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Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  323 ratings  ·  25 reviews
When Daniel Leader opened his Catskills bakery, Bread Alone, twenty years ago, he was determined to duplicate the whole-grain and sourdough breads he had learned to make in the bakeries of Paris. The bakery was an instant success, and his first book, Bread Alone, brought Leader's breads to home kitchens. In this, his second book, Leader shares his experiences traveling thr ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 13th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  323 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great breadmaker I will never be, but it is always fun to read a book which combines travel anecdotes with actual bread recipes. Perhaps it should become one of my holiday traditions, since I love to eat bread if not actually to love making it. Focusing mostly on France and Italy, Daniel Leader takes the reader on a journey that really opens the eyes for why certain breads do taste so much better.

I like the layout of the book. Each chapter presents a specific town/province and then discusses t
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are much better bread books out there. This is the first book I bought when I started making sourdough. I loved Leader's stories behind each type of bread and his research. But after many, many trials, my starter and levains never worked well. And the loaves I made were very hit-or-miss. Some turned out ok, good flavor, but not enough rise, and some were complete duds. I then started noticing typos, missing info, etc... and googled reviews of Leader's book, and realized there are serious e ...more
Katelyn Jenkins
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, cookbook
Eh, I liked it.
It is a fine cookbook, for sure, something about the design just disinterested me early on.
There are quick snippets of photos of the foods that lead to pages, in which, you need to go back and find the photo to the picture and ugh, it is kind of a mess.
If you are looking for a bread baking book, or looking for another, let me help you! The Larousse Book of Bread by Eric Kayser and The Hot Bread Kitchen by Waldman Rodriguez are fantasitic for the inquiring master baker ( I have re
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Food porn at its finest, the recipes are above my level of ambition, but I still found a fair amount of useful information in here along with some fun reading. Required for people wanting to bake artisan breads, especially in locations not served by the likes of Acme Bakery, etc.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional book, and a very personal one. Leader talks about his trips to Europe and how he managed to aquire all recipes before he explains how to bake them. Every part (Italy, france, ...) has a nice backstory and the recipes are also expressed in metric units.
I like the storytelling the most, and the recipes I've tried so far have not failed eighter. Most recipes are fairly unique within the book. I wish there were more pictures present, they look amazing!

The only "downside" to the book
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
Wow. This book.

Local Breads is both intimidating and ... accessible. Dan Leader does a beautiful job of giving a bit of history mixed with wonderful detailed explanations and expected outcomes.

I would advise/caution that you read this book slowly and digest the information before moving on. There's a lot of information, none of it extraneous.

I have made the Parisian Daily Bread (Baguette normal) several times and it is wonderful. It's a good place to start on this delicious journey.

Of course, I
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent resource for home breadmakers. While I enjoyed Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" for developing a greater understanding of the science and techniques, "Local Breads" has easier descriptions for me to follow and offers better tips for inexperienced and moderately experienced breadmakers. I am looking forward to making many, mandy breads from this book! ...more
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have been toying with sourdough baking for a little while, and had good success with some recipes off the internet. This book, however, helped me move up to breads with impressively chewy crusts and fluffy tender insides, close to what you'd get from a nice boulangerie in France. The information about techniques and tricks to replicate professional bakery results in a home environment is first-rate. ...more
Elaine Nelson
Mar 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbook, read-again
Recommended by Mathias, after the First Friday bread "contest" in March -- he brought pretzels. (I brought the only other bread: 3 different slow-knead loaves.) Made the pretzels yesterday. OMG good. Don't know if I'll make any other recipes while I have it out from the library; most seem to need quite a bit of attention and a baking stone, neither of which do I have right now. But I want to come back to it one of these days. ...more
Jeannie Graves
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to try baking
I open this book multiple times every week, as I bake bread every other day. Great discussion of how bread is viewed, baked, bought, and treasured in many parts of Europe. I have 2 sourdough starters on my kitchen counter that I feed and water daily. I recommend using a metric scale and cupo for measuring ingredienmts, as the person who did the conversions to the American system screwed up big time. My scale is very inexpensive and dates from 30 years ago but still does the trick.
Dec 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: foodies
Absolutely stunning recipes contained herein. Don't expect to be able to make them in a day (most require at least an overnight fermentation of the dough, if not more), but the results are amazing. I also loved reading all the stories of how he traveled around Europe learning from the artisan bakers and collecting their techniques and recipes. ...more
Aug 22, 2009 rated it liked it
I got this book last year just after Christmas because of getting two copies of Beranbaum's Bread Bible. There are lovely photos and several recipes in the book that I keep meaning to bake and yet I STILL haven't tried any of them!

Hence the 3 star rating. Once I finally bake something, I suspect I'll be adding another star.
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Want a book with great recipes, very clear instructions, a large and informative section at the beginning to explain the ABCs of bread baking and technology, and enough pictures to make your mouth constantly water? Then this is your book. It's been a fantastic resource for this novice. And you'll just want to hang out with Dan Leader and listen to him tell stories all night. ...more
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved the content, the interesting locations Leader traveled to, and the creative recipes. However, the breads were generally hit-or-miss, and I've heard this is typical with his books, that they are published with many mistakes. I would buy this book but check online to see if others have posted corrections. ...more
Sarah Rhodes
If I were going to buy another cookbook, I'd own this one. At the moment I've had it checked out from the library for about two months straight (oh the perils of being a librarian). I loved the clear explanations of types of pre-ferments. An excellent instruction for someone ready to play with sourdoughs, but it would have confused me if I'd picked it up without experience with bread.
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Lots of helpful techniques about bread baking that you can apply to things other than their recipes. Recipes are good for people just starting to bake bread too. I mostly used this to make my starter.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Another great bread book - only second to Maggie Glezer's book. ...more
Ben Lund
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Too many errors and misleading information in how dough should look, smell, feel like, keep this book from being anything more than an anecdotal memoir of where the author made bread.
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing and *smacks yourself on the forehead* work that really makes you re-think what you know about bread baking.
Marjorie Elwood
Sep 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbook
Daniel Leader is a magician with bread. In addition to a wide variety of recipes, he also offers us troubleshooting tips for if your bread doesn't quite turn out the way you were hoping. ...more
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gave-up
Looked like a great book; wasn't up for reading it just now. What I managed to read or skim was written well and the recipes look good. ...more
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: food-and-wine
Decent book but there are quite a few errors.
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
I don't know that I've ever read a book with this many errors in it. They apparently hired an editor who thinks that bread flour is just flour you use to make bread, so a bunch of recipes list all-purpose flour in the ingredients but bread flour in the instructions. Then there are the inaccuracies that reflect Leader's knowledge gaps, such as his description of the magical type 85 flour as having 15% of the bran sifted out, which makes no sense if you know that whole-wheat flour is T150. Type in ...more
Barbara M
Very much a professional bakers kind of book. Some real in-depth instructions on the science of sourdough from many famous (I assume!) bakers in a variety of countries visited by the author.

Leader is quite well known as an expert and he offers expert advice. It can almost be overwhelming but also very informative. I have another book that is a much more simplified version that has become my beginners bible but I see myself coming back to this one at a later date as I get more experience. I have
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and great explanations ! I noted a few recipes for myself.
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Catalina Anastase
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