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Bread books for beginners recommendations.


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Hi all. I hope you are well. I am just into baking bread due to lockdown and need help. Ideally I would like modernist bread but the wife is not quite agreeing to that yet. So I would like some where to start for now until she comes around to the idea. After she has tasted all my amazing breads I make. 

 

I would like this to be in metric rather than imperial.

 

Thank you 

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I am a rabid fan of no knead. Headed to kitchen now to mix up a batch. I enjoy kneading but for low input and good output I'd try it. Books are fine but hands on is best in my opinion. I have been a baker with yeast since my teens so it felt "cheating" but I got over it . Oh regarding hydration - the best info I can give is to look at images of how the dough base should look and be flexible. Ack - I am NOT a recipe writer

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread

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A good one for starters is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. From there, I like Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Bread Bible.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Much depends on what your goals are. Commercial yeast or sourdough / levain / natural starter / howyoucallthat? Are you going to look for your "perfect" loaf then repeat it? Or do you prefer to be creative and go for the weird stuff?

 

The best book to start is "Bread" by Jeffrey Hamelman. It gives you a great overview on the basics and most of the techniques. With bread is better to reason in baker's percentages, the transformation in metric is immediate, but reasoning in baker's percentages is much more useful.

If you want to go sourdough and be creative, then I suggest "The Sourdough School" by Vanessa Kimbell, it's overlooked but really well done, both about explanations and recipes.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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4 hours ago, heidih said:

I am a rabid fan of no knead. Headed to kitchen now to mix up a batch. I enjoy kneading but for low input and good output I'd try it. Books are fine but hands on is best in my opinion. I have been a baker with yeast since my teens so it felt "cheating" but I got over it . Oh regarding hydration - the best info I can give is to look at images of how the dough base should look and be flexible. Ack - I am NOT a recipe writer

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread

 

Hi. Firstly, thank you for replying to my thread. Secondly. Thanks for your recommendation of no Knead bread. I have not checked you link yet but I have tried to Jim Lahey one 3 times now. I get stuck as it is always a bit sticky in the middle. It does taste and look the part though!

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3 hours ago, kayb said:

A good one for starters is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. From there, I like Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Bread Bible.

 

Hello. Thank you so much for your reply and recommendations. I shall look into these books at the weekend. Yay.

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4 minutes ago, teonzo said:

Much depends on what your goals are. Commercial yeast or sourdough / levain / natural starter / howyoucallthat? Are you going to look for your "perfect" loaf then repeat it? Or do you prefer to be creative and go for the weird stuff?

 

The best book to start is "Bread" by Jeffrey Hamelman. It gives you a great overview on the basics and most of the techniques. With bread is better to reason in baker's percentages, the transformation in metric is immediate, but reasoning in baker's percentages is much more useful.

If you want to go sourdough and be creative, then I suggest "The Sourdough School" by Vanessa Kimbell, it's overlooked but really well done, both about explanations and recipes.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Hi there.

 

Thanks for your reply. 

 

In my household we do eat a lot of bread. Mainly a white loaf bought in a packet from the shop for £1/$1. Full of additives etc. Occasionally, we will buy a nice artisan sourdough loaf to have with soup etc. 

 

I want to have a good white loaf for a nice sandwich and toast which I stick with. From there, I want to be creative. Find a nice whole wheat flour, rye etc and add healthy seeds to fet a nice healthy nutritious loaf. Definitely keen for baguettes as we spend a couple of weeks in Paris and we queue up for the fresh baguettes for breakfast every morning. 

 

Thanks for the recommendations. 

 

 

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Well then rustic is not your wheelhouse but maybe more sandwich and sliceable so I'd peruse the existing bread topic  There are sandwich lovers there.

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4 minutes ago, TdeV said:

Hello @Mutleyracers and welcome! I'm a bread fancier but have used a bread machine for years and years, so am unlikely to be too helpful. :(

Do you know about https://scotlandthebread.org/?

Hello. Thanks for your reply. 

 

Hehe, bread machines are still going hey. Never seen scotlandthebread before so shall have a wee gander! Thank-you 

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46 minutes ago, Mutleyracers said:

Has anyone read Bread Science by Emily Buehler by any chance?

 

Gave a look, been disappointed, left it there.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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Just now, teonzo said:

 

Gave a look, been disappointed, left it there.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

 

Thanks for letting me know. Just seen Ken Forkish's Water, Salt Yeast it £2.99 kindle addition. Worth a look for that price.

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11 minutes ago, Mutleyracers said:

 

 

Thanks for letting me know. Just seen Ken Forkish's Water, Salt Yeast it £2.99 kindle addition. Worth a look for that price.

 

That would be my top recommendation, in part because of the videos that he made to accompany the book.  I've found them very helpful.  Measurements are in both grams and cups/spoons.  

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Just now, blue_dolphin said:

 

That would be my top recommendation, in part because of the videos that he made to accompany the book.  I've found them very helpful.  Measurements are in both grams and cups/spoons.  

Thanks for the reassurance 

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If you want a sandwich loaf, the best one I've found is America's Test Kitchen's White Sandwich Bread. Link here.

 

You might also want to look into getting a Pullman pan (one with a lid that slides on) for those great, perfectly shaped slices. Seems like the crumb is somehow softer, too. I think the pullman loaf recipe I use is the one from King Arthur Flour. Their site has great recipes, too. I think their Harvest Grains Bread may be my very favorite.

 

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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4 hours ago, kayb said:

If you want a sandwich loaf, the best one I've found is America's Test Kitchen's White Sandwich Bread. Link here.

 

You might also want to look into getting a Pullman pan (one with a lid that slides on) for those great, perfectly shaped slices. Seems like the crumb is somehow softer, too. I think the pullman loaf recipe I use is the one from King Arthur Flour. Their site has great recipes, too. I think their Harvest Grains Bread may be my very favorite.

 

 

Hi. Thank you tsking the time to post and give a link to ATK loaf. Will give it a look.

I am indeed going to purchase some baking equipment. The pull man tin is one of them. Does anyone else use the quart containers that Ken Forkish uses to see if the dough had risen enough? Seems like a good idea to me.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Mutleyracers said:

Thanks for letting me know. Just seen Ken Forkish's Water, Salt Yeast it £2.99 kindle addition. Worth a look for that price.

 

That's another good one. There are many quality books out there, the last 10 years were pretty good for this. Another couple of names besides the ones made by the other eGulleters: Chad Robertson (Tartine Bread, Tartine Book 3), Peter Reinhart (depends on what you want to learn). It's hard to choose one over the others, all are high quality. The choice depends mainly on what they deal with. Usually people suggest Hamelman because he covers almost everything, so if you start with that you get the best foundations. After that it depends on what you want to explore.

 

Personal question: did you end up marrying Penelope Pitstop?

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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I can't recommend tartine anymore due to their rabid anti-unionization behaviours in recent months. My favourite bread book for learning more about different kinds of bread remains Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Definitely responsible for a jump in my bread baking years ago.

 

 

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Whatever book you go with, I will pipe in to say that there are three things that made a huge difference for me in learning how to make simple, consistent, good bread (I make no-knead bread with water, flour, yeast, and salt).  The first was learning to use baker's percentages.  The second was moving to a slow rise (overnight, typically 10-12 hours).  The third was using a meat thermometer to check the doneness of my loaf.  I guarantee you that there are more accurate and scientific ways to approach bread making, and I am always learning new tricks and details, but these three will help you to develop a bread that you can repeat consistently and are happy with.

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6 hours ago, jimb0 said:

I can't recommend tartine anymore due to their rabid anti-unionization behaviours in recent months.

 

I'm totally ignorant about this. Can you summarize what happened please?

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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So made the Saturday white bread today. The dough felt rather wet from the beginning and I had a bit of a fight on my hands from the go. It just would not hold shape, tighten after folding etc. Just collapsed and then when trying to shape into loafs it would just stick to the worktop, hands no matter how much flour I put down. 

 

Finished product is a bit flatter than I wanted and still slightly tacky in the middle but wow, the crust is great. Like biting through glass. For the crumb texture, I am not sure if it is supposed to be very soft due to it being a sandwich bread but mine isn't.

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As someone who has worked with phyllo all her life and can perhaps give you "life lessons".  Because high hydration dough has similar personality. Light touch is key. In the end though taste not looks matter. Toasting can be a friend. Bake on! Flour is cheap

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