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Bread Books for the Home Baker

Bread Cookbook

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#91 Stone

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 04:29 PM

Complete beginner. I tried once, years ago. Decent results I had the Bread Alone book, but that is long gone.

Any suggestions?

#92 srhcb

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 04:41 PM

The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cook Book is the one I started with.

It's a good blend of basic info, theory and recipes. No glossy photos though. (For that get Baking With Julia)

Check out the King Arthur Catalog for ingredients and equipment too.

SB (DOES NOT work for KAF)(but would like to :wink: )

#93 weinoo

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 04:53 PM

One of my first was the Il Fornaio Baking Book. Pretty simple recipes which are great to get you started.

The King Arthur Baker's Companion is a good, all-around book.

Then you can move into the Bread Baker's Apprentice, Crust and Crumb, La Brea Bakery, etc.
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#94 duckduck

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 06:25 PM

In the beginning of this thread by Seth there is a list of threads on the subject.
I've had some good success with No Need to Knead by Suzanne Dunaway and the Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart as well as Bread for Breakfast by Beth Hensperger. No Need to Knead is the most simple but I think the BBA by Peter Reinhart is a good starter book too because it has so many photos and detailed instructions.
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#95 glennbech

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 03:39 AM

I would like to recommend

- The handmade loaf (revolutionized by home baking), and inspired me by providing a lot of interesting recipe's from around the world.

- The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. This book has a good introduction to "cereal chemistry", techniques for handling wet doughs etc. It also has some very good recipes for pizzza, foccacie, ciabata etc, using both natural leaven (sourdough) and yeast.

#96 djyee100

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 04:57 PM

I've tried a slew of breadbaking books, and I'm not enthused about any of them. Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice has a ton of information, mostly oriented to professional bakers, but I've had inconsistent results with the recipes. Suzanne Dunaway's No Need To Knead is easy but limited in the type of bread you can do well with this technique.

I learned how to bake bread well by taking hands-on classes. You can see and feel what the texture of the dough should be like, and feel more comfortable about baking with yeast. Also, if you practice bread at home, you can ask the instructor about any problems you may have had. Just a suggestion.

Edited by djyee100, 10 March 2007 - 05:00 PM.

#97 khilde

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 04:14 AM

I have SEVERAL bread books, and hands-down my favorite, and in my opinion the most informative, is "Bread" by Jeffrey Hammelman.


#98 Emily_R

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 12:42 PM

Hi Stone --

My favorite bread book by far is Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand, by Beatrice Ojakangas. Fabulous recipes, provided in three sizes each, so you can do a small, medium, or large loaf... Includes some information on using a poolish / biga type thing, but is not exclusively focused on "artisinal" breads, which I like because often I just want to make a delicious whole grain sandwich loaf. Each recipe includes instructions for baking in a bread machine, as well as mixing the dough by hand, kitchenaid mixer, or food processor. Not one of her recipes has ever failed me, and I'd say I've made probably 12-15 different recipes out of the book.

Highly highly recommend it.

#99 Blether

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 05:48 PM

The standard I remember from the UK is Elizabeth David's "English Bread and Yeast Cookery". Only you can tell if it'd suit you, but it's certainly worth including in your options.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

#100 markabauman

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 04:47 AM

Has anyone seen, read, used any recipes from Father Giuseppe Orsini's "Italian Baking Secrets"? I've just started reading the book, but haven't made anything from it- was curious about other's opinions, experiences.
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#101 fooey

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 09:37 PM

Hate the Silverton book, mostly for the overly complicated sourdough instructions.

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Love the Silverton book! Love, love, love!, and especially for the precise sourdough instructions.

I tried Peter Reinhart's sourdoughs, both Crust & Crumb version and Bread Baker's Apprentice, neither worked. Tried Dan Lepard's (Semolina), didn't work. Tried Silverton's, worked like a charm. Yeah, took a long time, but the starter works and is very resilient. She's in my refrigerator now, making alcohol! :) [Hamelman's rye sourdough also worked for me.]

Silverton is not for the beginner, not at all; but, if you have some years into it, you simply must have it. The Olive bread I make time and again. It's my favorite bread. The Fig Anise is a hard one, but it's delicious even when it fails. I just slice thin and call it fig biscotti. :D

One [important] thing is she uses Clavel's mix, wait 20 minutes, mix. That means a very strong dough after 20 minutes. That means...bye bye Kitchenaid mixer! Careful or you'll do like I did and destroy your mixer in no time.

The Olive bread is worth a few mixers, though! Trust me.

I notice she makes it in a food processor. I should try that.

It's the 5th video here:

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#102 fooey

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 09:54 PM

Peter Reinhart's books, any or all.

However I would start with Crust and Crumb.

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I started with Crust & Crumb and agree, very good starting point. 7 years on and I still go back to it.

Reinhart books are weak on shaping, but then what bread book isn't. I've given up on learning bread shaping from a book and just go to YouTube instead.
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#103 djyee100

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 02:57 PM

I'm reviving this thread because someone asked me about breadbaking books.

I would recommend Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice for his explication of breadbaking theory. I always refer to Reinhart's book whenever I have a question about breadbaking, or when I'm troubleshooting. I've had problems with some of his recipes, though. Sometimes Reinhart's technique can be a little idiosyncratic. I suggest reading a range of bread books, not only Reinhart's, for exposure to different methods.

In my early days of breadbaking, I liked Judith Jones' The Book of Bread. Jones was the book editor who discovered Julia Child, and she wrote this book with her husband. A well put-together book, with clear instructions and reliable recipes. Now out-of-print, but available thru used book sites like http://www.abebooks.com/

For bread recipes, I especially like anything of Deborah Madison's. Madison is the vegetarian cooking guru, so one might not think of her immediately when it comes to breadbaking. But she was instrumental in setting up the famous, now defunct Tassajara Bakery in SF. Her bread recipes, or any of her baking recipes, in the Greens cookbook or Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, are rock-solid, delicious, and worth making. Her Country French Bread in Greens is still one of my favorite sourdough breads.

Edited by djyee100, 23 February 2009 - 03:35 PM.

#104 Aloha Steve

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 03:47 PM

sorry i edited all out and decided to start to new topic since I am asking for
ONE bread cookbook for the novice cook and baker

Edited by Aloha Steve, 02 October 2009 - 03:53 PM.

[size="1"] edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)[/size]

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#105 Katie Meadow

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:15 AM

Wow, no new posts since 2009? Last year my daughter and I got Baking with Julia for my husband. It was a success. He's a pretty good baker, but has limited technique, and still makes some basic loaves he learned from the Tassajara Bread Book way back when, but he's starting to branch out. He makes a lot of bread for sandwiches, and it has to be toastable. Mostly we don't eat sweet breads.

We own exactly two other bread books, besides the crumbling Tassajara and the Julia book: Glezer's Artisan Baking and an ancient copy of Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery, which I have rarely seen him look at.

I want to get him another bread book, since he seems inclined to leaf through options when contemplating what to bake next. I'm thinking Reinhart's Crust and Crumb or Carol Field's Italian Baker. What are some ideas for more recent publications that you bread bakers have liked?

#106 tikidoc

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:31 AM

I've had good luck with the recipes from Ciril Hitz's books, Baking Artisan Bread: 10 Expert Formulas for Baking Better Bread at Home and Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads: Sweet and Savory Baking for Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond. He also has some helpful videos on youtube about shaping and slashing loaves.

#107 Marlene

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:55 PM

I Like all of Reinhart's books, but my favourite is Artisan breads everyday, then Bread Baker's Apprentice and then Crust and Crumb.

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.
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#108 djyee100

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 02:12 PM


I would suggest The Cheese Board: Collective Works if you and your husband like that bakery or its progeny, Arizmendi. There are recipes for all the bakery's goods--their breads, muffins, scones, pizza. Nothing complicated in any of the recipes I've tried, all solid recipes, and tasty.

Does your husband do no-knead bread? You could look at Jim Lahey's My Bread, based on his NYT no-knead method.

Has your husband read Peter Reinhart's Brother Juniper's Bread Book? It's a delightful read. It also has the recipes for the original Brother Juniper's Bakery breads, if you remember those. Not really a cookbook, though.

#109 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 02:23 PM

I really like Breads, which is part of The Good Cook series from Time Life. Excellent for beginning bread bakers, lots of really good and consistent recipes, and some faboo ideas for bread modifications. Also great for explaining the why and whatfor of the basic ingredients without getting too technical. My copy appears to have been published in 1981; I have no idea whether it's still in print.

Aha, it appears that it is.
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#110 Cyberider

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:42 AM

Bernard Clayton Jr.'s "The Complete Book of Breads." Great selection of recipes. Each one with directions by hand, mixer, or processor. Nothing fancy or special required. Been using it for decades with great success. Even with twenty or thirty other bread books, this remains my number one go-to book for bread.

#111 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:37 PM

Back in the last century I decided that if I was going to eat bread at home it was going to be my own bread. I have stuck to it. (And it has stuck to me.) If I could keep only one bread book, if I could keep only one cookbook, it would be Raymond Calvel's.

Does anyone know if Professor Calvel is still alive?

#112 rickster

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:50 PM

Back in the last century I decided that if I was going to eat bread at home it was going to be my own bread. I have stuck to it. (And it has stuck to me.) If I could keep only one bread book, if I could keep only one cookbook, it would be Raymond Calvel's.

Does anyone know if Professor Calvel is still alive?

Wikipedia says he died in 2005.

#113 KensethFan

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:23 PM

"Flour Water Salt Yeast" by Ken Forkish
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#114 ericparkr

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 09:46 PM

The Bread Baker's Apprentice- Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart

#115 Bill Klapp

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 10:55 PM

The polarization above surprises me a little, too. To be sure, great bread can sometimes rise to art, and to learn to bake even a basic loaf requires the acquisition of new skills by those who have never done it before. That said, bread is a role player, not the star, and can easily become the subject of fetishism among passionate foodies. South Jersey hoagie rolls and New Orleans French bread hardly qualify as great bread (the famous New York Times quick bread recipe yields something far more sophisticated and interesting), but the hoagie and the po boy would not be worth eating without them. That is what I mean by bread as a role player, a pleasure-giving part of every fine meal, but never the meal itself. BAKING, on the other hand, seems to me something far broader and a true art form, with bread baking merely a rich and rewarding subset. I have most of the books mentioned above, used to greater or lesser extent, and I can understand why purists might favor some of the more involved and esoteric books over those of Reinhart. However, while I love good bread more than any other foodstuff, bread only gets so good, and unless your only friends are the greatest bread bakers on earth, Reinhart will not disappoint. You can quibble with his techniques, but rarely with his results. As an aside, his sticky buns and cinnamon rolls are as good as can be made by anybody...
Bill Klapp


#116 ericparkr

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:42 PM

The Taste of Bread by Raymond Calvel.

#117 janeer

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 08:30 PM

my favorite would have to be a tie between Bread Baker's Apprentice and Van Over's Best Bread Ever. But if I had to have one only, it would be Van Over's book.

Why? Because his food processor technique produces bread that is quicker to make, tastier, with a longer shelf life.

Weak point of Van Over's book is relatively little about wild yeast breads. But it's such a fantastic technique that he teaches, that it is well worth finding this out-of-print used and snapping it up (I have two copies.)

BBA is such a close runner-up and is the superior book in many ways...it just lacks the food processor method as the centerpiece. So it involves 10 or 12 minutes of kneading which is eliminated with the food processor technique.

That's why my response would be to buy both!

I have just ordered this based on this post and it arrived today. I have nearly every book mentioned in this thread. I do like Rinehart a lot; Hensperger; Tassajara (I go way back), and other oldies but goodies, Secrets of a Jewish Bakers, and various others for specific things. This appealed because one of my favorite pastry books, Helen Fletcher's New Pastry Cook, is also focused on the food processor. Thought I'd see what this has to offer. Thanks.

#118 dhardy123

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:31 PM

It looks like "Van Over's Best Bread Ever" is coming out to an e-book sometime in 2013...

#119 ElsieD

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 12:29 PM

I'm thinking of putting a couple of bread books on my Christmas "wish list". In reading this and other threads and forums, two names popped up frequently. They would be Ken Forkish and Dan Lepard. Are their books the ones to included? Are there others? I currently have the Bread Bakers Apprentice and Artisan Breads Every Day both by Peter Rheinhart and Jim Lahey's My Bread. I am just a home baker and have recently been making sourdough bread. So, I am not a novice but I'm far from being an expert. Any suggestions?

#120 Anna N

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 06:05 PM

I am glad I found Ken Forkish. I love his bread and the ease with which it can be made. But the book is extremely repetitive and one wonders if it could not have been condensed into a pamphlet. However for those people who don't like to flip back and forth I suppose it makes sense to repeat everything word for word for each recipe changing only the formula and the ingredients.

I don't know that you will do better than the Bread Baker's Apprentice in terms of theory or as I recall in the variety of recipes.

I am seriously looking at Della Fattoria Bread by Kathleen Weber. Her bakery supplied the French Laundry for many years but since I have not yet used it I cannot recommend it.

If you can look at any books in the library you might land on the one that particularly appeals to you what you are trying to do.
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