Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (August 17, 2007)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.2 x 10.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #459,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #120 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Special Diet > Whole Foods #455 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Baking > Bread #1622 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European
Local Breads is a good addition to the bread bakers library. There are probably three types of people who would be interested in this book:1) die-hard artisan bread-baking fanatics (or perhaps not quite fanatic). If you say "hmmm... this describes me pretty accurately, as you pick dried dough off of your forearms), you definitely need this book. No sense having an incomplete home artisan-bread-baking library. It also contains recipes I have not encountered in other books. There is bound to be at least one or two recipes that will enter into your rotation.2) Arm-chair bread-bakers. If you don't bake bread everyday, but enjoy eating it (or perhaps you used to be a fanatic and no longer have time), this book is still for you. In addition to numerous recipes, the descriptions of bakeries, bakers, bread, and other experiences makes for a very good read (if you enjoyed American Pie or any of Maggie Glezer's books, you will probably like this one as well). Likewise, if you are interested in travel or the slow food movement, this book could be of interest to you.3) Beginning bakers. This could be an acceptable first book for people just getting introduced to the world of artisan bread baking-- I would probably recommend Peter Reinhart's books instead of or, if you want as much knowledge as possible, in addition to Leader's. It probably makes more sense to have fundamental baking knowledge before diving into a multi-step sourdough recipe, for example. If you are prepared for some trial and error, the recipes themselves are very clear... there are just some things that cannot be understood perfectly without a little bit of prior experience. Leader does have a very helpful introduction with basic techniques and equipment.
After reading all the other reviews about this product, I decided to check out a copy at the library before buying. I began reading the book and was enthralled. This book has everything that should make it a success: knowledgable author, adventurous storyline, details on the how-tos of breadmaking, unusual recipes, and great photos. EXCEPT: when you dig deeper you see that the great recipes are flawed! What a disappointment!For example:How much does 1-1/2 cups of water weigh? Answer: In this book, it depends on which recipe you are making.On pg 67 & pg.144, 1-1/2 cups weighs: 340grams/12oz.On pg. 96 & pg.126, 1-1/2cups water weighs 350g or 12.3 oz.Move on to pg. 170 and 1-1/2 cups water now weighs 375g/13.2 oz.Why does the weight of water matter when all these pages call for 1-1/2 cups water? Easy. The author, Daniel Leader has clearly stated on several website/boards that he gave the original recipes in Metric measurements only. He didn't even want to add volume measures (cups, teaspoons,etc.) but his editor insisted. Someone other than the Daniel Leader also did all the U.S. weight and volume conversions. Too bad that someone had no basic understanding of arithmetic principles!I could spend a lot of time listing all the measurement inconsistencies in this book. Still, that wouldn't leave enough time to mention the blatent errors---for example, pg. 283 has a recipe that calls for 22 cups of water (yes, twenty-two). The weight of 22 cups of water is: 300g/10.6 oz.After a browse through this book, I began to develop a real love/distrust relationship. The book is very attractive--and very flawed.Other reviewers have suggested that maybe you could just use the metric table for the recipes.
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