The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kneading advice in Ohio

grahamcraker's picture

Kneading advice in Ohio

Ok, If this gets posted twice, my appologies. But it closed out on me as I was trying to send it. So..

I've been cooking since I was 12. And worked the Restaurant business for 27 years. 15 as a Chef. And in that time, I have dabbled on and off with bread making. But now I find myself using it in a new excercise and diet regimen. And I find myself a little behind on bread recipes, and techniques.

So. My question to the list here.

Which do you think is the best Bread Book? I have over 500 cookbooks, and not ONE Bread Book.

Looking for a book with techniques, and recipes. To help me grow my Bread making ability.

Thanks for you help.

occidental's picture

This question was posed a few days back and I believe the conclusion is there is simply not one 'best' book on bread.  Of course it depends on more variables than you post, (i.e. are you interested in sourdough, multigrain, no knead, or some other specialty) I believe any good bread book speaks to techniques as well as having a good cross section of formulas.  The best resource for help with techniques as well as a wide array of great formulas is this site of course.  That said, a couple books that you won't be dissapointed in are "Bread" by Hammelman and Bread Bakers Apprentice" by Reinhart. 

sphealey's picture

If you enter "bread book" in the search box you will get links to 20-30 threads on this topic, but given your background Hamelman's _Bread_ is probably the best choice.  If you have absolutely no experience with bread then you might start by taking Rose Levy Beranbaum's _The Bread Bible_ out of the library; her formulas are exact enough for a professional and she will give you the basic technique that Hamelman assumes you know.


niagaragirl's picture

Gotta go with Peter Reinhart and Bread Bakers Apprentice. Good recipes, good explanation of technique, and a great dose of good humor so that you don't get bored.

The book spans all ranges of skill from simpler stuff to expert. He speaks well to experts, yet does not condescend to novices.

Yumarama's picture

Since you're not inexperienced in the kitchen, this is likely a good book for you as it's a little bit more of a "How To" manual that does delve into the technical details and not so much a "recipe" book although there are plenty of those as well. It has no pages dedicated to pretty pictures although it has illustrated steps. 

It's an excellent resource for the whys and hows you'll come across.

And it will also work for people outside of Ohio. ;)

JoeV's picture

I fancy myself a pretty decent bread baker, despite starting from scratch just two short years ago. I have scoured the Internet to absorb as much information about bread as I could, and I had an epiphany of sorts once I received Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice as a gift. Reinhart’s progression of taking the baker from ignorance to competency is done in a simplistic, yet comprehensive way. I’m certain Levy and the others are equally competent in their teaching methods, but I found Reinhart’s method to be quite easy to follow. If you have all of the volumes mentioned at your local library, you could check them out and decide for yourself. I have even spent time in Border’s Bookstores reviewing different books while enjoying a coffee, and then deciding on the purchase. Book junky that I am, I usually end up buying more than I originally intended to.



LindyD's picture

Given your professional experience, I think you'll appreciate master baker Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread, a Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.

It will certainly improve your skills as well as give you an excellent background in technique.

ehanner's picture

In my opinion, Hamelmans "Bread" is the book any serious artisan bread maker should have and learn to enjoy. I've heard people say it was aimed at commercial bakers and that's partially true. However each bread has a 2 loaf recipe in addition to larger scaled quantities. Hamelman is an author who knows how to communicate well.

If you have 500 cook books, you know it isn't the recipe that matters. The technique is everything in baking. Jeff will give you everything you need to be a master in the craft.


Yerffej's picture

I have read all of the posts in this thread and agree with all of them.  Julia Child received instruction from Raymond Calvel and that is about as good as it gets on two counts,  great teacher in Calvel, and great student in Julia.  The  section on bread making in "Mastering The Art Of French Cooking" (Volume 2) is nothing short of spectacular.  You will be hard pressed to find better written instruction in any book. 

Hammelman and Reinhart have written excellent books.  This very subject of the "best book" has come up before and a search of previous posts will also help you.


flourgirl51's picture

I would suggest that you check out your local library to see if you can borrow a variety of books on the subject of bread baking. There are so many variables in bread making. You can give two different people the exact same ingredients and the breads will come out differently. People that knead by hand have different methods, body strengths etc. Then there is the various amount of equipment that comes into play with different bakers and again, everyone does it differently unless you have a professional bakery and even then no two bakers are exactly alike. Ovens vary greatly, whether you bake with electricity, gas or wood. Personal preferences in ingredients, methods etc all come into play when deciding what you want to bake.  In other words, you need to decide what types of breads that you enjoy eating and try to find recipes for those. Not everyone likes sourdough breads just as not everyone likes yeasted breads. This site offers a wealth of information and recipes. The internet in general opens up a world of recipes. I own just about every bread making book that there is and I don't have a favorite. I use them all for different recipes depending on what I want to bake. I got my start though through the local library system.

grahamcraker's picture

As I hoped. LOTS of great info. I do have Julia's book. And have made that bread. Someone hit the nail on the head here. After reading the replys, it came clear to me. I'm looking for Technique. Baking is so much more a science than cooking is. And that is what I'm looking for most. I can take a basket of ingredietns and do many different things, using all the classic cooking techniques. But put me in a bakery setting and I'm pretty clueless. I'd like to be as comfortable baking as I am cooking.

And I am a Kneader. I love to knead my breads. I love the feel of it. I love how I am getting to "know" what it's doing, how it's feeling. Being able to feel how warm it is, or how it is getting warmer or cooler as I'm kneading it. It is very Zen like for me. Almost like a form of meditation. As I learn more about the process, I really like the "feel" of making bread.

Thanks to all for your thoughts on this. And now I know where to look on the sight to answer many of my questions before I go to the list.