Seemed simple enough.
All I was going to do was bake a little bread, every week for a year until
I'd baked the bread of my dreams — a yeasty, rustic peasant loaf with an airy, netted interior
and a crisp but chewy crust. I'd tasted it once years ago, and been astounded at how good bread, made from
just four ingredients (flour, water, yeast, and salt), could be.
Before the year was out, though, this simple quest had turned into an odyssey through dangerous back alleys in Morocco,
into the subterranean kitchen of the Hotel Ritz in Paris, where I was surrounded by 500 French snipers, and
reached its unlikely culmination in an ancient monastery in Normandy, where I
was the abbey's last great hope for restoring a lost 1300-year-old tradition of
My take on the six-thousand-year-old staple of life, 52 Loaves explores the nature of obsession, the meditative quality of ritual, the futility of trying to re-create something perfect, our deep connection to the earth, and the mysterious instinct that makes every person on the planet, no matter their culture or society, respond to the aroma of baking bread.
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