Archive Page - 12/1/12 39 years, 2,079 covers and 53,260 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Source: Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart Break Up – for Now
- Inside Story: Why Denise Richards Is Caring for Charlie's Kids with Brooke Mueller
- 13-Year-Old Cancer Patient (and YouTube Star) Talia Designs a Clothing Line
- The Bachelorette's Desiree: 'There Are Going to Be Tears'
- Is This Week's Best-Dressed Star a Little ... Snoozy?
On Newsstands Now
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Sunday May 19, 2013 12:10AM EDT
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- July 16, 1979
- Vol. 12
- No. 3
Ex-Newsman Bernie Clayton Always Has a Bun in the Oven—and the Dough Takes Care of Itself
Dough has got to feel like a baby's bottom," declares Bernard Clayton as he presses a batch into a soft white oval. That does not mean baby the dough. "Be aggressive," he exhorts a novice breadmaker in his Bloomington, Ind. kitchen. "Beat the hell out of it." To punctuate his point, Clayton smashes the wad onto his butcher block with a loud plop. Then, spreading his long fingers into the flattened mass, he adds in a fatherly voice, "Bread loves to be loved, too. It's got to feel the love of your hands."
Aspiring bakers would do well to follow Clayton's advice. A little more than a decade ago the 62-year-old writer for the Indiana University news bureau could barely brown a piece of toast. Today he is among the upper crust of the baking world. His thorough 1973 primer, The Complete Book of Bread (Simon & Schuster), has sold over 125,000 copies in eight printings. And his recent recipe-filled sequel, The Breads of France (Bobbs-Merrill), has been praised by New York Times food columnist Craig Claiborne as "one of the best books [on the subject] written in English." Clayton's white thumb has even grown so renowned that he has become a bread doctor to distraught bakers. Or at least coroner. Some call him in the middle of the night in hopes of salvaging their drooping loaves. Others mail him the burnt or crumbled remains of their oven fiascoes. "Even if I can't identify the problem," he says, "I try and write something back."
For an Indiana-raised journalist who backpacked across the Sierra Nevadas, rafted through Hell's Canyon and spent World War II as a TIME-LIFE correspondent in the Pacific, Clayton does not sound like someone who would find his thrills in the kitchen. But serendipity has its ways. In 1965, while he and his wife, Marge, were on a gypsy caravan tour across Ireland, Clayton got stuck on bread. Stopping overnight at an inn in the fishing village of Dungarvan, the couple was served a variety of freshly baked loaves. "As I sat there warming myself by the hearth, I realized I had never tasted anything so good as those breads," he recalls. "I had to get the recipes."
One restless night back in Indiana a year later Clayton pulled out the Dungarvan recipes and produced "a cannonball." But the natural-born handyman kept refining his touch, at the same time collecting recipes from neighbors and family (Clayton's mother was a blue-ribbon baker at the Indiana State Fair, and his wife was a baker's daughter). Soon Clayton was winning his own ribbons and had found a new career writing cookbooks.
For his guide to French bread, Clayton combined his new passion for cooking with his old love of travel. Though neither he nor his wife knew much French, they nonchalantly stuck their heads into boulangeries from Brittany to Paris to Alsace seeking bakers' time-tested secrets. Clayton occasionally had to wake up at 3 a.m. to be on time for the next day's croissants. Back home in Bloomington he filled his six testing ovens with the aromas of 7,000 miles of research: cheese brioches from Le Havre, raisin kugelhupfs from Strasbourg, even croissants like those once served aboard the S.S. France.
After a decade of breadmaking Clayton is now enjoying his just desserts: he is preparing a new book on international pastries. "Right now I'm into tarts," he says. Clayton may soon find himself as celebrated as the Pillsbury Doughboy. Indiana U plans a pilot for a TV baking series (a la Julia Child) from his cathedral-ceilinged kitchen. How does he feel about his late-flouring fame? Deadpans Clayton: "You never know how things are going to turn out in the oven."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!