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About 52 Loaves...
"What Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance did for, well, motorcycles, William Alexander's 52 LOAVES will do for bread."
—Peter Reinhart, America's leading bread instructor and author
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 baking bread.

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.


Read an excerpt
See the Table of Contents

Bread News

See my cover story on making artisan bread at home in Saveur magazine

 An excerpt from 52 Loaves is featured in Best Food Writing 2010

52 Loaves makes NPR's top 15 summer books list!

The Boston Globe raves, "Alexander's breathless, witty memoir is a joy to read. It's equal parts fact and fun ... Alexander is wildly entertaining on the page"

Click to read the full review


Hear my interview with Liane Hansen on NPR's Weekend Edition