The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's "Bread"

kdwnnc's picture

Hamelman's "Bread"

Today I finally got Bread by Jeffery Hamelman from the library!  I have only read a few pages, but I can already tell that it is going to be a fantastic book.  I already own two bread books, one of them being The Bread Bible by RLB, but I can't wait to bake from this one (isn't it cruel that the library deadline for returning is two weeks?).  But I suppose I could always renew it.  The big chalenge is going to be deciding what to bake from it first!  I want to make something unlike anything I have ever made before (such as focaccia, which I make a lot of), but please, please, please give me suggestions!  Is the cibatta recipe good?  I have only tried making ciabatta once, and it definately could have come out better.  I have never made baguettes either; should I try a recipe for them from this book? 

Now I am anxious for when I get a scale in a few weeks!



wally's picture

You've chosen a wonderful book written by one of the best bakers alive!  Read all of it (prior to the recipes) before baking and you'll be the wiser.

Ciabatta, as you'll discover in his book, is the same dough from which focaccia is made.  But it's a different bread after baking!

The more I work my way through his recipes, the more I enjoy all of them.

But, for a starter, you cannot go wrong with his recipe for the traditional pain au levain.

I was fortunate enough to take a course with him last year at KAF, and this was one of the breads we baked.  It's a wonderful bread and a fitting introduction to Bread.


LindyD's picture

All of the recipes are excellent and just about foolproof provided you follow his instructions.

Your best bet is to study the text, from page four (and pay special attention to the first paragraph in step two on page five because it makes a big difference) through 62 and if you're going to play with rye, pages 188-193.

If you have a sourdough culture going, his Vermont sourdough (p 153) is wonderful.

If not, check out page 249 for the easy fold-in-the-bowl French bread.  

Check out the TFL blogs - there are recent postings about some of JH's formulas.

Happy reading and baking!

AW's picture

I love the rustic bread (p 115), the soft butter rolls (p 258) and the oatmeal bread (p 236).

Here are my notes for you:

  • Rustic bread: Preferment looks dry but is perfect, rye is subtle but nice, seems more healthful than country bread or pain rustique, use 3.2 oz of whole rye flour and whole wheat flour in the final dough (there appears to be a typo 7/8 cup and 3/4 cup, respectively, though difference is negligable)
  • Oatmeal bread: Very nice, not sweet, lovely for toast, walnuts would be a nice addition, grease loaf pans if they are nonstick
  • Soft butter rolls: Very soft, lovely, bulk fermentation took not 2 hours but 1 (kitchen was cold [November]), could this be made with whole wheat?

I totally agree with everything those who've already commented say. Have fun!

sphealey's picture

Pain au Lavain with Whole Wheat Flour, and Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain are two that work well for me.


varda's picture

I had made semolina bread a few times using other methods.  Hamelman's is pretty simple, can be made in one day, and tastes delicious.

Glare Seethe's picture
Glare Seethe

The Mixed Flour Miche and the Potato Bread with Roasted Onions are two that have stood out for me out of the ~40 that I've done so far.

kdwnnc's picture

Thanks for all your wonderful suggestions.  I think I will try his formula for a sourdough starter once I finish reading the beginning of the book.