The Fresh Loaf

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Next book(s)? Have BBA, need more!

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annamikemc's picture
annamikemc

Next book(s)? Have BBA, need more!

Hello all! This is my first post here and I'm really glad I found this site!

I am looking to expand my bread book library and need advice. I've only been baking bread for 2 months using BBA and KAF Whole Grains. I have had a decent amount of success (especially from BBA, with modifications found on this site) with ciabatta, pain a l'ancienne, French bread, basic wheat loafs, etc. and am looking for more recipes and ideas. There are just too many books out there! I have not ventured into sourdough yet (would like to, I just am a bit intimidated and don't know where to begin). I notice a lot of the books are focused on sourdough so I feel like I need to dive in if I want to buy any of those books. What would you all recommend? Are there books that cover yeast breads along with sourdough? Is there a good book for starting sourdough with recipes?

Thank you!!

Anna

 

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I think I'd recommend hitting up your local library and trying a few different ones. It's hard to predict which books will fit your style or learning process the best.

One I bought after realizing I'd had it from the library five times was Bread Alone. It was a good transition book for me between simple straight doughs into more complicated breads with preferments and then sourdoughs. But, at the time there were only 2 or 3 books like that out there, now there are so many to choose from! Most of the ones linked on the pages of this website are great...

Anyway, every author describes the process a little different, and I think it helps to try out a few recipes to see if you connect with the author.

As far as sourdough, I think it helped me to start with preferments--overnight poolishes or bigas. That helped me become familiar with the process of more complicated multi-day and multi-stage recipes, which made it easier to move on to sourdoughs. I still use all three methods (Straight doughs, preferments (with yeast), and sourdough).

 

Welcome, and happy bread baking!

holds99's picture
holds99

 Annamikemc,

There's a style of baking that you'll be drawn toward after you've done it for a while.  Baking is really a persomal thing in as much as most people gravitate toward the style or type of baking that they find most enjoyable and rewarding and in some cases even go to the extent of grinding their own grain for the flour they use in  breads they make.  So, as Breadnerd said use your local library, bake as often as you can and look at what's going on with bakers here on this site...believe me they're the best and most knowledgable you're going to find.  I have lots of baking books on lots of subjects from Nancy Silverton on sourdough to The Complete Book of Breads by Bernard Clayton...but... if I were starting out and had to choose one book, I think it would be... Bread - A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.  Hamelman is Director of the Bakery and Bakery Education Center for King Arthur Flour and in my opinion he has written one of the best books about the process, for both entry level and experienced home bakers.  But don't take my word for it.  Before buying it check with your local library and see if they have a copy or go to Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc. and take a look at it.  After looking it over I think you'll agree that it's really excellent and Hamelman makes a complex process much easier to understand.  Also, take advantage of the videos on various techniques (fermentation, mixing, shaping, etc.) available on this and other sites like Breadtopia, Sourdoughhome, etc.

Anyway, welcome, good luck and most of all...have fun!

HO

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

I strongly recommend Dan Leader's Local Breads as the next one.  It is written in a completely unintimidating fashion, with lots of instructions and FAQ sections so you know if you're doing things write as you go.  It is a pleasure to bake from.  Just use the metric weights, as there are some conversion errors in the volume, etc.

 

Hamelman I would get a little farther down the road, or if you're ordering two.  I agree with holds that if all you were ever going to buy was one, Hamelman might be that one, however, I think Local Breads is the perfect next book for you.  It also has more pictures than Hamelman and some other bread books, and to me those pics are important not only as bread porn, but to show you what the bread should look like when done.

annamikemc's picture
annamikemc

Well, I bit the bullet and ordered more books than I probably need. I don't think I even know where my local library is, so I think I'll just give them a test run at home and return the ones I don't want (or keep them all, he he). I got:

 

Reinhart's Whole Grain book

Crust & Crumb

Local Breads - although I'm a little concerned with the formulas

The Bread Bible (Beranbaum)

Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes (Hamelman)

Bread Alone

Artisan Baking (Glezer)

 

Whew! I think that should keep me occupied. I know some may be too advanced for now, but I hope to grow into them.

 

Thanks to all for the advice! I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of me :)

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Annamikemc,

That selection of books should keep you busy for quite a while.  You've picked the best of the best.  You won't regret it if you're committed and it sure looks like you're committed.  Can't wait to see some of the baking you're going to be doing. Please keep us posted on your baking adventures.  Good luck and have fun. 

HO

holds99's picture
holds99

Annamikemc,

One final suggestion, if I may. When you get Hamelman's book BREAD carefully read pages 1-62, then after a day of so re-read them.  For what it's worth, I used a highlighter on my copy and highlighted key items in these pages for later reference to help me remember the important elements of each step.  In these pages he takes you through each of  the 11 basic steps of bread baking: (step 1. Scaling/weighing thru Step 11. Baking).  He explains these steps in detail, along with fairly thorough explanations of other considerations for various types of baking that Breadnerd listed (Straight doughs, preferments (with yeast), and sourdough).  I'm no expert but I have found that understanding these these 11 steps, which codify the process and give you a systematic approach to the craft/science can shave a lot of time off the learning curve and help you diagnose problems, that are bound to occur, when you encounter them. Have fun---and experiement.

HO