Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cookbooks: Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

If you had ever thought your might like to make bread but you didn’t know quite where to start, Tartine Bread (Chronicle Books) will provide that beginning. Luscious, lucid, well illustrated and well conceived, Tartine Bread begins with the basic constructs of bread making, then brings you along from there.
The “Tartine Bread” approach follows a loose set of concepts that we introduce in a single “basic recipe” and then build on throughout the book. As you gain an understanding of how bread “works,” you will be able to make adjustments in timing and technique to achieve a broad range of results.
This very sane approach is carefully photographed throughout Tartine Bread so that fledgling bakers can not only read about bread-making, they can also see the hand-movements that get the job done. And while all of this sounds -- and is -- very effective, none of it comes close to describing the artistic flight that is Tartine Bread.

Slow food enthusiasts will appreciate Robertson’s careful and caring approach. “This is a baking guidebook to get you where you want to go,” Robertson writes at one point. And it is. But it’s so much more, as well.

Author Robertson is considered by many to be the top bread baker in the United States. Photographer Eric Wolfinger not only has a terrific eye, he is a bread-making apprentice at Robertson’s Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Together they have created what I predict will become the bible in this field. If you will only allow yourself a single book about making bread, Tartine Bread should be that one.

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