While I value this book as a reference, I find I most often turn to it for the short essays Jeffrey has scattered throughout its pages. I quoted from one of them last week, and I'll steal a few lines again today to whet your appetite, from an essay entitled "The Baker's Hands."
"It's true that the machines of today can with certainty guarantee a consistency of output, and breads can be produced of predictable food quality. On the other hand, the baker who relies on his hands will surely have mishaps, and at times his efforts might yield only a 75 percent level of quality. But at other times he will coax loaves of incredible beauty and taste, and score a 95 percent! He lives for this, and the memory of these surpassing loaves lingers. He strives for perfection, for the perfect loaf, secretly hoping never to attain it-- for where would he go from there?"
This passage, and the one along with the one from my last post, sum up much of what I love about making baking. The consciousness of effort. The immediate and tangible results. The reward of a good day's hard work. And greatest of all, being presented with a chance to do better every morning. What a wonderful thing to be reminded of each new day.