52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust

Front Cover
Algonquin Books, May 1, 2010 - Cooking - 339 pages
Obsession takes many forms. Alexander, already a seasoned horticultural adept, now turns his attention to producing the ultimate loaf of bread. To achieve perfection in so simple a creation (yeast, water, flour), Alexander husbands his own field of wheat. He learns to raise this ancient grass, harvest it, prepare the grain, grind it to flour, knead it with the purest water, generate the active microorganisms to puff up the dough, and then bake that dough to produce a properly satisfying crumb within a flawless crunchy brown crust. He researches his topic thoroughly, but realizes he needs more hands-on tutelage. Moreover, the definition of a perfect loaf changes both by place and time. Alexander travels the world to learn from masters of bread baking in various styles, ending up in a Norman monastery. Impressed with the monks' daily spiritual discipline, Alexander structures this account of his quest according to the ancient canonical hours
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mattparfitt - www.librarything.com

I enjoyed this book a lot, perhaps partly because I'm a little bread-obsessed right now, but also because it's entertaining and amusing. It's a little formulaic and predictable, perhaps, but I did learn a thing or two from it. It's well-crafted and witty. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pnorman4345 - www.librarything.com

Our author bakes a loaf of peasant bread every week for a year. along the way he learns the chemistry of flour, the biology of yeast and the ways ofa moastery in France. It was the monastery where Patrick Leigh Fremour use to stay! Quite good. Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
I Vigils
5
II Lauds
17
III Terce
67
IV Sext
127
V None
169
VI Vespers
211
VII Compline
297
Recipes
325
A Bakers Bookshelf
335
Acknowledgments
341
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

William Alexander lives and bakes in New Yorkrsquo;s Hudson Valley. He is the author of The $64 Tomato. Find him online at www.williamalexander.com.

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