Last autumn about this time, I took a class about creating sourdough starters. During the break, we were welcomed to snack on some freshly made sourdough bread with cheeses and chutneys. Strewn not-in-the-least-bit-strategically around the serving (dining room) table were all of Peter Reinhart's books. We were all distracted from the sourdough (not an easy task) in our excitement over the recipes and photographs in the books. The couple teaching the class apparently felt that no one else in the bread world compared; we were to be shown only the best.
In that class, several very dedicated bread bakers seemed rather annoyed when they asked the instructors very specifically detailed questions about how to add whole grains to their bread but still achieve the crumb and lift of an all white sourdough... and didn't receive the answers they were looking for (remember, this was a basic-skills sourdough starter class).
Well, the fanatics will be thrilled with the new Reinhart book. It is dedicated to baking with whole grains, sprouted wheats, and even has a few gluten free recipes.
He even includes a few simple recipes like pancakes, quick breads, and biscuits to introduce the baker to the benefits and taste of sprouted flours; recipes for which one doesn't need to have a starter or mother dough.
But never fear... the traditional Reinhart is here, with dozens of pages of set up material, answering any question that anyone could ever conceive of about the process, and teaching the detailed and careful process of starting and nourishing a starter.
I haven't yet made anything from this book. I always feel like this kind of baking is equal to dedicating oneself to a life-long craft. I, perhaps, shouldn't look at it that way, as many bakers would prefer that potential bakers not be intimidated or overwhelmed by the process in front of them, but in the world of bakers like Peter Reinhart, his intention is clearly to establish a solid foundation for baking bread; one which may take time, dedication, and potentially years of experimentation and knowledge to understand the craft well enough to create incredible loafs.