By Lionel Vatinet
Little, Brown & Company, $35.00, 295 pages
Lionel Vatinet, owner of La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC, has written a stunning book for any bread lover. Even if you do not love bread, you just might after strolling through this book with the beautiful, colorful photos and straightforward directions. Vatinet is a classically trained French baker that clearly has an all-consuming passion for bread. In his introduction, he shares how important bread is to him and immediately gives the recipe for his five-pound La Farm Bread loaf. The book then covers detailed chapters on ingredients and equipment. Vatinet suggests a seven-step process for making bread. The process includes: measuring and preparing ingredients, mixing and kneading, first fermentation, dividing, shaping, final fermentation and finally baking. With each of the steps come quick tips and step-by-step photos. The book then offers recipes for classic French breads, classic Italian breads, sourdough breads, whole-grain breads and a chapter on other dishes served in his bakery such as soup and sandwiches. Each recipe is clearly numbered with the seven-step process. Ingredients are offered in ounces, grams and cups. Many of his recipes create a base of other uses such as the ciabatta recipe also is used for focaccia.
“Where does passion come from? Beginning in my early teens, I discovered a passion for bread making-a passion that continued to deepen through the years that I’ve worked at the bread oven.”
A Passion For Bread will inspire the home baker to attempt to bake more complicated versions of breads found in the traditional bakery. Although baking bread is an involved process, Vatinet has simplified the method to make an exquisite loaf of bread. If nothing else, the reader will have a much better understanding of what it takes to produce all those wonderful loaves in their neighborhood bakery.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff