Sam Fromartz’s book In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey was recently published by Viking and it’s already causing a stir. Mark Bittman tweeted it “bread book of the year.” The Washington Post described it as a "brilliant memoir." Alice Waters and Daniel Leader of Bread Alone have been singing its praises. He travelled through Europe and the US, working next to artisan bakers and perfecting his craft, but in this memoir-cum-travel-cum-baking narrative he weaves in the history of grains, the science of bread making, and the personalities of bakers. Fromartz, who is editor-in-chief of the Food & Environment Reporting Network, sat down to discuss the book with Slow Food USA.
Slow Food USA: As a home baker, you won an award for the best baguette in Washington, DC. It seemed to take enormous attention – ie, you don’t seem like the usual home baker.
Well, as a home baker for more than 15 years, I kind of went off the deep end with this obsession. I went to Paris to work in a boulangerie, mostly because I wasn’t familiar with the many steps it takes to produce a good one. Shaping is probably the most difficult. But it also takes time to learn when dough is properly fermented. Once I put those elements together, I was able to make the award-winning loaf. That said, I don’t think I’m really that different from other committed home bakers out there. Scan the internet, and you’ll see many amazing loaves. Home bakers are really having their day.Read More