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Peek Inside ‘Modernist Bread,’ a Five-Volume Meditation on Bread

Nathan Myhrvold’s newest release comes out this fall

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This fall, scientist, chef, and author Nathan Myhrvold, baker Francisco Migoya, and the team behind culinary incubator Modernist Cuisine release the much-anticipated Modernist Bread, a miniature library of five volumes of study, meditation, and recipes for bread. This is the group’s first multi-volume release since 2011’s groundbreaking Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

Modernist Bread: The Art and Science was originally to be published this past spring, but now arrives in November. Composed of 2,642 pages and more than 1,200 recipes, the book represents four years of study and testing.

Here’s a first look at the book’s lengthy table of contents:

Volume 1 details bread’s history from ancient times to the future; the science and physics of bread, and how its consumption affects human health. Volume 2 deals with bread basics and its building blocks, from grains to leavening. Volume 3 gets into technique and baking; Volumes 4 and 5 include a variety of recipes from starters and basic loaves to enriched breads and bread machine breads. A sixth book in the set is a spiral-bound recipe manual meant for kitchen use (so you don’t get the five bound books messy with flour or dough).

Myhrvold worked closely with Migoya — an ex-pastry chef at the French Laundry and culinary instructor at the Culinary Institute of America — to look into the history of every aspect of yeasted doughs. Though European techniques are discussed at length, the book also details recipes for injera, dosa, naan, and bao.

Here’s a first look inside the book, below. As was to be expected, using photographs and graphic design, the authors break each topic into easily digestible visual spreads, much like a textbook.

Modernist Cuisine/Official

Techniques such as bread scoring are explained and demonstrated in successions of photographs.

After Modernist Cuisine, Myhrvold and his team put out Modernist Cuisine at Home in 2012 and the Photography of Modernist Cuisine in 2013. Modernist Bread: The Art and Science, the group’s fourth publication, is available for pre-order now. Its listed retail price is $625 but it’s been marked down to $562 on Amazon. Here, below, is what the covers look like.

Exclusive: 'Modernist Bread' Is Six Volumes of Extreme Bread Geekery [E]