Volume 1 – History and Fundamentals

Volume 1 of Modernist Bread lays out the foundation for what’s to come, starting with the History of Bread in chapter 1. The chapter begins thousands of years before the world’s earliest farmers harvested their first cultivated wheat, then explores bread and wheat in the ancient world, continuing through feudal times, the industrial age, and on to the 20th-century artisanal bread movement—and then all the way through our vision for bread’s future.

Chapter 2 looks at Microbiology and discuss not only the major role that fermentation plays in bread and other foods but also how mold can affect bread. Chapter 3 examines Bread and Health, including the controversy over gluten and the very real issue of celiac disease. In addition, this chapter explores the facts and the hype around whole grains and comes to some conclusions that may surprise you.

The role of heat transfer is just as important in baking as it was in Modernist Cuisine, so chapter 4 is dedicated to Heat and Energy and the roles they play in the bread-baking process. Water is the second most plentiful ingredient in bread next to flour and is the most significant factor in determining the final characteristics of your loaf, so we devote chapter 5 to a discussion of The Physics of Food and Water because it is important to understand how water behaves.