Hi, looking for recommendations for good introductory books for someone just getting into bread-making. Thanks.
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Consider this: text books are better than cook books. Texts take you from the ground up, helping to establish a foundation of learning which will stand you in good stead for a long time. Cook books have no such obligation; it's one recipe and then another, in no particular order, from which you may or may not learn this and that in an organized way.
For my money, immediately stop any impulse to buy another bread cook book until you read a text. I recoommend DiMuzio's Bread Baking. It is short, concise, and teaches so much along its inexpensive way. It's sometimes available as a used book at Alibris or Powell's Books. You might also like Mann's The Fresh Loaf, which I've used in classes in the past. Do not, as a beginner, buy a large text like Hamelman's Bread. It's much too long and compllicated for a newbie and, as such, might turn you away.
Perhaps Hamelman is not the first book you buy, but make sure it gets on the list at some point. It has more than you will need for a number of years, but it is a book that you will want to have had earlier when you finally get it.
PR's Bread Bakers Apprentice is intended as a gentle walk-through of all the basics. Highly recommended, as is Floyd Mann's The Fresh Loaf. Hammelman's Bread has a ton of useful, sensible information for beginners, but is geared equally toward pros (i.e., very large batches of dough!) as home bakers. Lately I've been reading Daniel Leader's Local Breads, which is far more than just a compendium of formulae for diverse European local favorites -- it's an excellent introduction on the basics as well.
That being said, essentially ALL the information in those books can be found in the forum archive and other sections of this phenomenal website. You really don't need a book. However, it's fun to read each author's personal "journey". It IS a journey -- no doubt about it.
I would get TARTINE by Chad Robinson. That is the book I read and spent a year making the bread intill I perfected it for me. After that I understood what all the other books ment and could play/tailor recipes to my liking. I now run a home based bakery and sell at farmers markets. His explaination on how bakers used to make bread gave me the insight to making a loaf or 100's of loafs. I have even been offered jobs running bakerys.
How To Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou.