I have a confession: I adore Peter Reinhart and his writing. The intersection between faith and breadbaking he writes about in passing has always fascinated me.
In this book, Brother Juniper’s Bread Book, he brings this relationship front and center. That said, it is not just a meditation. It’s also a really great beginner’s bread cookbook.
The entire book is imbued with a writing style that is at once authoritative and tongue-in-cheek. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the passages and reading them aloud to Mr. Bread Maiden. This chapter, titled “On Not Cutting Into Bread Too Soon”, has a pull quote on the opposite page that just says, “don’t cut into bread too soon.” Ha ha!
One of the reasons this book is a good beginner book is that all the recipes call for commercial yeast. He reasons that any reader who works their way through this book is ready for one of his other books that does tackle sourdough.
Speaking of struan, I’m planning on making this when there’s more space in the freezer. It’s killing me not being able to try out all these recipes!
I enjoyed this book and am very glad it’s mine and not a library book. When beginners ask me what bread book they should pick up, I’m going to recommend this one, hands down.