Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book: 52 Loaves by William Alexander

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

Alexander is the author of a previous read -- The $64 Tomato (my mini Review). Taking an obsession to a new level, Alexander tries to reproduce at home a bread that he had in a restaurant. Every week it is a new loaf with changes somewhere in the process from the mix of ingredients, the bread rise times or the baking. With the fanatic search under way, he manages to purchase numerous recipe books on bread baking. He attends bread baking classes. He grows his own wheat to use in his bread. He was obsessed.

Alexander does a great job of poking fun of himself in his year long obsession. For me the learning is always a draw and read with interest the history of wheat and the endless varieties, yeast and its manufacture, and the bread recipes found in ancient texts.

52 Loaves is an easy read that is fast moving and entertaining with a frequent laugh out loud.

If the taste for the perfect bread peaks your interest, bread recipes are included so you don't have to experiment for 52 weeks. 

A personal footnote on bread....

Unfortunately, breads can no longer be in my diet due to gluten intolerance. But when I could handle the gluten, bread was a part of the diet. Especially with lots of butter.

About 20 years ago, I had one of those bread machines. (Today you can find them at the thrift store.) Raisin bread and rye bread were my favorites. Really a loaf of bread was too much for one guy. The loaf was rarely finished. Decided to share the extra bread with the squirrels and birds in my back yard. Worked fine. The loaf was finished off. However, the next time I was baking bread with the screen door open the aromas called the squirrels to look through the door. This was not going to work. Decided to stop feeding the local wild life after that. 

Another memory is of my mother baking bread. Along with the laundry (wringer washer and hung on the clothes line and ironing every piece of the laundry including the underwear), the daily cooking (no fast food and no microwave), and farm chores (milking cows twice a day), she also made four to five loaves of bread every week. No doubt punching and kneading the bread contributed to her shoulder problems later in life.

1 comment:

  1. Dad, you can find your old bread machine in the basement of my home if you ever decide to look for it.



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