The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


erg720's picture



Hi guys.


I have Peter Reinhart's book BBA and I want to ask is there a big difference 

between him and the other  book: "Crust & crumb" ?

I mean, is there a big differences?

 'cause if it only one recipe here & there,  I don't think i need it.


What do you think?


Also I have Hamelman's book, is it cover all the side of whole wheat bread or

should I buy Peter Reinhart's book "Whole Grain..."


What do you think?


thanks. Ron

rainwater's picture

I don't think there is a huge difference between "Crust and Crumb" and "Bread Baker's Apprentice".  I use BBA mostly because it has good photos, and the explanations are very handy, and I use the "Barm", or "Sourdough" starter method in BBA.  There is an outrageously good pancake recipe in "Crust and Crumb" though.  If I had to choose, I would keep BBA. 

I think there are plenty of whole wheat bread recipes in Hammelman's book to keep me for a lifetime. ...I'm not  a big fan of 100% whole grain bread anyway.  I usually like about a 50/50 mix of whole grain with  unbleached bread  flour.  I like to add small percentages of rye flour to sourdough formulas ounce or two of ryr flour gives a good rustic flavor.

erg720's picture

Thanks, it was good piece of info to share.

Me, myself not a big fan of whole wheat also.

I just thought it might good to know if hamelman's

book is enough or not.



tananaBrian's picture

My impression is that Hamelman is the better choice.  He believes in the "less is better" rule when it comes to working the dough, and from what I can see in my own experiences, that's the right approach.  Reinhart has you machine-kneading quite a bit, and suggests using things like food processors and what not ...and also uses time and temperature to his advantage.  Hamelman has you use gentle folds (or similar), time, and temperature alone.  Reinhart uses more bread flour which I believe is too high in protein if you study how the French and American protein measurement is accomplished and what protein amount Type 55 (etc) flours contain.  I always get a crunchier, more golden, shinier crust with American all-purpose flour than I do with bread flour for example, and it is also closer to Type 55 in protein content why the bread flour?  Well for one, rich breads benefit from the additional gluten, as do breads with more bran and other 'additives' ...but for lean white (or near white) artisan breads, I can't see using it since it seems to make it harder for me to get the right results ...maybe it's me, maybe it's the flour, but for me, the flour makes a difference.  Hamelman leans more towards using the right flours if you ask me.  I'm rambling, but either way, I vote for Hamelman as my favorite (so far.)



erg720's picture

It's look like Peter is the new kid on the block.

 with all this convenience-modern method for the baker.

 I do feel close to Hamelman then to Peter. But as i said I can't ignor Peter

and I've asked maybe his new book is worth something.


Thanks. Ron

drhowarddrfine's picture

I guess it's just me but I've never liked, or had much success, with anything by Reinhart. I almost gave up on baking my own bread till I got Hamelman's. The only thing from PR I do bake is his 100% whole wheat but, even then, I modified it slightly and use a different method.

I could live on Hamelman alone.

erg720's picture

You right, there's a lot differences between those two but I can't ignore

Peter as one of the strong players in the bread world.

I like his vision about making breads.

but (and) of course Hamalman his my choice.



ClimbHi's picture

I have both and I think that BBA is an evolution from C&C. As PR continued to experiment and learn, he tweaked his methods a bit and published BBA.

As for the books, I think you're making a mistake if you use any of these books as "recipe books". The main benefit of the books is that they allow you to develop an understanding of how the variables work together to wind up with the desired product. The recipes are only starting points.

FWIW, I don't think I've made a single loaf of bread from any PR recipe as printed but, aside from an occassional burned crust due to a lack of attentiveness on my part, I've never had a failed bake.

Pittsburgh, PA

JIP's picture

You can never have too many, everyone comes at this from a little different angle so it pays to look around.  Personally I have almost all of teh "biggies" but I never paid more than $10 for any of them but mabye 2 you just have to keep your eyes peeled on Amazon or used book stores.

nancy58's picture

Books are just a guide to understand the ingredients and how they interact with each other as well as why each is necessary in a formula. I have taken a professional class taught by Hamelman and his techiniques have been learned and refined over several decades of being a professional baker. Peter Reinhardt, has less "formal" training, but has instead has "on the job training" and has then spent  time becoming a chef/teacher. Both know and have worked/taught together and are friends.

As with any recipe book you will, over time change the recipes (called formulas for bread) to suit your individual tastes and the time frames that you have to work with. As far as which book is's an individual decision as both books have very valid information and techniques.

I find it sad that people are wanting to pit one against the other. They are both professionals and know their craft more than many of us ever will. I do know that Hamelman has no problem admitting that he does not know everything and if asked a question that he is not 100% sure of the answer, he will put it out to his vast network of bakers, scientists, millers and other chefs in order to give the correct answer. I know this to be true as I stumped him with a question in class and he emailed several collegues to find out the best answer for me. I also believe that PR would be the same way. If you truely READ his books, you will understand that he admits he is not only a teacher, but is also still a student, constantly learning.

I have a couple of PR's books and I have Hamelman's book as well and many others. I use them all for different reasons/needs. IMHO I feel that you need to take the info and formulas and then over time, make them your own. Isn't that what this quest is all about?


Paddyscake's picture

DITTO..I agree and support.


erg720's picture

Hi Nancy.

No one ever want to choose between those two. no one want to ask who is the better. no one aim to say that PR better then JH or the opposite.

as a chef, I have a tone of books, pro's books. logically cookbook more then baking book. As for-ever-seek-for-knowledge  i ask and still do is: these last book of PR  worth buying or JH'book cover this section of whole wheat grain?

simple as that.


friendly. Ron 

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I was just browsing through Amazon and noticed a new book coming out by Reinhart, available in October.  It's called Peter Reinhart, Artisan Bread Every Day.

bshuval's picture

I have a very large collection of baking books, and each book has a different approach for bread. Hamelman's book is indeed an excellent book, and has some excellent recipes and techniques. That said, there are many other excellent baking books out there. 

Reinhart's WGB book introduces a novel technique of making 100% whole wheat breads. I love Andrew Whitley's book, "Bread Matters". The new River Cottage Bread handbook is another delightful book (full of humor). Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking" is a gorgeous book that belongs on any bread baker's shelf. Michel Suas's recent tome, "Advanced Bread and Pastry" suffers only from one problem: it is too heavy. Other than that, it is one of the best books on bread out there (and the formulas are fantastic). I could go on and on about the existing books on bread. 

I should probably mention that there are a few books on bread coming out soon. The two I am most anticipating are the new edition of "Amy's Bread" and Jim Lahey's "My Bread." The original "Amy's Bread" book is probably my favorite bread book. I have definitely baked more recipes from this book than any other. And, every single bread I made was delicious. The new edition is supposed to have measurements in metric, revised recipes (perhaps a few new ones, too), and full color pictures, so it promises to be excellent. (Their pastry book is great, too). As for Jim Lahey's book, after the no-knead bread craze, it is definitely going to be one of the best books on bread (and also pizza baking and sandwich making; take a look at the BLAD here