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Which ONE Bread Cookbook to have


Aloha Steve
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I'm interested in Artisan bread making.........if that means not just plain: white, rye, wheat or French. I like those AS WELL and want to know how to make them but Artisan to me means; mostly no pan, crusty with ingredients like cereal, fruits, cheeses.

I've made my 2nd 'from scratch bread this morning in as many days, a free form raisin-walnut. It was too wet when I formed it before the 2nd rise, I knew there was a problem. Not sure if reforming into a log right before putting into the oven would have helped. It cooked very spready and was not a 'loaf' but something else The good news is, I used the best ingredients I could find, like French butter and boutique honey, adjusted the cooking time and it is a triple. I'm inspired to cook bread.

Sticking with Baseball, I'd like to hit Home-runs (who doesn't).

I am a beginning cook, baker, having NEVER had a stand mixer or food processor in any of my own kitchen's, and my parent's kitchen never having these either or even hand ones. You know that old Jewish joke "How does a Jewish mother/wife make dinner?"

BY PHONE: RESERVATIONS & DELIVERIES....I think you get the idea.

Kneading = no problem got a good stand mixer, food processing = no problem got the latest processor, waiting = problem got no patience

The first bread, the directions called for overnight, I did it and like everything else about cooking, I am trying to learn it.

All of the above to ask: (as of OCT 2009)

WHAT ONE BREAD COOKBOOK MUST I HAVE ????

I'm confused cause there seems to be so many good sounding titles ! Anyway here is what I see as some choices. PLEASE feel free to make suggestions and comments.

The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread

My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

Artisan Baking

The Bread Bible by RLB

Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day (not even released yet OH VEY)

Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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For you, as you gave the description of your bread interests, I would start with the Bread Baker's Apprentice. Good general introduction to artisan breads, key recipes with lots of suggestions for variations, and all in all an excellent tutorial for breakmaking.

I highly recommend getting books from your local library, reading through their introductory materials, making a recipe or two, and finding out which author speaks best to your level of skill & interests, before you buy a bunch of them. But BBA you can buy now with confidence.

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A couple of years ago I decided I needed to get serious about breadmaking. BBA was the book I got and it was perfect -- a complete, easy-to-follow tutorial in advanced breadmaking at home. As Wholemeal Crank said, you can buy it now with confidence.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Steve, I know it's hard for cooks to be patient, but even more than flour, patience is the number one ingredient in yeast baking. Bakers are sexy that way. :rolleyes:

I own many of the books mentioned by others, but I prefer Rose Levy Berenbaum's "Bread Bible" to all of them. Serious yeast science and a wide, wide variety of breads, artisan and otherwise.

You'll probably have to get it used, but I'm fond of "Beard on Bread." Have fun!

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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There are some very good books mentioned so far in this thread and I do own most of them. However, for me, Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice was an excellent introduction to bread theory, if you will. After reading and absorbing the excellent information that Mr. Reinhart has in that book, it changed the way I read every subsequent bread book after that. I agree that other books and authors may dwell more deeply on specific points (such as yeast or specific enzymatic actions of bacteria on flour), but BBA serves as an excellent jumping off point.

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There are some very good books mentioned so far in this thread and I do own most of them. However, for me, Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice was an excellent introduction to bread theory, if you will. After reading and absorbing the excellent information that Mr. Reinhart has in that book, it changed the way I read every subsequent bread book after that. I agree that other books and authors may dwell more deeply on specific points (such as yeast or specific enzymatic actions of bacteria on flour), but BBA serves as an excellent jumping off point.

I'd echo that.

The first third of the book, the theory/explanation stuff, the hows and whys, is excellent.

However, there is much about the recipe section that disappoints

- the primary use of cup measures (with imperial weights in brackets). Reinhart included metric weights in his next book. The association between Bakers Percent and Metric measures HELPS to simplify, and aids the understanding. (Ruhlman almost got a book out of it!) Its an important trick missed by Reinhart.

- bizarrely the recipes are arranged in alphabetical name order. Tidy but unhelpful. MUCH better for the novice would be to group them thematically. Whether by bread style, technique, difficulty... anything. Presenting them in a tidy but unhelpful order actually makes them an exercise in randomness.

An excellent beginners book (that shouldn't give rise to misapprehensions) is Bertinet's 'Dough'. Unfortunately, the metric weights (only) in the original have been replaced with US Imperial measures in the americaniZed edition. I don't know what other changes may have been made.

Hamelman's 'Bread' is excellent, but I don't think its ideal as a first book.

I think Dan Lepard's 'Art of Handmade Bread' (The Handmade Loaf in its original UK incarnation) is where you should be heading. There is a mind-expanding diversity of bread there. But like Hamelman, aspire to it, don't start with it.

I'd suggest -

-- first buy a digital scale. Budget $20. Look for a metric capability being there. Natch it should have a 'tare' or add-and-weigh facility. An 11 lb range (5000 grams) is fine. Going in 1 gram steps is good, 2 gram steps OK, 5 gram steps is so last century.

-- get Reinhart's BBA from the library. Read the first third very carefully.

-- buy Bertinet's Dough, and play for a while.

-- when you want more, get Lepard. Put Hamelman on your gift list.

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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There really is no one perfect bread book. The best thing for a new baker is to get at least one that feels friendly to you, and gain some confidence, then read a bunch of books and realize just how flexible and adaptable bread is.

For a serious kitchen novice, I like to recommend Brother Juniper's Bread Book, because it celebrates the bread in such a welcoming way. And Beard on Bread made kneading seem fun rather than intimidating. For someone who has made some bread, but may have had some disappointments when their loaves came out a bit mishapen, Flatbreads and Flavors demonstrates the wide variety of breads that can be delicious even if they don't rise to perfect domes--and it's still probably my one bread book for that apocryphal desert island, because it includes stuff no one else does, and a lot of what i bake and eat regularly--biased towards single-serving breads that freeze well--still comes out of it.

I discuss bread books I have known at more length here on my food pages (no ads, just opinions).

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As noted by others, there are many fine books on baking, some for the novice, many more for the more experienced (or adventuresome) baker.

To absolute novice bakers, I recommend Beth Hensberger's "Bread Made Easy" http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Made-Easy-Bakers-First/dp/1580081126/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254674247&sr=8-4 published in 2004 and later that year another book she authored, "The Bread Bible" are excellent for beginners.

I have all of Peter Reinhart's books, purchased over the years as they were published, as well as many others. I started out as a professional baker in the mid-'50s but changed professions and have mostly baked for pleasure for the past forty years.

Until the publication of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, I considered Crust and Crumb the best for fairly experienced bread bakers.

The advice to look for library books or used books - often they are fairly cheap - is very good advice.

You might also consider subscribing (free) to the Bread-Bakers digest: http://www.bread-bakers.com/mailing_list.html

I have been on the list for many years and there is a tremendous wealth of information and people who more than happy to answer specific questions in detail.

Many are professionals (Peter Reinhart is a member and other members have tested the recipes in several of his books for him) or very experienced hobby bakers.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Steve, I know it's hard for cooks to be patient, but even more than flour, patience is the number one ingredient in yeast baking. Bakers are sexy that way. :rolleyes:

Well, in the sexy department I need as much help as I need in cooking, therefore I will learn patience :wub: LOL

In a few minutes, I am on the way to the bookstore. I have text myself a list of 7 books to try to find and peruse.

Probably the library tomorrow to borrow BBA to read the first 1/3.

I am confident with all your comments and recommendations that I can get one or two and start making good bread.

I am very grateful to have such a pool of wisdom born of experience to draw from. MANY THANKS.

And Steven (FG) thanks for starting the whole kit and caboodle in the first place.

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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Have you checked Rainbow Books & Records?

One of my friends lives on the Big Island but makes periodic trips to visit this store and also Bookends, which often has a good selection of used cookbooks.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I will also recommend Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice and Hammelman's Bread. From there, you might want to check out Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. It will open your eyes to new possibilities in bread through variety grains.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Have you checked Rainbow Books & Records?

One of my friends lives on the Big Island but makes periodic trips to visit this store and also Bookends, which often has a good selection of used cookbooks.

Thank you Andie, I will call both on Monday. I will pass Bookends in Kailua driving my son home tomorrow night. Hopefully, I will be stopping in to pick up a book(s) !

I subscribed to Bread-Bakers too :smile:

Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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I'd just get the BBA (or any other book by Reinhart). I'd suggest to - for now - stay away from no knead and 5 min books, if you're really serious about learning how to make breads. I see them more as a thing to get into once you made some great loafs, but are in a hurry for some reason. they ARE all good books, but if you start out with a 5 min book, anything else will seem like a mountain to climb while there seems to be a perfectly fine and well lit tunnel going through it.

Baking bread is fun, and I don't bake anything else (except x-mas cookies) as I don't have a sweet tooth.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Made a decision, well several:

First one was: could not just get one book. I was going bonkers :blink: trying to limit my selection to one

I've bought four, two used, two new. Will get to the library to borrow BBA tomorrow and read it while I am waiting for the four to arrive.

I've also decided to buy one of Peter Reinhart's books. I will evaluate the BBA of course when I borrow it, and will wait till I can review his new one

"Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day" which comes out on Oct 27. I almost bought a used Brother Juniper .......but decided to wait. I want his recipes as much as anything else.

BTW, on Amazon, there are two instructional videos on the page which has the listing for his new book HERE

(I hope I did this correctly for supporting eGullet, I clicked the link in the 10 ways to support for Amazon and then searched for the book)

Here are the titles I bought:

Beard On Bread

The Book of Bread - Judith Jones (Bought like new for $4.00, though no one here has mentioned it)

The Bread Bible - Rose Levy Beranbaum

Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads

Thank to all and hope the discussion continues to help any and all, as it helps me.

Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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...

I've also decided to buy one of Peter Reinhart's books. I will evaluate the BBA of course when I borrow it, and will wait till I can review his new one

"Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day" which comes out on Oct 27. I almost bought a used Brother Juniper .......but decided to wait. I want his recipes as much as anything else.

BTW, on Amazon, there are two instructional videos on the page which has the listing for his new book HERE

...

The important thing to understand about Reinhart's books is that, as a series, they document his growing understanding of bread. With commendable honesty, he documents this at the start of Whole Grain Breads.

Thus BBA incorporates things that he had learned from others since his writing of previous works, including Crust & Crumb.

The videos indicate that he has now learned of doing stretch & fold on an oiled, rather than (as in BBA) a floured, surface. (See for example page 19 of Lepard's Handmade Loaf).

There is little point in weighing out accurate quantities of flour and water (yes, do weigh the water for accuracy), only to have the proportions upset by a variable amount of flour pickup during kneading (or stretching & folding). Maybe he now needs to consider water pickup! I prefer to use a bowl with a couple of spoonfuls of oil to grease my hands and tools.

The matter of required, but quantitatively undefined, pickup of extra flour during kneading is something I find particularly frustrating about his recipes/formulas in his Whole Grain Breads book - which does introduce a genuinely novel technique (his own 'epoxy' method).

Two further points regarding the videos. It would be better to minimise the time that the oven door is open, cooling the oven. (It also affects how much steamy humidity immediately escapes.) This matters much, much more with a home oven than a commercial-sized one. And BTW, a touch of flour (or better, semolina) under the parchment helps it slide more easily! I'd also suggest removing the water tray after about 1/3 of the bake time. Even if the tray has boiled dry, briefly opening the oven helps to reduce the humidity for the last part of the bake. (On a commercial oven, Hamelman wants the vents to be opened at that point.)

Reinhart usefully gathers together, and makes accessible, many scattered pieces of wisdom. However, exactly like the rest of us, he's still learning!

I'll certainly be taking a look at his new book when it appears over here.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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sorry I asked a question which I did not think thru, so I erased.

Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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BTW Dougal, in your very helpful earlier post you mentioned buying a kitchen scale with certain specs.

I bought this one a couple of months ago and it has all you mention.

It is priced very well and the reason for that is its lightweight. When I opened it I though Oh Sh... got to find a way to return. But I have been using it and it seems to work just fine for home use. Got 416 reviews and 5 stars.......so Steve its worth being open minded.

Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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Aloha Steve--Do not miss the Oatmeal Bread from "Beard on Breads". It's not the crunchy artisan type, but is delicious.

My favorite bread book is for old fashioned bread (pub. 1966), as those crunchy breads hurt my mouth. It is call "A World of Breads" and is by Dolores Casello, who also wrote "A World of Baking" and another bread book. My favorites from the first book include some wonderful recipes like Jewish Braids, a brioche like dough I use for sandwiches, Swedish Limpa Rye,

Vienna Christmas Fruit Bread (eggy, with baking powder), and my favorite Stollen. There are many recipes for sweet breads, international favorites and unusual treats like Italian Pepper Batter bread. If you ever see a copy, snatch it up. Note: the recipes are not long on directions.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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...

I've also decided to buy one of Peter Reinhart's books. I will evaluate the BBA of course when I borrow it, and will wait till I can review his new one

"Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day" which comes out on Oct 27. I almost bought a used Brother Juniper .......but decided to wait. I want his recipes as much as anything else.

BTW, on Amazon, there are two instructional videos on the page which has the listing for his new book HERE

...

The important thing to understand about Reinhart's books is that, as a series, they document his growing understanding of bread. With commendable honesty, he documents this at the start of Whole Grain Breads.

Thus BBA incorporates things that he had learned from others since his writing of previous works, including Crust & Crumb.

The videos indicate that he has now learned of doing stretch & fold on an oiled, rather than (as in BBA) a floured, surface. (See for example page 19 of Lepard's Handmade Loaf).

There is little point in weighing out accurate quantities of flour and water (yes, do weigh the water for accuracy), only to have the proportions upset by a variable amount of flour pickup during kneading (or stretching & folding). Maybe he now needs to consider water pickup!

***** I prefer to use a bowl with a couple of spoonfuls of oil to grease my hands and tools. ******

The matter of required, but quantitatively undefined, pickup of extra flour during kneading is something I find particularly frustrating about his recipes/formulas in his Whole Grain Breads book - which does introduce a genuinely novel technique (his own 'epoxy' method).

Two further points regarding the videos. It would be better to minimise the time that the oven door is open, cooling the oven. (It also affects how much steamy humidity immediately escapes.) This matters much, much more with a home oven than a commercial-sized one. And BTW, a touch of flour (or better, semolina) under the parchment helps it slide more easily! I'd also suggest removing the water tray after about 1/3 of the bake time. Even if the tray has boiled dry, briefly opening the oven helps to reduce the humidity for the last part of the bake. (On a commercial oven, Hamelman wants the vents to be opened at that point.)

Reinhart usefully gathers together, and makes accessible, many scattered pieces of wisdom. However, exactly like the rest of us, he's still learning!

I'll certainly be taking a look at his new book when it appears over here.

The pickup of extra flour when working the dough upsetting the %s makes sense. What oil or oils do you use ? I'm going to do it this way too.

Hey dougal, want to just fly to Hawaii and train me for a couple of weeks ? :cool:

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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Baroness, it's the Oatmeal Bread with Cooked Oatmeal from Beard on Bread. Add the liquid slowly so the congealed oatmeal does not fly all over your kitchen. Beard liked it with sweet butter, but it's salted butter for me every time.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Baroness, it's the Oatmeal Bread with Cooked Oatmeal from Beard on Bread. Add the liquid slowly so the congealed oatmeal does not fly all over your kitchen. Beard liked it with sweet butter, but it's salted butter for me every time.

Got my Beard Book yesterday, Oatmeal Bread being made later today. If it comes out 1/2 decent (don't bet on it unless you don't need your $$) I will post pictures :>)

Thanks Ruth !

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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