The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rinehart, Hammelman, or Lepard?

jembola's picture

Rinehart, Hammelman, or Lepard?

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

LLM777's picture

It's ONLY whole grain and it has the soak/preferment so you get the most nutrients from the grain. It has whatever type of bread you want and all types of grains.

SylviaH's picture

PRWG gets my vote!

einarfa's picture

I have PR's WGB and DL's HML. Very different, but both very satisfying and inspiring books.

MaryinHammondsport's picture

and the Jeffery Hamelman Bread. This will give you lots of variety. I owne all four and these are the two I use the most.

drhowarddrfine's picture

I feel far more informed with Hammelman's book and everything works. I've never had good bread with Reinhart but I don't have the whole grain book. Lepard is good but I don't think it's as well rounded as Hammelman's.

hansjoakim's picture

At least you got one name right ;)

As for the books, I'd say "Bread". The author's first name is Jeffrey and the surname is spelled Hamelman.

Lepard's book is good too.

You could also try to search this site for book recommendations (which would give you a wealth of opinions, suggestions and ideas), or click the Book Reviews link top-center.

jembola's picture

Oops, yes I've noticed the Jeffrey/Mark mistake and misspelling (and also the wrong title of Dan Lepard's book, which is The Handmade Loaf).  I wrote late at night just before heading for bed and tried to do it off the top of my head.  I have also since realized there was a book review section that I hadn't noticed before and have read that too.  Seems like Hamelman's book is the top choice all around, but I have a hard choice for the second.  Thank you everyone for weighing in!

Ford's picture

I personally prefer Jeffrey Mamelman's "Bread, A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes."  I also like Reinhartt"s books, I have "Baker's Apprentice," "Crust and Crumb," and "Whole Grain Breads.

Daniel T. DiMuzio's book, "Bread Baking," however, is a GREAT instruction manual, and textbook.  Check it out!

I have not reviewed Dan Lepard's book.


Dcn Marty's picture
Dcn Marty

The book choices would depend on your interests and experience. I have Reinhart's Whole Grain since that is my interest, but have noticed you need to use the Baker's formulas as the measurements are sometimes off. I concur with Ford about DiMuzio's book "Bread Baking" as being excellent for gaining knowledge and proficiency.It has an entire chapter on Baker's Percentage. Hamelman's book is outstanding also. You should plan on eventually getting all these. Which comes first? Check them out in the store and decide which "feeds" you.

serifm's picture

Why don't you see if your local library has copies? That way you can review all four books and decide which you like best.



Paddyscake's picture

Just starting, Peter Reinhart's BBA. Lot's of pictures, diagrams to help you along.

More advanced, Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread.

Dan Lepard's book has been found to have lot's of errors, but lot's of great recipes.

Daniel DeMuzio's Bread Baking, is one I haven't seen. I do, however, think that it is probably a great book. He is always here on TFL answering questions and helping everyone with their problems.


Yerffej's picture

I would utilize your library if possible to preview these books. 

There is no one "right" way to make a loaf of bread and the variations are seemingly endless.  So too there is no one right bread book, or wrong book for that matter, but rather a diverse approach from a variety of authors.  My favorite books are favorites because they speak to me on a level that I understand well.  This makes the book neither good nor bad but simply one of my favorites.  The very book that I understand so well may not work for you at all which is why I recommend previewing books when possible.  If a library is not an option there is always the possibility of sitting in the book store for an hour and reading through the book.


paddyboomsticks's picture

I have personally found Reinhart's forumalas both complex and not particularly reliable (this is just my personal experience!). I find the many steps and/or ingredients that I feel as unenecessary complicate and slow down my baking process. This is just my personal experience.


Bread is almost 100% reliable. The only problems I've had have been related to my starter and or local conditions. The directions are really clear and easy to follow, and it's dripping with great science and bread knowledge.


I have a book of Lepard's too, the local breads one. It's also great, though not as clear, reliable, or varietal as Hamelman, It's a good book though, with good recipes.



jembola's picture

Thanks again for all the help.  No question, I will order Hamelman!  Still thinking about the second...  My local library system, alas, is missing most of these books, but I am just sitting down now to make requests for them to add the key ones.  We'll see if they take my advice. (They do have Lepard's Handmade Loaf, so I can look at that without buying). I am so glad to be in touch with thoughtful and helpful breadmakers like yourselves.  Thanks for taking the time!

AnnaInMD's picture

I just ordered Bread Baker's Apprentice for $17.00 plus 3.99 shipping from here:

To review books, go to google, advanced tools, books.  Some books are almost available to research in toto.

Also, just do a google search for a title and several sites will search the best price for you.


Good luck!