The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Addicted to books....

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Jo_Jo_'s picture
Jo_Jo_

Addicted to books....

Ok, I admit, my bookshelves are literally crammed with books, and I know that I haven't finished reading the three I got for Christmas.  Bread Baker's Apprentice, King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, and Taste of Home Baking... all really nice books and this gives me TONS of recipes.  I am doing the BBA Challenge, so that has slowed me down from simply reading the book from cover to cover. Thing is, now that I have those books, what ones are next?  I was thinking the the whole grain one from Peter Reinhart, but I see so many other books that people are talking about that I am wondering what is the next step?  Which ones would be better for me to start with and then continue through?  For having baked bread as many years as I have, you would think that I would have a ton of them, but most of the ones I have are simply recipe books and don't even show weighing the ingredients. 


I am interested in grinding my wheat and am planning on getting a Nutrimill pretty soon, so I am trying to factor that into my choices.  Having ground some of my wheat in the past I know that it can change tried and true recipes into total disasters.  I prefer books that give me the science and explanations rather than something that simply gives me a recipe.  Don't get me wrong, recipes are good but when you have so much learning to do and nobody with the experience to teach you the art of breadmaking then reading books and forums is where you get 100% of your knowledge from. 


I have read through a lot of the reviews on TFL, and see a lot of enthusiasm for certain books, but I am still not certain what to buy next and why this one would be better than that one etc.  I am only allowing myself a few books a year now, sorta a book diet.


 

Comments

cpanza's picture
cpanza

Joann


I'm pretty attached to Carol Field's The Italian Baker. I worked pretty much exclusively from it for a year. Granted, there's no enticing food photography (stenciled drawings at best). But if you like Italian bread baking, it's a must (has some torte and biscotti recipes in the back).


www.akuindeed.com


 

proth5's picture
proth5

when I recommend "Bread, etc" by Jeffery Hamelman.


But you must read it - not just skip around.  And you must take the time to understand what he writes.  If I had put as much effort into electical physics as I did into understanding alveograph readings - well, I wouldn't have to settle for being what some people call an "imaginary engineer."


Happy Baking!

cpanza's picture
cpanza

Joann -


Do you mean this one?


http://tinyurl.com/6lx9uzc


Chris


www.akuindeed.com


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD


 I prefer books that give me the science and explanations 



Bread, a Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.


I guess I'll take it one step further than proth5 has and say that Bread is a book one should study, from cover to cover.


I wish it had been my first bread book because it explains so many things other authors do not. Would have saved me a lot of time and flour.


You can visit Amazon and take a look inside a few pages.

Jo_Jo_'s picture
Jo_Jo_

Hamelman's book is one I have been considering, so I'm glad to hear it has such good recommendations.  I am further convinced by the things that you have said, sounds like a book that would really teach me.  Thanks for responding, I really appreciate it.  I am going to make a list, probably on my Amazon wish list so my family will know the books that I would really like to have. 


Are there any that help with the conversion to baking with home ground whole wheat flour?  When I did it before I had a LOT of troubles getting a loaf that was actually edible, and I mean I made a TON of bricks.  I think that I couldn't get the mill to grind a fine enough flour and it cut the gluten strands, producing a solid loaf.  That is my theory anyway....


Joanne

cpanza's picture
cpanza

Thanks for the recommendation - I think I'll pick up the Hammelman book myself!

Chris


www.akuindeed.com


 

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Try autolysing.  I mill my own flour and that resting period -- an hour if you can do it -- is very, very helpful in hydrating the flour and making the dough behave more manageably.  Put all the ingredients together EXCEPT the yeast and salt, mix until blended and let it sit, covered.  Later you can adjust the hydration, add the yeast and salt and knead.  


Knead until the dough cleans the bowl, or nearly.  The dough should have a 'creamy' look now, and not look 'rough.'  Whole wheat dough is never going to look and feel as smooth as doughs with white flour only, but it should look and feel different, and be nice and stretchy.  If there isn't enough water in the dough, it will tear easily and be dry.  Add a little more water than you are used to, and knead a little longer than you are used to.  Try that with the autolyse and see if that improves your loaves.


Maggie Glezer, in her book, A Blessing of Bread, states that for every two cups of whole wheat flour you are substituting for white flour, you will need 1/3 cup additional water.  I made her Challah recipe this weekend, with a large of amount of whole wheat flour, and found this measurement to be true.  


Mary Clare in MO

Jo_Jo_'s picture
Jo_Jo_

Interesting.  It's been a while since I baked with fresh milled whole wheat flour, so I will keep that in mind.  I autolyse with most breads I make, but not for a full hour.  Thanks for the tips, I'm hoping to get a Nutrimill soon.  Hand cranked mills are just no fun, but I do have one.  I'm really itching to try it again....


Joanne

dmccoy1933's picture
dmccoy1933

Hey,


   I've been reading, or should I say studying the book Advanced Bread & Pastry which is actually the text book used at The San Francisco Baking Institute. It has tons and tons of information as well as recipes. It's a huge book but also around $60 or so but it's worth it!


 


                                                          -DJ

Jo_Jo_'s picture
Jo_Jo_

Thanks!  I'll definitely check it out.  I love books, so when I put myself on a book diet it's so very hard to choose only a few!  I am enjoying Bread Baker's Apprentice, and the recipes seem really good.  The first section was filled with a LOT of good information, and really gave me a lot to think about.  Improved my bread too...


I am definitely considering Hamelman's Bread, which seems to be a favorite here.  The thought of a textbook from an actual baking school intrigues me though...


Joanne

salma's picture
salma

After I discovered TFL I didnt feel the need to buy any bread books because I could get all the info and recipes right here.  After a while you cannot help but want to have some of the books talked about for easy reference and study.  I had bought Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain, the kids recently gave me The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  After reading a lot here I had to buy BREAD by Jeffrey Hamelman.  If I go to the library I have to check out bread books.  I got Baking Artisan Pastries & Breads by Ciril Hitz and made the best ever (made or bought) bran muffins, great pumpkin muffins, English Muffins that are delicate tasting and good even though they may not be Thomas's I liked them, Whole wheat cinnamon raisin bagels which I loved not so DH.  After making all these recipes from one book, I felt it only fair to buy it.  It was only about $15 at Amazon but I would have to pay shipping.  So I also ordered Baking Artisan Bread by Ciril Hitz because if I spend $25 I dont have to pay shipping.  I have not used it yet.  Another book that I have borrowed from the library 2x is Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer.  I looked at Amazon used books and could not resist the price of about $25. 


Too many breads to bake and too little time!!!


Salma