The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Organization of Recipes

tdapple's picture

Organization of Recipes

I was wondering how everybody keeps their favorite baking recipies organized, between books, websites, written down and so forth. I am looking to compile my favorites in a central location...maybe make a database of sorts. Just wondering what everyone else does.


ClimbHi's picture

I don't!  ;-(

Maybe someday (he said hopefully).

Pittsburgh, PA

clazar123's picture

I bit the bullet and have a wonderful file on my computer with all my recipes...or at least most of them. Once or twice a year I burn it to CD and distribute copies to kids and relatives. I just use  MS  WORD for the format.

Then I have index cards.I have my frequently used recipes on 3x5 cards (mainly just ingredient-not much room for technique) so I can stick it in the moulding of the upper cabinet above my baking area.Easily visible,out of the way,stays clean.

I just use a legal pad when I'm developing a recipe-keeping track of ingredients/amount/notes until I get the recipe developed. Then I put it on a card or in a computer file.



dmsnyder's picture

I have recipes in various format text files in a "Bread&Pastry"subdirectory of my "Recipes" subdirectory under "Documents." The problem is, they are on two computers are are not synchronized.

Recipes I use often or are near the top of my "to bake list" get printed out. A couple weeks ago, I filed them in two 3-ring binders with tabs separating different types of recipes - Pains de Campagnes, Baguettes, Breads with nuts and/or fruit, Sweet Rolls/Pastries, Pancakes/Waffles, etc.

I also have a long term project with my favorite bread recipes in one huge document, nicely formatted. My thought is to eventually print it out and bind it for gifting.


GinkgoGal's picture

In the past I kept track of recipes in an Excel document and I think it worked pretty well.  Then I lost it all in a hard drive crash.  Sigh.

It had columns for recipe name, type of dish (I was doing this for all recipes, not baking in particular), ethnicity,  cookbook name if applicable, and notes.  So for recipes in books I just noted the book name and page number.  I copied all web recipes or ones I'd typed up to a folder on my computer then made the recipe titles in the Excel document into links.  Then I could bring up the recipe by clicking in the database.  I also set the database to sort by any of the columns (so for example I could bring up only side dishes, or only Indian food).  This requires a little Excel knowledge but nothing too difficult.

Unfortunately I don't have Excel any more so I need to learn how to use Google documents to get my system going again.  And this time I'm going to add a "ratings" column and keep track of recipes I shouldn't try again as well as those I liked.

ehanner's picture

I have used a combination of sub directories for some time. This comes from learning early on how hard it is to find an image with an automatically generated file name/number from 5 years ago. So for photos I have a folder system where the images stored in a folder named with the date I save them. It's much easier to find an image I know was taken around the holidays a few years ago by scanning the folders with names(dates) in December or January.

For breads, I have a yearly folder under the breads directory. Every year I make a new folder and start a new collection of recent projects. Each bread is alphabetical first, then with a number. For example I might save a image as Deli_rye_1.jpg or Deli_rye_2.jpg. It is easier to keep all the similar images grouped together and I only have to change the last character when I do a save as.

Recipes have evolved a little differently for me. Under Documents/recipes I have general cooking recipes. A sub directory is then Breads/ with the various authors below. For example the path to my Wharf bread from dsnyder would be, documents/recipes/breads/dsnyder SF-Wharf Bread.doc. I find I am more likely to remember a bread from where I got the recipe. I have folders for all the contributors here plus Hamelman and Reinhart. I usually type a recipe from a book after I try it and decide I'll do it again. I usually print a fresh recipe for every bread unless it is something I do as a concept that I do every week. One thing I have started to do recently is add a photo of the bread to the recipe. Works for me.


ilovetodig's picture

I keep mine in the Living Cookbook software I purchased on line.  It helps me keep the recipes in the same format, organized and divided into chapters.  As an unorganized person, this has been especially helpful.  I have printed many copies for my family and friends as gifts.  Each recipe has a tab that I use to either comment on the recipes or reminisce and tell my children about things that they might otherwise not know.  If the recipe was one that was handed down I try to relate something interesting about that person.  This way my children and later generations have a slight idea about their ancestors.  It is amazing to me what I remember when I am doing this.   I began with just a few recipes that my kids were always calling for instructions to make and has turned into almost a full 3 inch binder full and I'm not through yet.  Now I can just say "it's in the cookbook".  I have to admit that the Breads chapter is much larger than any others.

xaipete's picture

I had no desire to own a digital frame until I thought about using it for pdfs instead of pictures. I thought that would be a great way to organize recipes.


Moriah's picture

I file them on my computer then print them out and put plastic sheet covers on them. Then they go into a big baking binder with a photo of my bread on the front. ;-)

gosiam's picture

This topic is very timely for me.  I have been using recipe software packages of various sorts for the last 8 years, but never really clicked with any of them.  Recently, I even looked into creating my own on-line database with the idea of using and sharing it wherever and with whomever, but it turned out to be too much prep work for the singular use.  Then I came across MasterCook Deluxe.  I highly recommend the software.  It comes with "millions" of recipes that I might use some time, but mainly, it allows me to create my own cookbook, and all my true and tested recipes go in there.

It does not yet offer the option to share a recipe through the web publishing, but I am absolutely sure that the next version will.  For the time being, it does an excellent job of emailing a recipe to a friend, or to my own kitchen so I can cook/bake it off of my laptop there - no printing required.

Oh yes, one more thing... it is so versatile, I can attach any picture to it I want, be it mine or somone else's.  Each direction step can be assisted by pictures all along the way one's baking progress.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with the makers of the software in any way, but I am a happy user.

All the best.


dwcoleman's picture

I have a Blackberry at work linked to my Outlook mailbox.  I store all recipes in Outlook as a note which is accessable on my Blackberry.

I categorize them using a format as follows.

Info - work stuff

Passwords - work stuff and my home stuff

Recipes - main category housing all recipes

Recipes - Bread - sub category strictly for breads

I tend to convert all measurements to grams since it is my prefered weight.  When I've learned a bread technique I tend to strip down the recipe to bare minimums.

Eg.  Recipes - Bread - Anis Baguettes

500g flour

375g water

10g salt

1/4 tsp yeast

Combine until a rough dough texture starts to appear.

Ferment on counter for 1 hour french folding every 20 minutes

Retard in fridge for 21 hours.

Pull out and rough shape loaves, let warm up for 1 hour.

Proof for 45 minutes in warm spot.

Slash loaves and bake at 480C for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 2 loaves.


SusanLR's picture

I am using and loving my new (to me) Microsoft Office OneNote.  It came with the 2007 Home and Student version of Microsoft Office. OneNote allows the user to copy, store, organize, and print recipes quite easily, as well as make notes on the original recipe re: outcomes, modifications, etc.