would not have been a convert to bread baking, nor would I have bought myself a pastry scraper. I had never used a scraper before.
One of Reinhart’s books, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (Ten Speed Press, 2001) is a gem. It should be in your kitchen, but it would also make an excellent coffee book table, a conversation starter. If I ever turned destitute and had to start selling my books for money, this one would be the last to go.
In case you were wondering, I’m not being paid by anyone to promote this book and I doubt Reinhart would even bother to read this blog. I think I’ll send him an e-mail one day to let him know anyway.
If you read the reviews on Amazon, most of them speak of the book in glowing terms. One or two reviewers say it’s not a book for beginners. I disagree; I am a beginner at bread baking and the book didn’t intimidate me at all. I managed to follow some of the recipes (Reinhart calls them “formulas”) with no problem.
He said something on page 9 which I’d like to share: “The more technical and mechanical bakers often go to Manhattan, Kansas, where there is a superb school called the American Institute of Baking. There they learn all about the properties of wheat and the effect of multitudinous sugars upon various strains of yeast. They learn dough formulas, and they learn about equipment options and methodologies. Graduates of this program become valuable technical bakers, usually for large companies, and earn good salaries, troubleshooting problems, and guaranteeing consistency in operations that may produce forty thousand or more loaves a day…The other type of baker, the wind-on-cheek baker, often opens a small bakeshop and makes what has become known as artisan bread, the term “artisan” having been driven, sadly, to near meaninglessness by its recent ubiquity. These are the bakers who tend to rhapsodize about their loaves.”
Peter Reinhart teaches at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. He is the author of at least four other books and is a regular culinary commentator.
If you want to find out more about The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, the ISBN is: 978-1-58008-268-6. Notice that I don’t have an Amazon banner ad – I haven’t got the foggiest on how to go about doing that!