Maurizio Leo is the creator of The Perfect Loaf blog, a software engineer-turned baker who brings a systematic approach to his breadmaking and the instruction he provides in this book.
Leo devotes more than a third of the book to an accessible but thorough introduction to breadmaking, explaining principles such as the stages of mixing and bulk fermentation. While this level of detail may seem daunting for those who simply want to roll up their sleeves and bake, it’s very helpful for anyone who wonders, for instance, if they can substitute one type of flour for another, or how to cope with extra-sticky dough.
Leo’s intention is clearly to make bakers self-reliant, giving them the knowledge and judgment they need to tinker with base recipes.
Recipes are accompanied by timelines that help you anticipate when you will need to work and when you can turn your attention elsewhere, helping to demystify the calculations about when a loaf needs to be started in order to be ready for a particular time. And page layouts are well-designed for easy reference by a working baker.
Measurements are by weight and by baker’s formulas, allowing for easy scaling.
The breads themselves range from free-form loaves incorporating varying amounts of whole-grain or non-wheat flours such as oat and rye to flavored loaves, sandwich loaves, English muffins, and doughnuts. Troubleshooting sections abound, as do tips on making use of sourdough discards, a common task for those seriously committed to sourdough.
Rigorous and rewarding for those who want to understand how bread works.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.