A Bread Library Review: Peter Reinhart’s Bread Revolution

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I’ve started working on an exciting project.  It’s still super tenuous, but I went to the library to pick up some resources that might point me in the right direction.  One of those was Peter Reinhart’s latest book, Bread Revolution.

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It’s really a beautiful book, just like Whole Grain Breads is.

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There are lots of similarities with Whole Grain Breads.

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For one, he begins both books with an exhaustive account of the science behind the bread.

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What makes this book different is that he explores sprouted grain breads.  Sprouted grains are where you take wheat kernels and soak them in water, allowing them to sprout slightly before grinding them up and either using the pulp or drying them and milling them into a sprouted grain flour.

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As with Whole Grain Breads, Reinhart takes his sprouted grain technique to the limit- testing it out with heavy, dense breads and ones that you think could never work, like sprouted grain croissants.DSC02945

As I perused the recipes, it became clear that they are very work-intensive and time-intensive.  Before you can even begin any of these recipes, you have to make a sourdough starter and either buy or make your own sprouted grain flour.  This process involves finding whole wheat kernels, soaking them, sprouting them, drying them (with a dehydrator!), and milling them to create a flour. This process could involve a week of work before you even have the raw ingredients to tackle one of his recipes.

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I did find one recipe that didn’t require sprouted grain FLOUR.  This is similar to sprouted grain recipes he included in Whole Grain Breads.DSC02948DSC02949

I do appreciate Reinhart always looking to take bread to the limit.  Where the book really shines is in his final chapter, which explores making starters from odd ingredients like grape skins, fresh apple juice and pulp, parmesan cheese (!!!) and ground coffee beans.

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This book is great for a bread “tinkerer” and a fascinating read even if you don’t make the recipes.  What keeps me coming back to Reinhart’s books is that he never assumes he knows everything there is to know about breadmaking.  He is constantly exploring new ideas and ingredients and sharing them with the world.  He has an army of testers to make sure his recipes do what he says they will do.  Also, he always gives credit where it is due- people are doing some amazing things with bread, and he builds on their efforts by sharing them in a way that is very clear and engaging.

While this book won’t necessarily be helpful for me in my current project, I think it was worth looking at. And down the line I think I’ll attempt his multigrain sprouted wheat pulp bread.

Thanks for reading!

 

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