52 Loaves : One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and A Perfect Crust

52 Loaves : One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and A Perfect Crust

eBook - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
William Alexander is determined to bake the perfect loaf of bread. He tasted it long ago, in a restaurant, and has been trying to reproduce it ever since. Without success. Now, on the theory that practice makes perfect, he sets out to bake peasant bread every week until he gets it right. He bakes his loaf from scratch. And because Alexander is nothing if not thorough, he really means from scratch: growing, harvesting, winnowing, threshing, and milling his own wheat.

An original 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 all of us respond to the aroma of baking bread.

Publisher: Algonquin Books,, 2011.
ISBN: 9781616200626
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 17, 2012

An obsessive's diary of a year of attempts at baking the 'perfect loaf' of 'peasant bread'. Well written, funny and moving. I can see myself in this book, only now he's done it (grown, harvested, ground and made bread from his own wheat in a hand build wood fired oven) so I don't have to. And yes, there are a few recipes in the back. But it's more about the journey than the bread itself.

ksoles May 20, 2011

It sounds like an engaging premise: the author bakes a loaf of bread each week for a year, learning about the science of fermentation and visiting some of the world's most famous artisan bakeries in the process. However, upon realizing that he bakes the SAME recipe in each of the 52 chapters, the book becomes less interesting.

William Alexander displays his talent when he humourously describes harvesting his own wheat crop and attempting to build a hearth oven in his backyard. Otherwise, though, the book contains a tedious (and sometimes inaccurate) catalogue of the infinite ways to combine water, flour, salt and yeast. If such a memoir can't sustain the attention of a certified bread nerd like myself, there's little hope for it!


Add a Summary

zither Dec 01, 2010

Quest to bake the perfect loaf of artisanal bread takes the author to Morocco, a monastery in Normandy, France, to the pits of despair and the heights of gustatory delight. Humorous and educational with bits of spirituality.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further



Find it at My Library

To Top