A veteran baker who teaches his craft at the university level is probably a good source of wisdom for anyone from the beginning amateur to the practiced housewife looking to improve her repertoire. Peter Reinhart is a master, and in Whole Grain Breadshe leads readers through the science and art of making whole grain bread that actually tastes good. Or, as he says "very, very good."
Beginning with the basics like comparisons of different kinds of grain, the best fermentation techniques, making starter, and how to form your loaf in traditional shapes, Reinhart follows the fundamentals with recipes for everything from brioche to naan to crackers. Whenever he offers advice, such as how to mix your dough in an electric mixer, he supports it scientifically rather than simply by making assertions.
Not many recipe books are easy or fun to just read—this one is. Partly it's the conversational tone, but mostly it's the fascinating information that helps us not just learn how to make bread; it helps us understandand knowbread. We learn why we generally prefer white bread (it's mostly sugar) and what flavors to look for in artisanal whole grain breads. We also learn why whole grain bread is so much healthier than its more refined counterpart.
Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breadswon't just turn you into a bread snob. While that might be a secondary result, the real benefit is to help anyone bake the kind of bread they should eat and make it taste like the kind of bread they want to eat. Recipes are fully and clearly explained from beginning to end, and every stage in between. Reinhart introduces some new techniques—judging from the results, they'll undoubtedly become standards.
Did you find this review helpful?