The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day" - One man's opinion

Muffin Man's picture
Muffin Man

Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day" - One man's opinion

  For those of us who feared that Peter may have nothing left to say, the wait is over.  He has much left to say and it is very interestng.  While retaining (his) personal favorites (pain a l'anciene, Struan, retardation, pizza), he has brought them forward with the addition of the stretch and fold technique (first encountered by me in Mike Avery's post with video right here).  I tried the stretch and fold after encountering Mike's post here and loved it.  I am delighted to see Peter embrace it as it brings us closer to the dough (actually 'into the dough').  Anyhow, back to the book.  It is well orgrnized and should be in every bread maker's collection.  After reading it, the amateur baker might well reconsider the need for expensive mixers and such.  Peter shows that, as earlier bread masters did, you can produce world class bread with only a few simple, inexpensive tools and a contemporary home ktchen.  Thank you, Peter, I can't wait for the next one.


txfarmer's picture

I think the biggest value of this book for me is using cold retarding rather than preferments. I've actually been wondering about the benefits of either method for a long time. I much prefer cold retarding for my schedule - less time each day, stretching out to multiple days. This book is basically "Artisan Bread in Five minutes a Day", with some kneading/stretch & fold, this is not a diss since I loved AB5 for its convenience. My only reservation is that the breads in the book don't look "great". I mean they look yummy and all, but no great hole structure. I wonder whether it's because of the cold retarding method. I do intend to try some of the recipes ASAP though.

DerekL's picture

This book is basically "Artisan Bread in Five minutes a Day", with some kneading/stretch & fold

I disagree - ABED is aimed at a slightly higher level auidience.  It dwelves deeper into technique, has more than few more advanced breads than ABI5, and if nothing else - provides both bakers percentages and a very useful list of online resources.

Jeff and Zoe openly admit to (at leasy slightly) 'dumbing down' ABI5 for the mass audience.  (Not that there is anything wrong with what amounts to an introductory text mind you.)  Peter's ABED is the next step up, filling the gap between ABI5 and works like TBBA.

My only reservation is that the breads in the book don't look "great". I mean they look yummy and all, but no great hole structure. I wonder whether it's because of the cold retarding method.

I've been having some problems with consistency on that front myself, I suspect it's more because of degassing while shaping.

xaipete's picture

Don't get me wrong: I'm not knocking ABin5, which is a very nice book with a lot of interesting recipes. However, I did do a side by side testing of the master recipe in AB&5 against PR's basic Lean Bread, and found PR's technique to be superior in terms of taste.

I think the pictures of the breads in PR's book are very realistic. In other words, they are representative what the baker will turn out in his or her kitchen.

One of my most favorite breads in the book is the focaccia. It is a winner in terms of method, ease of making, and taste.


txfarmer's picture

I apologize for phrasing it badly - I don't mean the book is JUST ABin5 plus S&F, I meant the process of cold bulk fermentation for days, then taking out what you need to shape, proof, and bake is similar to ABin5, which is very convenient. I agree that the book aims at a more "bread savvy" audience.

I have no doubt the recipes in the book will produce great tasting breads, just wondering how much the quality would be different comparing to the more traditional recipes , such as in BBA. I will have to test it out myself and report back!

SallyBR's picture

I've been doing the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, and decided to adapt each of the recipes to the "folding" method instead of kneading, simply because it works better for me.


I will have to get his new book for sure!  (well, let's say I was looking for a good excuse to order yet another cookbook to join the ........... too many to count..... I already have all over the house!)    :-)


I need therapy

ronhol's picture

How about some feedback from those who have been using the ABED methods?

I've been using the ABI5 methods, and want to take the next step to ABED.

I'm waiting impatiently for my book to arrive next Monday.

My main issue with the ABI5 is damp and close crumb.

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

...was my first Reinhart book.  We eat mostly whole grain breads and the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread was the first all-whole grain loaf that I had good success with.  Since then, I've had even better loaves using the techniques in Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book. 

So...I recommend Artisan Breads Every Day.  It offers newbies like me valuable lessons (stretch and folding, retarding, etc..), has terrific recipes (like Chocolate Cinnamon Babka Kranz Cake), and all the other good stuff that comes with a Reinhart book. 


joyfulbaker's picture

Just a thought after all this badinage--"stretch and fold" is nothing new, with all due respect to Peter Reinhart.  It's in Baking With Julia (my freshman "class"), Maggie Glezer's Artisan Breads Across America (my senior "class"), and certainly in Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread" (my graduate school "class"), plus you can see the technique very clearly in master baker Mark Sinclair's tutorials (google "Back Home Bakery") out there in Kalispell, Montana (love those videos!).  I think the distinction between good and great bread comes from the way the sourdough starter or poolish or biga or other preferment is introduced and the way kneading is incorporated--or not.  (Important discovery re. KitchenAid stand mixer:  Don't go above speed 2 for breadmaking!  I learned the expensive way.)  The "no-knead" method did away with the "hard work," and Jim Lahey and Jeff and Zoe are to be congratulated for bringing lots of folks to the table--er--bench.  But I really have doubts about bread dough that's left in the fridge for 3 or 4 or 7 or 8 days--or more. 

That's my rant for the day.  My sourdough levain is rising . . .


fmlyhntr's picture

I am in the process of making Peter Reinhart's Everyday 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (the one in Artisan Breads Everyday) and it is trying to take over my refrigerator (it doubled in less than 1 hour in the fridge). Is the 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast correct?