The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Book suggestion

00Eve00's picture
00Eve00

Book suggestion

Hello everyone.  I'm pretty new here but I've been reading everything I could on the site (and other sites) for a few weeks.  I've been baking bread nearly every day for the past two weeks.   I'm the kind of person who is not happy merely following a recipe, I want to know the science behind the ingredients and techniques.  I've been looking at a few books but don't know which would be the best investment as far as combination of science and recipes.  Here are the books I've narrowed down:


* Hamelman's "Bread"


* Reinhart's BBA


*Clayton's "Complete Book of Breads"


*Hensperger's "Bread Bible"


 


I know the last two have far more recipes but I don't know the quality of the technical information in comparison to Hamelman and Reinhart.  So I guess I'm asking if you could pick just one book that would teach you both in depth theory and application, which would you choose?


I should add that I tried to see if any of these books are at my library, but they are not.  


I hope that I'm not being too much of a pain in the butt LOL.  I just want to make a wise investment.


I really appreciate it.


Thanks a bunch,


Eve

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I don't think any of the books you mention address bread from a purely scientific aspect.  You might want to read TFL's book review of Bread Science, a book I've been meaning to add to my library.


Of the four you did mention, I believe you will receive the best education on ingredients and technique from Jeffrey Hamelman.


Welcome to TFL, by the way!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you want "bread science" at the level of a sophisticated professional baker, Hamelman fits the bill. If you want to dive a level or two deeper, you should consider Michel Suas' "Advanced Bread & Pastry," which was literally written as a text book for The San Francisco Baking Institute's classes for professionals.


I don't have Emily Buhler's book ("Bread Science"), but my impression is that this is aimed more at the bench scientist than the baker.


Happy baking!


David

00Eve00's picture
00Eve00

Thank you Lindy and David. :)  Both for the warm welcome and the book suggestions.


I do think I'm geared towards science as a rational for various methods and techniques in baking.  I don't want to know that you need to do "x,y and z" techniques and take it for what it is. I want to know why you need to do it....what are the implications.  So I would say that I'm aiming for a book at a level of professional a baker...just as David mentioned.


So I think that Hamelman and perhaps Saus might be my top two.


Thank you both.  I look forward to reading and learning more.  Take care. :)


Eve

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I would just add that the "science" of break baking, if by that you mean understanding why things work, not just what works, is more than chemistry and microbiology. It also includes the mechanics of kneading, shaping, scoring, and so forth.


I included this sort of information in the Bread Scoring Tutorial (updated 1/2/2009) I wrote for the TFL handbook. The information in the tutorial was gleaned, for the most part, from Hamelman's and Suas' books. Besides containing information many have found useful, reading it will give you a flavor for the kind of material to be found in those two outstanding books.


David

00Eve00's picture
00Eve00

That's a good point regarding the mechanics of kneading shaping and scoring.  I had been using the scoring tutorial for about a week (with my trusty box cutter) and while my loaves look a little mutated, I do notice they have more oven spring.


What I liked about the tutorial is that it explained why certain breads had different cuts and what will occur if you cut too deep...etc.  


I think that I'm going to get Hamelman.  It's good to know that I finally made a decision. LOL!


Thank you very much.


Eve

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

I'd have to agree that of the list you mention, Hamelman is the one I would choose. And then, when you want more context in which to place all that information, see if you can get hold of Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery, because she writes like a dream and has lots and lots of historical information.


James McGuire's articles are also very instructive, if you ever see any.


Jeremy

rolls's picture
rolls

how bout rosy beranbaum's bread bible,? scientific explanations as well as heaps of nice looking recipes.

00Eve00's picture
00Eve00

I wanted to thank everyone for the book suggestions.  I think I'm going to go with Hamelman's book.  


I have to say, asking all of you here is much better than sifting through amazon's customer's reviews.  Some of the reviews leave you scratching your head.


Thank you


Eve 

katzinchen's picture
katzinchen

I received this book as a gift. The information is not strictly limited to bread baking but is quite an interesting read as regards baking ingredients in general. It is a workbook type format with questions after each chapter.

00Eve00's picture
00Eve00

Thank you for the book info.  The workbook format sounds nice in the sense that it's very organized, whereas I am not :P


It's funny that since I started baking bread, my interest in cooking has increased as well.  I'm doing to so as to create more things to go with the bread....spaghetti, lasagna....hehe.


At some point I'll try laminated dough (for dessert).  But that's a long way off.


Thanks again.