The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

book recommendations

jembola's picture

book recommendations

With the kids home for the summer, I pretty well abandoned my bread baking/learning routines but school is coming and I'm ready to get down to it again.  Meanwhile I got some birthday book money (the only way I get to buy books these days) and am looking to order two books.  Trouble is, there are four on my list. I'm hoping you folks can help me.  Which two would be the best combination for a wanabe whole grain bread/sourdough bread baker?

Peter Rinehart's Whole Grain Breads

Peter Rinehart's Bread Baker's Apprentice

Dan Lepard's Handmade Bread

Mark Hammelman's Bread

janij's picture

I say go for Baker's Apprentice and Bread.  I don't own Homeade Bread so I can't say on that one, but I do have Whole Grain Breads and I like Hamelman better.  BBA is a must have for anyone I think.  Very good basics in detail.  Hamelman goes into more scientific deal but the formulas are excellent.  I love the multigrain levan and the oatmeal cinnamon raisin.

JIP's picture

Breads from Labrea Bakery bu Nancy Silverton then use the rest of teh money for all the flour you will throw away feeding your starter on her schedule.  I make her country loaf on a regular basis and it is wonderful.  She also has a fruit/nut bread made from a rye starter that while expensive to make it is out of this world.

benjamin's picture

whatever you do, buy hamelman... I have all of the books you list and hamelman is the absolute best.

Also if you want an extremely thourough guide on how to assemble a sourdough starter and bread I would recommend 'crust' by richard bertinet. This even includes a DVD which walks you through the process.



JIP's picture

As you can see there are as many "favorite" books as there are people.  The way I ultimately made my decision on which to buy (I have them all at this point but all sub$20 and some sub $10) is the library.  I have checked out every book on the review list beore I even knew what the Fresh Loaf was and tried them all out.  I am lucky here to have a great library system where i can go online and search out any book that I want and I was able to find them all.

Ritmo Caliente's picture
Ritmo Caliente

I agree with ben...Richard Bertinet's book is the best...check out also his earlier book, 'Dough' :)

jemar's picture

The brioche I made from Richard's book 'Crust' is the best I have made or tasted.  I have tried other recipes but although his is quite long and authentic it always turns out just right, LOVELY!

M2's picture

I also check out copies from the library to have a preview first...though I still feel like I want to have them all...

jembola's picture

thanks for all the help. I'll buy Hamelman for sure, still thinking about the second...

Yumarama's picture

are being noted as "bad", it's probably an even bet all around you'll like any one of them (or the others suggested).

As there are about as many 'roads' to get to the end product as there are bakers, if you're going for Hamelman's instructions/technical info, don't buy a different map.

Stick to Hamelman, at least until you've absorbed his methodology and understand his concepts. THEN check out other more technical books and see where another author differs, you'll have the knowledge at that point to incorporate the second method if you want. But having two different methods when you're unfamiliar with both is just going to be confusing. 

Make your second book more specific to a topic not necessarily focused on in Hamelman's. Perhaps a book that focuses more on formulas/recipes than technique/theory, like Glezer's books.