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This is an irresistible account of bread, bread baking, and one home baker’s journey to master his craft. Several years ago, journalist Samuel Fromartz was offered the assignment of a lifetime: to travel to France to work in a boulangerie. So began his quest to hone not just his homemade baguette—which later beat out professional bakeries to win the “Best Baguette of D.C.”—but his knowledge of bread, from seed to table.
For the next four years, Fromartz traveled across the United States and Europe—perfecting his sourdough in California, his whole grain rye in Berlin, and his country wheat in the South of France. Along the way, he met historians, millers, farmers, wheat geneticists, sourdough biochemists, and everyone in between, learning about the history of bread-making, the science of fermentation, and more. The result is an informative yet personal account of bread and bread-baking, complete with detailed recipes, essential tips, and beautiful photographs.
In Search of the Perfect Loaf won the Literary Food Writing award from IACP, and was shortlisted for the Art of Eating book prize.
Fromartz — who is still a journalist —watched the sourdough movement blossom over the past few years and then explode during the pandemic, renewing interest in his unique book. You can see his breads, many using Janie’s Mill flours, on Instagram @fromartz.
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I bought this book some years ago and am pleased that Janie’s Mill is selling it. Fromartz’ bread baking journey is one that should be read widely, in my opinion. From his attempts at baguettes to his search for knowledge about the revival of heritage grains (something of interest to all of us here, I dare say), his chronicles are engaging, thought-provoking, and encouraging. His statement, that as a bread baker you’ll produce *a lot* of bad loaves but that you should just keep going, is something I’ve taken to heart. This is definitely worth the read!
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