Judith Ryan Hendricks was born in San Jose,
California, when the Santa Clara Valley was better known for its orchards than for computer chips. Armed with a degree in journalism, she worked as a journalist, copywriter,
computer instructor, travel agent, waitress and baker before turning to fiction
writing. Her experiences at the McGraw Street Bakery in Seattle became her first novel, Bread Alone.
A life-long infatuation with the Southwest was the inspiration for Isabels Daughter, and her third novel, The Bakers Apprentice, is a sequel to Bread Alone. Her fourth book, The Laws of Harmony, was published in February, 2009; Hendricks fiction has been translated into 11 languages and distributed in more than 15 countries worldwide. She and her husband Geoff now live in New Mexico.
Judith Ryan Hendricks's website
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A Conversation with Judith Ryan Hendricks
How did you learn to bake bread?
Even though I worked in a bakery, I never made bread there. I learned to make bread by reading and experimenting, beginning in the '70s. When I first graduated from college, I lived in New Orleans for a few years and I got very into cooking -- mostly gourmet, very complicated, almost ritualistic recipes. Baguettes were the bread of choice then. When I moved to Texas, I simultaneously discovered the women's movement, which was trying to get women away from being kitchen slaves, and the trend towards whole/natural foods. I began baking the kind of bread that Wyn describes when she talks about "throwing every grain they could find into the mix." It was healthy bread, but some of those loaves were regular little bricks. On a trip to France I discovered what I now think of as "real" bread in all its glory. I came back and started trying to recreate it. I just kept reading and experimenting -- and of course, books on bread kept getting better as bakers rediscovered the old ways to make artisan bread.
Where did you get the title for your book, and why?
One of my favorite bread books is Bread Alone, by Daniel Leader and Judith ...
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