Bread baking books

Fromartz, S. (2014). In search of the perfect loaf: A home baker’s odyssey. Discursive chapters on bread, French bread, sourdough, artisanal flour, landraces, rye baking, et al. Includes recipes, including his pain de campagne recipe, which I have been trying for a week or two now.

Scherber, A., Dupree, T. K., & Amy’s Bread (Bakery). (2010). Amy’s bread: Artisan-style breads, sandwiches, pizzas, and more from New York City’s favorite bakery. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. Recipes for bread that use standard U.S. ingredients, Amy also offers videos of her kneading technique. Capsule bios of bakery workers.

Risgaard, H. (2012). Home baked: Nordic recipes and techniques for organic bread and pastry. Nice pictures, hard to find some ingredients. Some of the recipes seem a little sketched out, particularly her basic sourdough recipe.

Forkish, K. (2012). Flour water salt yeast: The fundamentals of artisan bread and pizza. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. Ken Forkish repeats himself a lot in this book, but I like his techniques. Baking inside the dutch oven (inside the regular oven) is a good tip for retaining steam; he also explains how to do baker’s percentages correctly.

Hamelman, J. (2012). Bread: A baker’s book of techniques and formulas. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. Jeffrey Hamelman worked for King Arthur Flour. This is an encyclopedic book that offers step-by-step instructions to making many different types of baked goods. All recipes are in metric, English, bulk and volume, so it’s easy to adapt them to the size of loaves you want to bake.

Jack Vance, ‘To Live Forever’

The protagonist: a serial murderer. The antagonist: a woman seeking to solve the mystery of her own death. Jack Vance through these hoary clichés gives life to a far-future society, where death is the last taboo and immortality is the prize awarded to one of every two thousand citizens. For the other 1,999, the high black car of the Assassins will come at a specified hour to take them away.

 Early in the book, Gavin Waylock, the protagonist, who has been hiding out for the seven years required to prove the death of his earlier identity as one of the immortal Amaranth caste, resolves to climb the slope of society and win again a place in Amaranth. He did it once as a journalist; he can do it again in another discipline.

His efforts to find a place in society are continually foiled by The Jacynth Martin, the woman who sees through his new guise and identifies him as The Grayven Warlock, the notorious Amaranth-caste murderer. Gavin’s original crime and his murder of The Jacynth are only temporary, however: each victim has a spare body ready and therefore suffers only a temporary loss of consciousness.

This could all be safely left on the shelf, unread, as thrills-and-spills literature, except for Vance’s creativity and wry humor in his characterization and exposition. His description of a pantomime performance is breathtakingly beautiful, even as the mime herself is revealed to be a self-indulgent brat, and the concept of the congealed-water sculpture (and the sententious spaceman sculptor character responsible) is the kind of impossible-in-real-life artifact that only literature can supply.