The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Suggestions for books

Yundah's picture

Suggestions for books

A colleague and I will be offering a course on Bread later this spring at the college where we teach.  The title is "The Chemistry and Culture of Bread".  She is doing the chemistry (thank heavens) and I am doing the cultural thing.  I'm looking for two books (or, one, if I can find one that covers everything) for texts for the class.  I want a good, solid, "how to bake bread" book ("The Baker's Apprentice" perhaps?) and a book that looks at bread on a cultural level, preferably across cultures.  Students will have completed their 2nd year and we may have some alumni join us.  We will have a lab and will be baking bread as well.  We're thinking of having them make a flat bread of some sort, a sourdough, a no knead bread and two other types (to be determined.) 

I appreciate any suggestions you all may make.  Thanks. 

sphealey's picture

If you want to teach the science/chemistry of breadmaking to a general audience IMHO you can't do better than Emily Buehler's _Bread Science_ ( ).  It is understandable by anyone but friends with Ph.Ds in Chemistry and Biochemistry have found it useful as well.   Ms. Buehler worked in an artisan bakery so the practical advice and recipes are quite good as well.


crunchy's picture

I really enjoyed the cultural bread background given in Daniel Leader's Local Breads. Admittedly, his focus is somewhat narrow, but it's still more than what I've found in other books.

gaaarp's picture

Secrets of a Jewish Baker has a lot of history and information about different types of breads from various cultures.  Despite the title, it's not all rye.  There are recipes for everything from Na'an to Irish Soda Bread to Singing Hinny.  Another really nice feature that might work well for your class it the section at the end with Morning Baking Programs.  There are twelve "morning bakes", with each making a number of different breads in about 2-4 hours.

cdnDough's picture

Any chance you'll be posting the course material/notes/lectures online?  I have a background in chemistry/physics and would be very interested in following along.

hansjoakim's picture

I second that! I would be very interested in following along as well.

Yundah's picture

Let me talk to my colleague.  I don't have a problem with it. We will be using Black Board and i usually post my notes so i don't have a problem with putting my materials out there.  I have a site for my teaching at my Mac website and will journaling my experiences in the class  as well.  When the time comes, I'll post a link here for you all.  The class won't start until mid April.  We have a short intensive term which is when we can do classes like this.  The only problem may be if we don't get enough students to make it go but I'm not too worried about that.   Thank you for your interest and my thanks to everyone who has made suggestions.  

cdnDough's picture

Following from crunchy's recommendation, both Leader's books, "Bread Alone" and "Local Bread" offer some cultural background regarding the bakers and the regionalization of European breads.  I imagine the information in each could combine into 1 lecture for an entertaining perspective on modern European baking.

For more complete and historical accounts, you might try:

Sheppard and Newton, The Story of Bread (1957)

Jacob, Six Thousand Years of Bread (2007)

The latter has quite an extensive bibliography.

Soundman's picture

For solid bread baking technique, take a look at Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.

Soundman (David)

ema2two's picture

Maggie Glezer's A Blessing of Bread talks about various cultural aspects of bread in the myriad of Jewish communities around the world.  She may have references to broader cultural bread sources in her bibliography.  I'll try to take a look, or you may want to peruse it yourself to see if it will meet some of your needs.