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"Can you please post the recipe? I don't have the book..."

Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:01 pm
by Paul
"Can you please post the recipe? I don't have the book..."

Over on my personal blog, I've often received requests for recipes of the breads I've made from books I own (Hamelman, Reinhart, etc.) which I don't generally post (unless the author themselves have put it online).

Although it would be pretty nifty if we were to post every recipe we'll be doing on this forum as we bake through Dan's entire book, and have everyone baking along without the book, this will actually not be the case.

You may think we're just being mean - you can get a lot of recipes online, after all, why not these ones? Or that the point is for us to make the few pennies commission we may see through our Amazon links. Neither positions are actually on the mark. Allow me to explain...

First, yes, we do have links to the book on Amazon and urge you to pick up your copy through them. We'll end up making, literally, just a few pennies per copy so if 30 people end up buying their book that way, we might make $15 or $20 commission (which wouldn't get us to the minimum needed before they'll even pay out). Not exactly screaming income. So sales commission is clearly not the reason we want you to buy the book and choose to not print the recipes here.

We're not being mean and trying to thwart your baking adventure. On the contrary, we want as many people joining in as possible. We wouldn't be doing a group bake if we didn't want to do a group bake, right?

So why won't you post the recipes here, then?

The reason we don't post recipes on the site, whether the Handmade Loaf recipes on this forum or the Hamelman Bread recipes on the other side is because we respect these authors enough that we don't want to put their entire book online for free when they've put so much effort into writing and getting the book published. If we hold Lepard, Hamelman or Reinhart (and whichever future author we may follow) in high esteem enough we want to bake all their recipes, it should follow we also don't want to be making their book writing efforts pointless by posting their entire recipe collections on the web for free.

Some may put forth that posting recipes from books helps sell that book and I'd agree that exposing a sample of a baker/author's work to thousands of baking enthusiasts is probably a good publicity move. However, when we're baking the ENTIRE collection from a given book, this is no longer even close to "a sampler".

Above that, there's a lot more to these books than just the recipes per se. Much valuable information is available in the pages before, between and after the recipes that would be unavailable if the recipes were posted. Reading just a list of ingredients and a concentrated version of the process is going to be a lot less beneficial to bakers, whether budding or old hand, that is readily available in the book itself.

Besides, if you check the "Getting a Copy of The Handmade Loaf" thread in this section, you'll see that this is NOT an exorbitantly expensive book to pick up. The extra info you'll get from the stuff outside of the recipes themselves make the price of the book pretty amazing. I paid $14.45 CND for my copy and with 77 recipes in it, that works out to just 18ยข per recipe and all the other superb info I then get for 'free'. That's a pretty spiffy deal.

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But probably simplest of all, it's also the fact that the book's author, Dan Lepard (through his business partner David), has specifically - and kindly - asked us to please not do so. With that, we're back to respecting the author whose book we feel merits our attention and devotion enough to bake for months on end and graciously agreeing to follow his wishes.

If people would like to get lots of free recipes from Dan I'll gladly point you to his regular (and online) column How to Bake in the UK newspaper The Guardian and his personal website with forum blog and articles, DanLepard.com. So as you can see, Dan is quite wiling to share his expertise for free in other venues. It's just not good form to cut into his income on this book simply for quick access to the recipes he put some sweat equity into researching, working out and photographing.

This viewpoint will not please everyone and I can respect that some people disagree with the policy. That's good: we always need to consider alternative views. That's what makes things change and improve.

For this group bake, however, everyone who joins is asked to honour this simple request: Please don't post the recipes from the book online. Point your visitors to the book on Amazon (or use this handy link to our page: http://bit.ly/yumHML) and most everyone will benefit in one way or another.

Happy baking!