To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
This is a wonderful book, beautifully illustrated and written. The breakdown of philosophy and stories makes for a compelling read. Complex recipes are broken down into clear, precise steps. So far, the recipes have worked flawlessly. I got the book for my mom and me to play over the holidays with, and it was wonderful for that.
My one quibble with the book is the extremely random organization--this particularly affects the bread recipes. Early on, the book gives wonderful instructions to make a sourdough-like starter, and even gives some instructions for using your own starter (if you already have one) in the margin. It leads you to a basic bread recipe, from which you reserve 1 cup of starter ("put-away-farm") to store for the next batch of bread. There are several recipes that use this "put-away-farm", but they're scattered through the book (I ended up marking them with post-its), and NONE of them uses 1 c of "put-away-farm"--they're all very inconsistent about how much they use of this starter. This means that you really need to plan ahead at least 2 days, because you're going to have to make a batch of the Farm Bread (a VERY good bread), and reserve the starter you need for the next recipe, and then after you bake your 2nd batch you're going to have a TON of bread in the house (which would be great for making friends and thanking the neighbors). This isn't really a problem for an experienced bread baker who has read through the book and the instructions thoroughly. It is going to be frustrating and intimidating for someone less experienced with either bread and/or starters and sourdough. It's also going to be very time-intensive--the breads require babysitting pretty much all day. Not a problem when you're home for the holidays or on vacation, or you work in a bakery and it's just all part of the daily workflow. Impossible on a busy weekend when you've also got a lot of running around to do. That's fine, and completely worth it, but it does need planning and awareness.
I'm the type of person who reads cookbooks cover to cover like a novel. This one did not disappoint as there were stories from the history on Zingerman's all through the book (including narratives for each recipe). The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because there weren't enough pictures. I love pictures for every recipe. Just a personal preference.