"I bake because it connects my soul to my hands, and my heart to my mouth."—Martin Philip
A brilliant, moving meditation on craft and love, and an intimate portrait of baking and our communion with food—complete with seventy-five original recipes and illustrated with dozens of photographs and original hand-drawn illustrations—from the head bread baker of King Arthur Flour.
Yearning for creative connection, Martin Philip traded his finance career in New York City for an entry-level baker position at King Arthur Flour in rural Vermont. A true Renaissance man, the opera singer, banjo player, and passionate amateur baker worked his way up, eventually becoming head bread baker. But Philip is not just a talented craftsman; he is a bread shaman. Being a baker isn’t just mastering the chemistry of flour, salt, water, and yeast; it is being an alchemist—perfecting the transformation of simple ingredients into an elegant expression of the soul.
Breaking Bread is an intimate tour of Philip’s kitchen, mind, and heart. Through seventy-five original recipes and life stories told with incandescent prose, he shares not only the secrets to creating loaves of unparalleled beauty and flavor but the secrets to a good life. From the butter biscuits, pecan pie, and whiskey bread pudding of his childhood in the Ozarks to French baguettes and focaccias, bagels and muffins, cinnamon buns and ginger scones, Breaking Bread is a guide to wholeheartedly embracing the staff of life.
Philip gently guides novice bakers and offers recipes and techniques for the most advanced levels. He also includes a substantial technical section covering the bread-making process, tools, and ingredients. As he illuminates an artisan’s odyssey and a life lived passionately, he reveals how the act of baking offers spiritual connection to our pasts, our families, our culture and communities, and, ultimately, ourselves. Exquisite, sensuous, and delectable, Breaking Bread inspires us to take risks, make bolder choices, live more fully, and bake bread and break it with those we love.
“From bagels and biscuits, brioche and baguettes (as well as pies and pancakes) these recipes from master baker Martin Philip, accompanied by his inspiring story, makes me want to pack up everything and follow in his footsteps. For those of us who can’t do that (yet!), baking our way through Breaking Bread is the next best thing.” — David Lebovitz, author of L’Appart and My Paris Kitchen
“I have immense respect for Martin Philip who left his life of certainty and corporate work in the city for the countryside of Vermont to apprentice at King Arthur Flour. Breaking Bread is an exceptional story of how the perfect amount of dedication and craftsmanship yields a delicious journey and a thoughtful return to one’s roots. Martin worked his way up to become the company’s lead baker, proving that everyone can start from scratch and succeed.” —Mario Batali, chef, author, philanthropist
“I met Martin Philip years ago, when—at my son’s voice lesson—he handed me a steaming, fragrant loaf of bread to take home. Years later, when I was doing research for a novel and needed to learn about making bread, I turned to him for a private tutorial. But in addition to being an excellent baker, Martin is also an excellent writer. Breaking Bread is truly a feast —a history of bread itself, cleverly hidden within the story of a man who fell in love with baking. With verbal descriptions that burst on the tongue and recipes that your hands itch to try, this beautiful book is food for the soul.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things
“Martin Philip’s work in Breaking Bread is tactile and honest. This is a thinking man’s perspective on the art and the philosophy of why we bake. It’s in his blood and now he’s sharing it with the world. The recipes are sound; the storytelling - evocative; the pictures - illustrative, beautiful. You’ll be inspired to knead some dough, crank up your oven, and get some flour on your hands. Breaking Bread is a reason to bake again.” —Steven Satterfield, James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast 2017, author of Root to Leaf
“Martin appears in Breaking Bread just as he does to his good friends: consummate baker, a stickler at times as he demands too much of himself the way so many artists do, but just like his recipes, wonderfully generous and understanding to his colleagues and students.” —James MacGuire, chef and instructor, translator of Le Goût du Pain