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

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Algonquin Books, May 1, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 339 pages
9 Reviews
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  - satyridae - LibraryThing

Alexander's memoir about baking bread left me cold. I didn't connect with him on any meaningful level. I'm a baker- a dilettante to be sure- but I never felt the sort of connection with the dough I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NellieMc - LibraryThing

I loved this book - so much so, that I went out and bought The $64 tomato. Obsessive, compulsive, driven, but also reflective, thoughtful, and intelligent - Alexander comes through as a very complex person. I certainly wouldn't want to marry him, but I'll read anything he writes. 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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