify Hamelman's repertoire as being "select European artisan." Within this focus, there is a strong repertoire of variations, although a broader outlook could have helped the book.

One of the best features of this book is the shaping and handling information. There is also a strong presentation of braiding techniques, as well as decorative dough projects. The book features beautiful line drawing illustrations by the author's wife. I have uploaded some customer images for viewing. These pictures were originally uploaded with captions including favorable comments pointing out various features of the book. Amazon has since changed it's method for displaying picture galleries, and the captions have subsequently been lost. This is a defect that I am unable to remedy.

This book will take its place in my bread library primarily as a reference book but I will bake cautiously out of it. There are some recipes found herein that both put a smile on my wife's face and that I really value having in my baking repertoire--but I have had to persist through a lot of unnecessary challenges to achieve satisfactory results. I doubt I would ever try baking a recipe for the first time from it when company is coming over. I do not recommend this book to new bakers, and I only recommend it to advanced home bakers with caution and reservations. I think that home bakers are a lot better off with Peter Reinhart's books, and he knows to provide salt and yeast in ounces with two decimal places. Reinhart has a huge army of home bakers who assist in testing before a book is released, and Reinhart is more in tune with the types of problems faced by home bakers including the necessity for make-ahead recipe techniques. The progression of Reinhart's books is a fascinating journey worth taking, including his understanding of enzyme action in bread making. I gave the first edition of this book the benefit of the doubt. This time, I'm not going to do so--as I've paid for it twice now: three stars only.
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
But for the types of European breads I happen to like, it's the perfect book 12 août 2014
Par jmk - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
As an experienced home baker, this is the only book I've chosen to buy. I absolutely wouldn't say it's the be-all-and-end-all of baking; it's no "bread bible". But for the types of European breads I happen to like, it's the perfect book.
There are no gimmicks here. Hamelman doesn't have some new method with each book (like Reinhart), he doesn't hold your hand (like Barenbaum). Just good core formulas and practical baking techniques. The critics are all correct when they note: the mixing times are for professional bakers and you have to double them for home; the moisture content can be off at home; the flour protein is not specified; you have to scale down for home use with a calculator; general hints are hidden in obscure places rather than highlighted for general use. He also leaves out many hand-holding steps he assumes you know. In other words, you pretty much have to make each of his recipes your own. That alone is why I can't recommend this book to the average home baker, especially a beginner. (Berenbaum's Bread Bible much better for beginner's.)
But for the experienced home baker who already knows their way around dough feel, knows how to adjust hydration. salt, and yeast and sourdough fermentation times, this book is rock solid. Many classic formulas here, and once you get his thinking you can extrapolate many more.
Most of the people I know who love this book end up adapting the recipes to their own tastes. In other words, Hamelman gives you an excellent starting point for many classic European breads. That is why I bought it. I have tons of recipes on my harddrive, but for a paper volume this was it.
It's important to note Hamelman's training and tastes lean heavily toward German breads. You wouldn't guess that from the title or that he works for King Arthur. So you won't get "irish soda bread" or "anaconda bread" or many American classics. Heck, he barely has a classic white sandwich loaf here! Instead you'll find Sunflower seed bread, flax rye, vollkornbrot, pumpernickel, scalded rye. He also favors multigrain whites, with six different recipes for that in different forms. Those happen to be my favorite types of bread; but I wouldn't call that typical.
Last criticism: not well bound. I already have pages falling out after a couple uses. No excuse!
In short: Good book for core formulas for European (especially German) breads. No handholding for beginners, and no complex discussion of dough handling for experts. For those purposes I'd recommend a couple other books to augment this excellent resource.
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Wonderfully Informative 13 décembre 2012
Par drips - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I've only been baking bread for a short while but very quickly learned that leavened bread is a different beast than anything I've cooked before. There is a lot to learn and many ways you can make yourself an unimpressive bread. If you want to gain an understanding of all that happens when you create a loaf you need some good education. This book fits the bill. I also have Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice which is great but doesn't go as deeply into the science, mechanics, etc. of working with yeasted dough as Bread. Both books are great though.

If you are serious about getting into bread you should also check out some online resources like blogs and forums (The Fresh Loaf being my personal favorite). Once you start baking you'll be amazed at how many questions you have.

One complaint though: Home recipes aren't given in metric!
17 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A must-read for bread makers at any level, but there's something missing 5 avril 2013
Par Brian Connors - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
First thing: I took a pass on this book when it first came out. I was on a baking book kick at the time ('03-'04) and figured that it would be redundant with the The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, a great book in its own right, so I'm coming at this with more or less fresh eyes and no experience with the first edition.

First off... any of the reviews you've read that say that this is a must read? Yes, yes it is. Hamelman is about on the same level as Peter Reinhart for expertise, and barely half a step below the great Raymond Calvel, so you know this is going to be good. Recipes come in both home and commercial quantity; although metric measurements are only available for the commercial sizes, the presence of baker's percentage makes up for it handily. There is a respectably large amount of technical material, including an entire chapter on braiding dough (apparently whole books exist on that one subject). Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there isn't as much discussion of ingredients as you'd expect; it's there, but Hamelman is more focused on technique and baking science and integrates ingredient discussions into the flow of the book rather than setting them off in one reference section. (There's an extensive bibliography, so you at least know where to go to find the information he doesn't give.)

The book is biased a bit towards western and northern European bread; American breads like Pullman white and Jewish deli rye aren't ignored, but you still have to brave the mountains of half-informed gibberish in Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters to get a decent recipe for Russian bread, and there are nearly no quick breads save Irish soda bread in here. And Hamelman completely avoids no-knead and bread machine recipes completely; although that's probably understandable for a book with a pro audience, this is more of a prosumer book. (This omission doesn't impact my star rating though, as it's just a matter of personal taste.) If Hamelman was going for "the Escoffier of bread", he got probably about two thirds of the way there. And there's something about the flow of the book... I can't put my finger on exactly what bothers me about it, but it's enough to make it feel a little clunky and difficult to navigate. But, much like The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book (only less so -- Hamelman isn't out in la la land on nutritional issues), a book can have some pretty profound flaws and still be a must-read. I don't know... if Peter Reinhart is Canon, Hamelman may be Nikon?
19 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Like taking a class from the master baker! 13 décembre 2012
Par Otis Maxwell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
In addition to being a world class and decorated baker, Jeffrey Hamelman is a superb and entertaining teacher. I have had the good fortune to take multiple classes with him, and the techniques in Bread are explained exactly as he explains them in class--often accompanied by historical or personal anecdotes and enlivened by his dry wit.

Most professional bakers have a copy of Bread, so this review is aimed at the home baker. If you're serious about your bread, you should own this book, end of story. Many of his recipes, like the Vermont Sourdough, are world renowned and it's wonderful to learn how to make them from the master. Though there are 130 recipes, every one of them seems unique and made by hand and you will want to bake them all and in time you will.

With most cookbooks, you have the choice of reading whatever techniques and background the author provides as introduction, or diving right in and starting to make the recipes. If you're experienced with preferments, dividing and shaping, applying steam and other building blocks of the baker's repertoire, maybe you can just dive right into Bread. But that would be a shame because his explanations at the beginning of the book, of these and many other topics, are so clear and thorough that even the master baker has plenty to learn.

I own the first edition of the book and was eager to get my hands on this new edition to see what's changed. Much of it is the same, yet the 30 new recipes are in my opinion worth the price of the new book on their own. Hamelman's perspective on flours has evolved in the 8 years since the first edition and the new recipes reflect it. There's more emphasis on added seeds and other enhancements. Interestingly, he's reworked several of the original recipes to replace high-gluten flour with lower-protein flour out of a confidence that America's bakers are ready to work with looser doughs.

If you've already got a good starter (or are ready to make one from scratch), there's no better place to begin as your first loaf than the Vermont Sourdough. Otherwise, try one of the new yeasted recipes for either Unkneaded Six-Fold French Bread or "Slow Rise" Baguettes. We made both of these in class, and I predict your results will be not only delicious and satisfying, but the essence of all that is good about bread.
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