The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rose Beranbaum's Bread Bible

stephen198's picture

Rose Beranbaum's Bread Bible

Has anyone looked at or used Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible? I received it as a gift (most likely because of my great respect for her other books).

Yet I find I am turning to other books for ideas or formulas instead... I was just wondering what others thought and if any one had made many things out of it.

Shona's picture

The recipes look good and she often uses an overnight dough method, which I really like, because stretching out the total prep time allows me to make bread and still have a life outside the kitchen.

So far, I've only made the bagels [although I have several more recipes marked to try]. These incorporate the overnight method and the dough was gorgeous ... I was rewarded with very large, beautiful bagels!

My biggest criticism of this book is Beranbaum's insistence that only the brand-name flours she recommends be used in the recipes. This is extremely annoying because I live in Canada and can't get her American brands in my area. And it's also a bit ridiculous ... any kind of proper high-protein bread flour will work just fine. When I made the bagels, for example, I used a blend of unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, and a multi-grain flour [white and whole wheat flours, cracked wheat, cracked rye, and flaxseeds]. The bagels were perfect despite the fact that I didn't use her flour.

It is a lovely book though, and I certainly don't regret buying it.

roselevyberanbaum's picture

hi! you may be shocked to hear from me after almost a year but i only just discovered this fantastic site!

wanted you to know why i listed brand names of flours. actually i was encouraged by my editor when i told her that bread was very dependent on the right flour, for ex. all purpose bleached will not have the protein content necessary for good rise. and all purpose could be interpreted as white lily that has a protein content almost identical to cake flour. so we agreed that i would list the flours that i actually used to test the breads! but there are many many wonderful flours out there including the new Harvest King that didier rosato configured and to which i lent my basic hearth recipe for the back of the bag i love it so much.

thanks very much for your kind words about the book. i hope you've continued to enjoy making recipes from it and that you've checked the errata page on my blog ( as there are some editing errors (the important ones have been corrected int he third printing). perhaps the most important correction is on the rye bread where the rye should only be in the starter but a mention of adding it a second time is still inthe body of the recipe for continuing to make the dough. just cross out that line and do make the bread--it's still one of my favorites.

just took the jim leahy no-knead bread (version 6!) out of the oven. this time i tried it with 7.5% kamut and in the cloche. rose exactly as it did in the much more unwieldy cast iron enameled pan and crust looks just as nice and crisp. wonderful method--truly so little work and then such big holes and great flavor!

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Marty's picture

At this time this is my favorite bread book. I make the ciabatta weekly with minor changes. I also enjoy the pugliese. Still working my way through the book. My main reason for saying it's my favorite is that the recipes seem to come out the same way each time. In the past I had trouble with getting the same results each time I used a recipe. The ciabatta is consistently the same. The results of her recipes almost always are what I hope for. I think there is a lot of research behind this book.
I don't think I would worry much about the specific flour she calls for. Just stay in the ballpark. Don't use bread flour when general purpose is called for.
Prosciutto ring is up next. Good luck and give it more time.

manxman's picture

you may be interested in a version of berenbaum cinnamon bread which is awesome but takes all day at look for her cinnamon raisin bread. It has lots of pictures.

dough-re-mi's picture

I have tried a few pizza dough recipes, including Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice neopolitan pizza, and RLB's is so easy it's hard *not* to have pizza; stir the all-purpose flour dough with a spoon for 20 seconds, leave out 30 minutes, refrigerate overnight, and make the pizza. I made some dough tonight for pizza tomorrow, just as I did yesterday.

Her book is on order for me from Amazon; I copied the pizza recipe while sitting at Borders.

neaton's picture

Just read the reviews for Rose Beranbaum's Bread Bible book and they range from 1 star to 5 stars.

The 1 star comments are all the same: recipe ammounts are wrong and there are a lot of errors in the recipes. Anyone had similar problems?

Also, if you had to buy one bread book which of these would you choose?
Peter Reinhart: "The Bread baker's Apprentice"
Rose Levy Beranbaum: "The Bread Bible"
Peter Reinhart: "Crust and Crumb"
Joe Ortiz: "The Village Baker"

sphealey's picture

Beranbaum is one of those authors whose books will only be loved or hated; nothing in between. Hard to explain, but I think it has to do with both her approach and her writing style.

Personally, I like The Bread Bible and I would recommend starting with it. That said, my next book buy will probably be Apprentice as I am ready for a different approach.

As for mistakes, if you follow her recipes by weight rather than volume, and follow them exactly, you will get exactly the predicted result 90-95% of the time (same with her cake and cookie cookbooks). Of course, I only know a few people who can follow her recipes exactly (one being me, an ex-testing engineer, and my neighbor the chem lab consultant). But I am now using Rose's recipes as the basis for experimentation, I seem to get good results 60-70% of the time which I consider a success.

Her pumpernickel is too sweet though - still trying to figure out how to make it less so.


sugarcreations's picture

 I for one like Roses writing style. I do not have the Bread Bible but I have her other 2 books "The Cake Bible" and the "Pie and Pastry Bible" kudos to you Rose those are both excellent books and have been a great asset to my ever expanding library of cookbooks.


roselevyberanbaum's picture

thank you so much! (sugar is my middle name)

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Paddyscake's picture

Rosemary Fococcia-two ways in the "In the news" section on the home page. It is a blog site by Breadbasketcase. She has baked all but one type of the Bread Bible recipes in the book. Great witty and interesting blog, pictures and comments :  )

Floydm's picture

Link here.

sedagive's picture

I never had much success baking bread until my daughter gave me The Bread Bible for my birthday.  Now my bread is better than anything I can find in the grocery store and I've stopped buying bread.  Rose, if you read this, I want to thank you for teaching me what a great experience it is to make my own bread.  I make a minimum of 2 loaves of your Hearth Bread every week and everyone that tries it says the same thing:  This is the best bread I've ever tasted.  My daughter can't get enough.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

roselevyberanbaum's picture

Rose Levy Beranbaum

checking my e-mail while on vacation i found your wonderful comment and just want to tell you how happy it's made me. funny coincidence--while going through my e-mail i'm waiting for some bread to rise!




bluezebra's picture

I must tell you that this makes me want to buy your book! I have a very limited budget so books are a splurge for me! But I will be saving up to buy yours. Thanks for taking the time to respond to your readers.

roselevyberanbaum's picture

Rose Levy Beranbaum


that is so touching i just have to tell you that i have several recipes on my blog until you can afford the books. some are from the books and some new. it's

CountryBoy's picture

You are logged on now so just a note to say that your Bread Bible was the first book I bought as a beginner. All the other books that people suggested were a bit confusing for me, so I am glad I got yours rather than the PR BBA book.

Now a mention of something that no one ever mentions and that is your drawings which are hands down the best of all the bread books.  As someone with 25 yrs in the arts I enjoy seeing nice art work.  On the other hand the Leader, Local Breads book drawings are quite literally gruesome or something one would find in an anatomy book.

Question, you suggest often that one put the loaves in the fridge, after being divided and put in pans. Many other authors suggest that by that time the retardation is not that useful.  Yes I know you like the fridge for the Starter, but others say it is more useful to do the retardation earlier.  How do you feel about that question at this point in time?

Oldcampcook's picture

I just happened to put my shaped and panned sourdough in the frig because I ran out of time to bake.  I put it in Sunday evening and took it out to warm up on Monday evening after work.

I baked it according to the recipe and it turned out to be the best tasting sourdough I have ever made.  I may not have let it warm up long enough because it didnt rise as much as usual, but I got pretty good oven spring.

I brought the 3 loaves to work today and everyone who ate it said that it was the best so far (and they gobble my breads down!)

Now you all are gonna force me to buy Rose's book!  Dang! Dang! Dang!  LOL

roselevyberanbaum's picture

i'm supposed to be on vacation but if i don't check my blog every day and archive postings that need no response i'll lose the ones that do and return home to literally 100's of postings! yet, i can't resist answering your question right away: i often put shaped loaves in the frig to rise overnight and then finish rising the next day but not if they have had several risings already. it's for timing convenience more than flavor which has developed already from all else that i do to the poor bread, i.e. old sourdough starter or sponge, etc etc. if the dough has risen twice, the third shaped rise can be done in the frig with no problems.

thanks so much for noticing the drawings which i agree are the best i've ever seen. my editor maria guarnaschelli found the most extraordinary artist from boston--alan witschonke-- who came in for three photo sessions. i had to prepare all the steps of the breads and monitor their readiness for the perfect time to capture them on was an unbelievable effort but worth it as in addition to being exquisitely realistic i find them to be astonishingly instructive--better than a photo because they contain only the necessary lines for clarity of image. i gasp with astonishment every time i open the book to a page with these drawings! you are the first person to mention them.

Rose Levy Beranbaum

mommajack's picture

that i got your book first.  I had a long absence from baking and when I found TFL i began to use the recipes here. 

I had good success but wanted to have baking fundamentals in a handy reference for my kitchen (book format). 

I work in manufacturing engineering and find the directions and explanations really helpful.  I see that that is a common thread for many that use and enjoy your book.  I have made the purple potato variation of your bread, the sourdough breads, bagels, and whole wheat loaf, and regular sandwich loaf.  I hope to move on to ciabatta next.

Thank you very much for allowing me to share great recipes and as a result great bread with my family and friends. 

saraugie's picture

This is my third bread from the BB.  It is said that the third time's the charm, well it true for this book and marriage too :>0 LOL

I made the foccacia and while technically correct, to me, it was bland, the again I am a newbie. Last week Banana Feather bread, it was good but forgettable.

Last night I finished the Authentic Pumpernickel w Raisins and it is a home run. Deep, earthy, offset with the raisins and sesame seeds.

Sylviambt's picture

It's because of the theory at the front of the book that I gifted it to a young friend. I think the recipes are approachable, that Rose is a good guide through process.

Jezella's picture

This is an old thread I know but I'm here as I'm very interested in this book. Having said this, I really do like to be able to see inside the books on Amazon and I remain disappointed that I can't do this in this instance. I've been over to her blog in the hope of finding example pages there, but with no luck. Does anyone have a link where I may be able to preview.  It's more the writing style that I want a feel for.