The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is DiMuzio's book worth it?

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Is DiMuzio's book worth it?

Recently I have been all out on a Bread-Book-Buying-Binge. I have been baking and practicing avidly and good books fill the academic in me and also strengthen  skills and confidence. You most likely know what it is for me.  I now have most of Peter Reinhart's books, Dan Leader's books, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Dan Lepard, and quite a few peripheral books that are more recipe oriented rather that teaching techniques...Beth Hensperger, Amy's Bread and more. Lastly I got Hamelman's book. All this said is to ask if the content of DiMuzio's book is that much better/more or that much better written than what I already have and I will gain from reading it?  If it is a reasonably good book I don't mind buying it but don't want to go on acquiring mindlessly. I don't have the opportunity to take physical classes and can only learn from reading books, this forum and practice. I would be so grateful if you share your opinion of this book. Thank you

foodslut's picture
foodslut

... for the "how to build a bread formula" section.

Then again, my philosophy, as with cookbooks, is that if I can cull a nugget or two from any book, it's generally worthwhile to buy/hang onto.

Good luck & enjoy the book exploration!

RedEng's picture
RedEng

which are your favourite books? I'm in a very similar situation, but at an earlier stage, by the sounds of things. I'm baking every day (currently from FWSY)  and I can't take physical classes, but love books (I'm an academic :) ). I've learned a lot from the few that I've read so far, but would love advice on which are most worth the time. I can't afford to buy many, so have to be selective. I get what I can from my local library, but they don't have a wide selection. Any advice would be great!

AlanG's picture
AlanG

as reference points.  Once you have baked enough loaves to learn what the dough should feel like and the proper proof time you pretty much can explore different types of bread on your own.  You will have to adapt any recipe to the types of flour available to you.  My main suggestion is don't over think it.

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Alan, so true.

This was my biggest problem when I started baking bread in earnest. Tame the beast. Force it to my schedule. Once I turned off the stopwatch and turned on my senses, the art/craft of making bread became much easier and much more enjoyable.

If one is to learn to make bread then they should learn to embrace failure. What I have learned through failure is so much more than anything I have read in books. This is not to say that books are useless but pound-for-pound, a well-written book is no match for the act of mixing, shaping, proofing and baking bread.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Always has been one of my favorite purchases.  I purchased it when Dan DiMuzio was a very active participant on TFL and I might add what an accomplished baker that's not full of himself...'lol'.  A little book with a ton of information that's easy to understand and bake up some wonderful loaves.   Though I seldom refer to any of my many bread books...this a keeper for me.

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Thank you, all of you!

foodslut and SylviaH, I think you have tipped me over....

AlanG: I was thinking a lot about how I want to answer RedEng and your comment stopped me in my tracks.  So true what you say. If I think back, the hardest part, The Obstacle to getting bread right, was knowing what the dough should feel like and when it has proofed properly before going into the oven.  There really is no way to communicate this in writing.  I had to ask for help in these two areas on this forum and watching videos, reading.....and the more I 'get' these two aspects the more I feel I know what I am doing and am able to turn out a loaf with confidence.  Thank you for your succinct answer.  The problem we are addressing in this thread is actually how, when working at home, without a mentor, by reading and watching videos,  do we learn about these two 'feel' aspects?

 

katyajini's picture
katyajini

RedEng:   I understand so well what you are saying and want to answer your query a little more fully from my position, low, low down on the learning curve...meanwhile think about AlanG's comment. Its absolutely terrific that you bake everyday...will get back to you. 

RedEng's picture
RedEng

Any advice/insights would be great - there are so many to choose from! Right now I'm basically working through FWSY but would love to have somewhere to go next.

HansB's picture
HansB

My second book, after FWSY, was Hamelmans Bread. that would be a great next step for you. If you can afford one more Reinharts Bread Bakers Apprentice is not dedicated to naturally leavened bread but has many really good recipes.

HansB's picture
HansB

that his book is excellent. One of my favorites actually and I have at least ten bread books.

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Thank you again everyone, I ordered the book from mazon, can't wait.

RedEng:  

First is there a way I may send you a personal email? there is a way here to do that without any loss of privacy but I don't see that under your name.  Maybe you can fix your contact thing?  I really want to send you something and you probably will like it.

I will share a little of my experience...but I don't knnow much.

What books you choose depends on what you want kind of breads you want preferientially.  I was looking up a few posts of yours...do you want to make crusty, artisinal breads only?  

FWYS is probably THE book for that type of bread.  And you have accomplished a lot judging from what you have written elsewhere. For this type of bread definetly get Hamelman's book next. Hamelman's 'Baguette de Tradition' is essentially the core bread (technique) that all FWYS is based on. Tartine's first book is great too for this type of bread though I have not used it. 

All that I am saying below is addressing that you are learning by reading and cannot physical classes right now, like me:

When I started baking bread if FWYS was my first book I could not have done it.  I would have been overwhelmed and given up (looked for other books).  I need to understand more when I do things.  It explains somethings very well and directions for HIS breads, which are of one type, are complete.  And he has a system down pat.  There is acute attention to details to control the outcome (time, temp, yeast...) and the breads come out so good, but he does not explain much how to adapt to your circumstances, a home baker.  There is much much left unsaid that you need to know to bake bread.  He does not take you to a place where you can take flight and do your own thing with confidence and succcess, with his breads and other types of breads. Almost the same thing  with Hamelman's book.  Judging from its popularity the recipes must be outstanding.  I have baked one bread from this book and it was very good.  He teaches a bit more but it would be an overwhelming first book for me.  These two books are great but far better for someone who knows the rudiments of baking bread, even if you have to re-learn your technique completely.

Having said that I think I learned most by reading many books and reffering to them over and over.  And watching many videos that are available on YT.  Just like in life you read, confer with friends, mentors even antagonists and go out there and physically live life mindfully and progress happens slowly and surely. 

I have more to add...