This past Friday, I was in downtown Mountain View at Books, Inc. and as usual when I’d go to a bookstore nowadays, I immediately went to the cooking section to see if there were any bread baking books that I haven’t read or heard of yet.
Sure enough, I ran across “Naturallly Fermented Bread” by Paul Barker. I almost dismissed it, thinking that it was just another book on sourdough. But I since I had never heard of the book before, I decided to pull it off the shelf. I was immediately intrigued because on the cover wasn’t a picture of a sourdough culture or loaf of bread, but a watercolor of fermenting fruits and vegetables!
For those that don’t know me, I love fermenting hot peppers and other veggies and fruit, so when I saw the cover, I knew I had to take a closer look. Plus having recently created starters from grapes and – ahem – cannabis, I immediately thought that this was right up my alley! But what further intrigued me was the tag line:
When I made my wild yeast starters from grapes and pot, it was a suspension of the ingredient within a flour-water dough. But that tag line suggested that the actual fermentation liquid is used. That was a real face-palm moment for me! And I thought to myself, Of course! I’ve always used fermentation liquid from a previous fermentation to kickstart a new fermentation, so it makes sense to use it for freakin’ bread!
So what about the book? The real meat of the book where Paul Barker talks about how it all works is actually only a few pages. The rest of the book talks about breadmaking techniques that while useful, have been covered in lots of other books. That’s about the first third of the book. The rest of the book contains his recipes and how to use a botantical culture in conjuction with the yeast water to leaven dough.
The book’s not long at all, but it’s great and I highly recommend it. It’s in hardcover, but also available in digital format. Personally, I’m a bit old-school when it comes to cookbooks, so I just bought the hardcover.