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Classic Sourdoughs, Revised: A Home Baker's Handbook [Paperback]

Ed Wood , Jean Wood
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 12 2011
Sourdough: The Gold Standard of Bread
 
More and more home bakers are replacing mass-produced breads and commercial yeasts in favor of artisan breads made with wild cultures and natural fermentation. Whether you want to capture your own local yeasts, take advantage of established cultures like San Francisco Sourdough, or simply bake healthier, more natural loaves, you’ll find no better guides than renowned sourdough authorities Ed and Jean Wood.
 
In this updated edition of Classic Sourdoughs, the Woods reveal their newly discovered secret to crafting the perfect loaf: by introducing a unique culture-proofing step and adjusting the temperature of the proofs, home bakers can control the sourness and leavening like never before. The reward? Fresh, hot sourdough emerging from the oven just the way you like it—every time. Starting with their signature Basic Sourdough loaf, the Woods present recipes featuring rustic grains and modern flavors, including Herb Spelt Bread, Prarie Flax Bread, and Malt Beer Bread, along with new no-knead versions of classics like White French Bread. They round out the collection with recipes for homemade baguettes, bagels, English muffins, and cinnamon rolls, plus a chapter on baking authentic sourdoughs in bread machines.
 
Steeped in tradition, nuanced in flavor, and wonderfully ritualized in preparation, sourdough is bread the way it was meant to be. So join the sourdough renaissance and bring these time-honored traditions into your own kitchen.

Frequently Bought Together

Classic Sourdoughs, Revised: A Home Baker's Handbook + The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread + Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day: Fast and Easy Recipes for World-Class Breads
Price For All Three: CDN$ 66.76


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Product Description

Review

Praise for the PREVIOUS edition

“[The] new edition of Wood’s classic global explorations of wild yeast is a big event
in the baking world and a must for sourdough fans.” 
—The Arizona Republic

“Brings the tradition of sourdough cooking into focus. It is easy, interesting reading and doesn’t make sourdough baking seem complicated.” 
—Sharon Maasdam, The Oregonian

About the Author

ED WOOD, MD, PhD, is a physician and research scientist whose quest for ancient sourdough cultures began in Saudi Arabia, where he served as a chairman of pathology at a Riyadh hospital. He returned to the United States with a bevy of sourdough cultures and began blending the art of baking with the rigor of science. He and his wife, JEAN WOOD, founded Sourdoughs International, which ships sourdough cultures from Cascade, Idaho, to seventy-eight countries around the world.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and Hardly Revolutionary! May 12 2013
By Grandma TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
As a long-time (more than a half-century) bread baker and sourdough afficionado, I truly looked forward to Ed Wood's Classic Sourdoughs Revised: A Home Baker's Handbook. I was rather disappointed. Classic Sourdoughs reads like an academic treatise. Beginning home bakers will not find it an easy task to dig out the truly pertinent information that they need to know - much of which simply is not present.

I found the statement "As you embark on your work with sourdoughs" (page 25) extremely off-putting. I don't bake bread for WORK and don't encourage others to either. I bake for enjoyment, to save money, to relieve stress, to be able to serve something that I cannot easily acquire otherwise. "Exploration" would have been a far better choice of word.

As to the "handbook" aspect of Classic Sourdoughs, Ed gives very minimal directions for capturing a wild yeast, includes none of the work-arounds developed by other authorities such as King Arthur Flour, and then mostly gives any possible questions a home baker might have a complete brush off. I would expect a handbook to answer questions like:

"I'm moving. How can I best transport my sourdough?"

"I want to send some sourdough to my sister in California. How can I do that?"

"Can a wild yeast only be captured on a wheat starter?"

Ed Wood answers none of these things. He completely fails to mention the rye starters on which so many of the Central European breads depend and brushes off potato starter, the basis of the classic American Salt Rising Bread. His answer to problems capturing your first wild yeast is to simply dump the starter and try again.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sourdough makes the best bread Feb. 20 2013
By jessica
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This bread with Perter Reinharts "the baker apprentice" are my best inspiration for great bread It is far from being 5 minutes a day but with practice you create yoursef a routine and will bake the best bread ever
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  93 reviews
101 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best sourdough reference hands down July 19 2011
By Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I looked at many other sourdough cookbooks and only found one other that did not list recipes asking for commercial bakers yeast. I wanted real sourdough recipes so selected this book and "Wild Bread: Hand-baked sourdough artisan breads in your own kitchen" by Lisa Rayner. This book has far more recipes than the book by Lisa Rayner. It is nice to have both selections but if I had to select only one, this would be the one I would pick and is the one I recommend to close friends just getting started using sourdough. The recipe selection is fantastic.

The only thing I could see missing from this book was dessert items but those can be found on the web. The chocolate sourdough cake recipe offered by King Arthur Flour Company's web-site is very good as long as you know they are looking for starter with a thick pancake batter consistency.

I was really glad to have a copy of this book after getting my starter. It really helped answer the question of, "Now what do I do with it?" I am very anxious to try the waffle recipes. I can say the pizza dough recipe turned out better than the previous recipes I have tried and the challah recipe makes one huge challah.

I don't see a need for the proofing box Wood recommends, particularly during the warmer months but otherwise I am loving this book. He does not suggest fancy equiptment and the recipes so far have been excellent.

Honestly, a canning jar with starter and a copy of this book would be an excellent gift for those who enjoy baking and those who enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

Update: Jan 2013, still using this book and a Danish dough wisk and the King Arthur flour sourdough starter stored in the King Arthur sourdough crock. I mostly use the no knead recipe as it is so easy with a Danish dough wisk. The wisk was an amazon purchase too.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still my favorite sourdough book! Aug. 7 2011
By Mimmi Deutsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent reference for home bakers who want to understand how to create authentic sourdough breads. It's not complicated and does not require any special equipment. The original edition of this book has long been one of my favorites, and I really like the updated information in the revised edition.

One of the biggest improvements is the simplified directions in the chapter "Putting It All Together". In my opinion this is the heart of the book. In just a few pages it explains very clearly what is happening in your sourdough culture and how to handle it correctly. It made me a better baker, and I am having more fun experimenting with recipes and adapting them to my taste.

Another great addition is the "No-Knead Sourdough" recipe section. I was intrigued by the simplicity of the basic recipe. It worked beautifully for me. And with a slight adjustment to the loaf proof (lower temperature, longer time) I can now easily fit baking fresh sourdough bread into my weekday work schedule. The recipe worked equally well for rye bread.

My favorite recipe section in the book is probably also the most unique - the one on Middle Eastern breads. It's brought to life by the authors' personal experiences from living and traveling in the Middle East. I love making fresh "Khbuz Arabi" (pita bread) when we have guests. They bake in just 5 minutes, the guests love watching them puff up, and they are delicious hot out of the oven. For a perfectly authentic version, and extra food for conversation, you could use the author's "La Giza" culture, collected from an ethnic bakery in Egypt.

At the end of the book is a small section that describes the sourdough cultures collected by the authors and available on their website (Sourdoughs International). It does not come across as a pitch but rather as sharing their passion for the history and variety of sourdough cultures.

I grew up in Germany on excellent rye and whole grain sourdough breads. Many years ago when I moved to the US and experienced serious bread withdrawal, I got Ed Wood's "New Zealand Culture for rye" and have been baking with it ever since. It makes fantastic rustic rye breads, though I tend to omit the extra ingredients (molasses, milk, and butter) listed in the book's rye recipes. Now Ed Wood has a new Polish rye sourdough culture and I am tempted to try it.
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great starter July 27 2011
By William Steck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Had been baking my own bread for a couple of years and wanted to try baking with true sourdoughs. With this book and the Sanfrancisco starter sold on the author's website, was able to activate the starter and bake some wonderful breads. Don't think I'll ever be going back to baking with commercial yeast.

The book was quite readable and contained information that you just won't easily find anywhere else. Wood discusses different grains, gives tips on how to bring your starter back if it goes south, describes different starters, and provides a nice collection of recipes. If you are going to experiment with sourdough, this is a book you'll turn to again and again.

As an aside, the San Francisco sourdough culture makes a great bread, but I'm itching to try the Russian starter that according to Wood works well with whole wheat. Will update this review once I receive that order and turn out a few trial loaves.

Hard pressed to say if this book, or the one by Lisa Rayner is the absolute best one on the market for sourdoughs. They both have their great points. I'd go out on a limb though and say that if I could buy just one, this would be it. Read the book, order a starter. You'll soon be enjoying breads with wonderful crust and a chewy texture that just can't be duplicated with commercial yeast.

Update: One of the big challenges for me is making a palatable whole wheat bread with more than 50% whole wheat. Anything more than that and it's likely you will get a heavy, flat, dense bread. My San Francisco sourdough had that limitation as well. Last week I tried a Russian sourdough culture. Made two loaves that were 100% whole wheat. The loaves rose well and were not dense. For me that's a big milestone. Now I want to go from a completely whole wheat bread to incorporating the ancient grains such as Einkorn, Emmer, and Spelt. Should be even better for me, nutrition wise. (Emmer and Spelt IIRC have higher amounts of proteins, phosphorous, and etc.)
48 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and Hardly Revolutionary! Aug. 9 2011
By Grandma - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a long-time (more than a half-century) bread baker and sourdough afficionado, I truly looked forward to Ed Wood's Classic Sourdoughs Revised: A Home Baker's Handbook. I was rather disappointed. Classic Sourdoughs reads like an academic treatise. Beginning home bakers will not find it an easy task to dig out the truly pertinent information that they need to know - much of which simply is not present.

I found the statement "As you embark on your work with sourdoughs" (page 25) extremely off-putting. I don't bake bread for WORK and don't encourage others to either. I bake for enjoyment, to save money, to relieve stress, to be able to serve something that I cannot easily acquire otherwise. "Exploration" would have been a far better choice of word.

As to the "handbook" aspect of Classic Sourdoughs, Ed gives very minimal directions for capturing a wild yeast, includes none of the work-arounds developed by other authorities such as King Arthur Flour, and then mostly gives any possible questions a home baker might have a complete brush off. I would expect a handbook to answer questions like:

"I'm moving. How can I best transport my sourdough?"

"I want to send some sourdough to my sister in California. How can I do that?"

"Can a wild yeast only be captured on a wheat starter?"

Ed Wood answers none of these things. He completely fails to mention the rye starters on which so many of the Central European breads depend and brushes off potato starter, the basis of the classic American Salt Rising Bread. His answer to problems capturing your first wild yeast is to simply dump the starter and try again.

In contradiction to a number of other authorities and sources, Wood is adamant that no baker's yeast should ever be added to either a sourdough starter or a sourdough bread. Otherwise, according to Wood, it cannot be considered a "true" sourdough. Unfortunately, he is not such a stickler for tradition when it comes to the recipes that he offers. Let me speak to two in particular, Wood's recipe for Challah on page 57 and his recipe for Bagels on page 116, both of which contain milk.

Both Challah and Bagels are traditional Jewish breads and as such, authentic recipes reflect Jewish dietary law, which prohibits the consumption of milk and meat at the same meal. (Many Orthodox will not eat milk on the same day that they eat meat.) Challah, in particular, is the bread of the Sabbath, the bread over which the household matriarch will say prayers on Friday evening. It is intended to be served at the Sabbath dinner, which in less well-to-do households might be the main meat meal of the week. As such, Challah should NEVER contain milk or butter. Similarly, Bagels, even Egg Bagels, do not ever contain milk. Wood's inclusion of milk in these two recipes, contrary to every Challah or Bagel recipe I have ever run across anywhere, leads me to question the reliability and authenticity of a number of other recipes he includes for more unusual products.

The addition of milk to these two recipes is not my only concern. I bake, thanks to Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread and George Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker, some of the very best bagels to be had on the planet. (Either of these books includes directions and recipes for several sourdough starters, particularly Secrets of a Jewish Baker.) Even though I am an experienced bread baker, bagels took me several attempts using a variety of recipes from several sources. It is, in fact, only in the last several years that I have succeeded in making bagels. In the end, it all came down to the directions. Ed Wood's are simply entirely inadequate. If you want to learn to bake bagels, see The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Once you know how to bake bagels and want to expand your repertoire, turn to Secrets of a Jewish Baker. Similarly, Challah is a gorgeous braided loaf, but braiding is intricate. You'll need at the very least a good illustration or two and some patience. Wood's two-sentence braiding directions simply are not adequate to the job.

Finally, Wood has, for some reason I don't quite fathom, changed the traditional home-baking terminology of "proofing the yeast", "first rise" and "second rise" to "Culture Proof", "Dough Proof" and "Loaf Proof." As this terminology is unique to Wood, this seems to me to be unnecessarily complicating the subject rather than adding clarity to the basic ideas that underline all bread baking. What exactly it is he includes that represents a "revolutionary new method" I'm afraid escapes me.

Summary: This isn't an expensive book, so if you're just looking for more sourdough recipes you may find this interesting, though I would encourage you to use the Look Inside feature before you buy. If you are specifically looking for a book that will teach you to make sourdough breads, then look elsewhere.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good recipes Jan. 16 2012
By JM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after a year after starting baking sourdoughs with a starter i bought off their website. I'm very happy with the recipes but was hoping on more general information and techniques. Most of the information in the book is included with any of the sourdough cultures you can buy from the authors website.
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