Modernist Bread aims to change the way we think about baking

Modernist BreadDr. Nathan Myhrvold is known as one of the world’s foremost authorities on modernist cooking. The former Microsoft chief technology officer studied cooking under renowned chef Anne Willan at the Ecole De La Varenne. He has con­tributed orig­i­nal research on cook­ing sous vide to online culi­nary forums, and his sous vide tech­niques have been cov­ered in magazines and on television.

Myhrvold’s epic Modernist Cuisine is the most comprehensive cookbook on modernist cooking – and arguably the most technical cookbook ever written. The related Modernist Cuisine at Home  brought techniques like sous vide to the home cook. Until now, the focus of these techniques has been on cooking only, but that all changes this month. Myhrvold has teamed up with noted pastry chef, CIA instructor, and veteran cookbook author Francisco J. Migoya for Modernist Bread, aimed at revolutionizing the way we look at baking. 

Tejal Rao, writing for NYTtakes us under the hood of the new five-volume set. In the article, we learn that the new book is massive, containing over 2,000 pages, and includes hundreds of with step-by-step images. Like its predecessor, the massive book doesn’t come cheap: the list price is $625 USD. As you might expect, this cookbook gets into the weeds on the science behind baking, with “textbook-style tangents on flour and fermentation” accompanying the recipes and techniques. 

The goal of the cookbook isn’t just to provide us with recipes to make tasty bread. Instead, its aim is to make cooks evaluate everything they think they know about bread, innovate, and advance the craft of baking. “You do things one way, until you learn there’s a completely different way that’s even better,”  says co-author Migoya. “And there’s always a better way.” 

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