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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 50.
- Review Date: 2007-05-21
- Reviewer: Staff
Leader's new bread-baking book is distinguished from his earlier classic Bread Alone by its focus on regional specialties, from the Alsatian classic pain au levain to Tuscan black olive puccia, from German laugenbrezeln or pretzels to the dark Silesian rye of the Czech Republic. The book opens with 50 pages of well-written and thorough instructions on everything from ingredients to equipment. The most helpful part is the explanation of the basic steps of any bread-making process, which serves as a primer on the procedural elements that are universal across the various European traditions. Leader, who founded the heralded Bread Alone bakery in Woodstock, N.Y., is most interested in teaching holistically, so that his readers will feel comfortable becoming apprentices and then experts themselves. One can't help imagining, however, that bread baking is best learned in the flesh. Leader advises that the only way to figure out if the “dough is ready is through experience,” and a hapless home baker might agree. Still, the book is an excellent primer on the best breads of Europe, and the traveler who has returned home with a longing for the Roman specialty pane di altamura might be satisfied with a mouth-watering trip down memory lane. (Aug.)