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Bernard Clayton Jr., 1916 - 2011


weinoo
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The eminent cookbook author Bernard Clayton Jr. passed away recently. From the NY Times' obituary,

Bernard Clayton Jr., a newspaper reporter whose love for fresh bread inspired him to master the art of baking and write several classic cookbooks on bread and pastry, died on March 28th in Bloomington, Ind. He was 94.

Clayton's Complete Book of Breads was probably one of the first "bread" books I owned. It's practically encyclopedic. As are his Complete Book of Pastry and Complete Book of Soups and Stews. Well, at least encyclopedic for their respective times.

Maybe not the first books I turn to now for technique, but always good for an inspiration or two.

Do you have any of his books on your shelves?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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His Complete Book of Breads was my first and continues to be my most frequently referenced book on bread baking. Also have his book on the breads of France, an excellent book. Sorry to hear of him leaving us but his place in bread baking will always be remembered.

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The Breads of France was probably the first cookbook I read cover to cover. It's a travelogue, a baking journal, and an endless source of ideas and inspiration. I've been working with it--making notes all over the pages, breaking the spine, taping it together, and having a dialogue with it--for 20 years. I even wrote him a fan letter with a variation I'd come up with on one of his recipes, and got a very nice reply.

I also have his the revised Complete book of breads and Complete book of pastry on my shelves, and though I rarely follow the recipes precisely from the Complete book of breads--I get inspired but usually end up blazing a slightly different trail, being a wholemeal crank and all--I use the base pastry preparations from the Complete book of pastry frequently with little variation.

I still haven't made Normandy Beaten Bread yet. I think it's time for some buttery dough to be pounded in his memory.

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