Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from Ancient to Modern Bakers

Agate Publishing. Sept. 2021. 280p. ISBN 9781572843011. $29. COOKING
True to this book’s subtitle, it’s a history of bread but not a guide to baking it, sourdough or otherwise. It does present about a half dozen bread recipes to cap off the chapters, but many are historical in nature and would be impossible to reproduce in a modern kitchen with modern supplies; the sarcastic tone of one recipe makes clear that it’s not meant to be functional. Pallant, an environmental scientist and amateur baker, devotes much of the book to his personal interest in sourdough. The casual reference style, with occasional illustrations and maps and lots of personal stories, belies the scholarly history sources it cites, so it’s best for readers seeking a basic overview of human progress as it relates to bread, focused almost solely on the histories of white Europeans and Americans.
VERDICT It’s more a history and personal memoir (with notable Christian themes) than it is a cookbook, but its brief length may recommend it to patrons. Only purchase where there is interest.
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