The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Best Bread Books

hk foodie's picture
hk foodie

Best Bread Books

Hello All,

This is my first post after 'lurking' around your great site for a while.  I am in Hong Kong and thanks to you all have a great starter and I am now making some fantastic San Francisco Sourdough.  I would really love to branch out with the bread making (I already make our everyday bread from instant yeast) and have a little night time reading. 

There appear to be many books out there on Bread Baking and Artisan Breads and I would love to buy problem in HK is that the book shops wrap their books in plastic so it is impossible to have a flick through the books.  I am thinking one or two of the Peter Reinhart books look good but would love to hear what people view as their favourites and most used books (I am also a sucker for lovely pictures in books - I like to know what my final product should look like).

I am sure this has been discussed before but I could only find individual recipe discussion from certain books, so I would really appreciate some advice &/or links.

Kind regards, Lisa

cranbo's picture

Try Teresa Greenway's free e-book "Discovering Sourdough", if you haven't got it yet (search the forums here for a link). 

Most people here I think find Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice (BBA) and Hamelman's "Bread" as the most popular, and possibly the most referenced. 

There's also lots of buzz about Chad Robertson's Tartine book. 

I like Reinhart's style, it's pretty lucid, have Artisan Breads Every Day and Whole Grain Breads.  Don't have Hamelman's or Robertson's books yet. 

High on my wish list (along with these 3) is DiMuzio's "Bread Baking". I like the style of that one a lot, I've flipped thru on Amazon & Google. 

MadAboutB8's picture

I am a sucker for cookbooks and have quite a few on bread-making. The book that I keep coming back to for recipes and techniquies is Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread. I think it's the book that every serious bread maker should have in their collection.


spsq's picture

I've taken zillions of bread books out of the library.  Try that, then pick!

jweissmn's picture

I have a lot of them.  Hamelman's is the best all-rounder.  A few underappreciated books are:

Martha Rose Shulman's Great Breads.  Predates the artisanal movement, but does use some fancy methods.  Every recipe reliable, and you can get good tasty results from them.

Anissa Helou's Savory Baking from the Mediteranean.  Covers a huge variety of flatbreads and savory rings and crackers and other such.  Authentic, lots of variety, and fascinating.

Beatrice Ojakangas' Scandinavian Baking and Whole Grain Breads by Hand or Machine.  Both excellent.  Check the errata on the whole grain book, as there were some errors introduced by automated formatting.

hk foodie's picture
hk foodie

Thank you for all your suggestions.  I will definitely get BBA and Hamelman's Bread.  I really appreciate your help. and will start on those 2 books before I branch out to the others.  They all sound fantastic.

As for the library suggestion......not a newly arrived expat in HK, I haven't ventured that far but in general there isn't a lot of home baking done here (most people only have tiny little bench top ovens!).


flournwater's picture
MommaT's picture


If I had to give up all my bread baking books except one, the survivor would be Jeff Hamelman's "Bread".  I like the combination of description of science/process and reliable recipes.  I find that with this book I have the confidence to play around a bit with the recipes.   This may be due to the organization, which has 'families' of breads together, allowing one to easily see how variations are made.

Good luck!  I also have a large shelf full of bread baking books that I venture into when time permits, but Hamelman is the one that keeps me going when life is busy.


hk foodie's picture
hk foodie

That is great to hear MommaT as I ordered 'Bread' yesterday!  Now I will ,just impatiently await it's arrival. 


evth's picture

Another must have is Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible. And all the books mentioned in the above comments are awesome.

oceanicthai's picture

thanks for another piece of helpful advice

deni999's picture

I have about a dozen bread books - my top five (in order) are Jeffery Hamelmman's "Bread" (consistenly the best results), Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice", Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Bread Bible", Maggie Glezer's "Arrtisan Baking Across America" and Dan Leader's "Local Breads"

jcking's picture

For someone starting out my choice is Beranbaum's Bible. I own all the other books mentioned, all great, yet she baked all her recipies at home which most of us are doing. She can get you up and running without too much "tech stuff" which will make more sense as you gain experience.


hk foodie's picture
hk foodie

Thanks evth, deni999 & Jim,

I'll go & order the The Bread Bible.  I am finding some of the recipes are a little technical for me at this stage so I like the idea of 'home baking' recipes.

Thanks to everyone for all your great input.


deni999's picture

You'll like her book  - it is very thorough   One can envision that she is an intense person - some of her techniques, I've only seen in her book.


You might enjoy her blog at

gary.turner's picture

I own ten or eleven of the popular bread books by Reinhart, Hamelman, Berenbaum, Robertson, Suas and who knows who else.

For a beginner, I think I'd recommend Berenbaum's "Bread Bible" as a first book. Be aware there is another book by the same title by someone else, so be careful. This is not to denigrate the other book, but I don't have it, so can't recommend it. The reason I suggest it first is that it will get you to baking bread without a lot of hoo-hoo. The appendices at the back of the book are just about worth the price of admission on their own.

Next, I'd go with Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" or "Crust and Crumb". Either will add to your technical knowledge, and each will serve as a gentle introduction to more advance techniques.

By this time you should be better than the average home, and maybe even commercial, baker. Get Hamelman's "Bread". This book will take you into the nitty gritty of serious bread baking. It comes highly regarded for a reason; it's that good. I do not recommend it as a first or even second book for a home baker.

Finally, as the one book I would take if I were crossing the continent in a covered wagon, and had to leave behind all possessions not absolutely required for the trek, Michel Suas's "Advanced Bread and Pastry". This is not a book for the beginner, and it is not a cookbook in the usual sense. It is a textbook meant to teach the whys and wherefores of baking to students of baking at the commercial level. 



basslakebaker's picture

Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day is a good place to begin.  Lots of good recipes, easy directions and the timing fits well for busy people.  His recipes are flexible for cold fermentation period... which I appreciate.  I love Daniel Leader's Local Breads, too.  Those would be my first choices for easy to follow recipes.

hk foodie's picture
hk foodie

Thanks again everyone for your help and suggestions. 

A big thanks to Gary for his detailed reply.  Gary, you are correct......I bought Hamelman's 'Bread' and Reinharts 'Bread Baker's Apprentice' and they are really interesting to read and I have attempted some of the recipes but with limited success.  I have found the bread is just ok.  I have no doubt from what everyone has said that the recipes are amazing but I feel at this stage that the recipes are just a bit too technical for my experience.

I have followed deni999's suggestion to look at the realbakingwithrose blog (really interesting) and I will now purchase her Bread Bible. 

Again, I really appreciate everyone's help with the suggestions.

deni999's picture

Here's a few other bread links that I've found interesting/useful


San Francisco Baking Institute
Bread Bakers Guild of America
Artisan Bread Recipes     
Bread Bakers                
Dan Lepard on bread     
King Arthur                   
Ye olde bread blog        

rhomp2002's picture

If his recipes result in what I saw from the testers, that should be a book well worth buying.  I already have it bookmarked so that when they tell us it is released I will be ready to order immediately.

deni999's picture

What's the name of the book and who is the author?   Can't find it based on your description.  Thanks,  Dave

rhomp2002's picture


THis is one of multiple links to the book that is in progress.  Stan Ginsberg of New York Bakers is doing the book with Norm of Onion Rolls fame.  There was a whole megillah of testing going on with the recipes from the book which is why it looks like a winner to me.

Pop N Fresh's picture
Pop N Fresh

You can not go wrong with anything by Perter Reinhart!

But in the last year I have become a huge fan of "How To Bake Bread; The Five Families of Bread" by Michael Kalante

From the forward by Peter Reinhart: "Michael's gift is taking complex methods and ... explaining them clearly" 

Great step by steps instructions & images perfect for bakers of all leavels.

rhomp2002's picture

If anyone wants to get The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz, I found it on sale online for $9.98.  They also have the book The Village Baker's Wife by Joe Ortiz's wife for the same price.  The item number for her book is 10615 and for his is 10614.  Good people to deal with.

Doc.Dough's picture

And have not opened either one since the first reading.

Hamelman is my go-to source book, though my first sourdough book was Nancy Silverton, and my second was Dan Wing's Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves...

I still bake Silverton's Chapeau rolls for formal dinners.

Bread Builders is about inspiration and understanding.


squeakpickle's picture

My go-to bread book isn't new, hip and full of sexy photographs.  It is an out-of-print published in the 1960's by Dolores Casella.  The title is "A World of Bread".   The recipes are all good, and include yeast and quick breads.  No pictures, just some illustrations and lots and lots of information, whether you want to make Swedish Beer Rye, or Parmesan Bubble Loaf, or a basic Brioche.  A good companion is another of her titles, "A World of Baking".  I never bother with my James Beard book, but Casella's have gotten a workout for decades - you can still find used copies on Amazon. 

David Griffin's picture
David Griffin

Hi all, my first post here also..

How are the Original Posters Baking Endeavors coming along?

So the List so far seems to be:


Jeffrey Hamelman - Bread

Rose Levy Beranbaum - The Bread Bible

Peter Reinhart - The Bread Baker's Apprentice

Daniel Leader - Local Breads

Dan Wing - Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves


Free: Teresa Greenway's  "Discovering Sourdough"

Martha Rose Shulman - Great Breads

Nancy Silverton - Breads from the La Brea Bakery

Anissa Helou - Savory Baking from the Mediteranean

Beatrice Ojakanga - The Great Scandinavian Baking Book

Beatrice Ojakanga - Whole Grain Breads by Hand or Machine

Michael Kalante - How To Bake Bread; The Five Families of Bread

Chad Robertson - Tartine

Peter Reinhart - Crust and Crumb

Michel Suas - Advanced Bread and Pastry

Dolores Casella - A World of Bread

Joe Ortiz - The Village Baker

Joe Ortiz - The Village Baker's Wife

Future Release:

Stan Ginsberg - New York Bakers Book


does that look about right? maybe someone can put them in a better order..

i was very surprised to not see my only two books mentioned.  Wayne Gisslen's Professional Baking, and John Wiley & Sons Baking & Pastry: Mastering the Art & Craft

those are the only two dedicated baking books I have, neither is dedicated only to breads... ir eally love those books, i think they are the best on the market... but I'd also like to Pick up some other nice artisan bread books.. maybe someone could recommend the appropriate book.

I'm also an expat living near HK, so i dont want a ton of books.. i'd like one or two, maybe 3 great books, here's what i'm looking for..

I'd like a book that talks about hearth stone baking, and hopefully how to design & build a proper hearthstone oven etc...

I'm interested in Artisan bread making, particularly sourdough

I'd love a book that really discusses techniques, special shapes, designs, etc, for things like decorative bread bowls, and other things..

I'd like something with a great pretzel recipe...

Also something with a fantastic pizza dough

I'm interested in flat breads, particularly ones which incorporate potato, such as Lefse or Boxty, or potato pizza doughs.. but i'm also very interested in pita, Doner wraps, even tortillas, etc..

and a book for heavy, hearty, dense, large Pullman loaves for sandwich building...

I enjoy information and technical stuff, but as i'm an expat in asia, I'm using basic counter-top ovens and not much variety on ingredients.. so recipes with exotic flours and what not are likely not going to be so useful for me.. unless theres a book that talks about ways to grind and mill your own flours from raw grains at home, which i'd love to do.. and i'm most interested in whole-grain, multi-grain, and grain-nut breads

i'm not a novice, i've been a professional baker for many years doing mostly pastries & cakes and hotel breads etc...  but my space is limited, and i dont have room for a proofer, etc.. so something which can be done in the home kitchen might be best suited, rather than books that tout the use of specialized or expensive equipment..

ok, well, any advice on what books might be best suited, and a priority-ordered list would be greatly appreciated..

thanks alot..



David Griffin's picture
David Griffin

Other books that caught my attention were:

Jeffrey Hertzberg - Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking  - this one just popped up on amazon, might be too simple...

and these 3 by Peter Reinhart i didnt see mentioned: Whole Grain Breads, American Pie, Artisan Breads Fast, i wonder how they compare to 'The Bread Bakers Apprentice" and "Crust & Crumb".. also wondering how Crust & Crumb compares to Bread Baker's Apprentice

and also "Bread Alone" by Dan Leader, and how does it compare to his second book : "Local Breads"

anyone have any experience with those books?


David Griffin's picture
David Griffin

so far i seem partial and tentative to:

The Bread Builders

The Great Scandinavian Baking Book - anyone know of a better Scandinavian baking book?


Bread Alone -or- Local Bread

The Bread Baker's Apprentice

and Maybe the Bread Bible

but i'd really like to narrow this list down to 3 books, or perhaps replace some of them with better ones

if you'd replace any of the above books with a different book, let me know.. and feel free to pick your top 3 or 5 or sort the list into a purchase priority

also entertaining replacing the above purchases with the larger 'Advanced Bread and Pastry' book for the same price as most of the other ones combined.. but i think it will be largely a repeat of what is contained in Gisslen's & Wiley's Professional Baking books

thanks alot



Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

Not having read the entire post, i can't comment on anything anyone else said.

I personally learned a lot from a number of books, BUT in the end of the day that pales in comparison to the amount i have learned AWAY from the books.

When i 1st started making sourdough I turned to books, and had a horrbile time at it.  After a few tries with book recipes i stoped, and went back to the simple bakers math I had learned for making yeasted loaves, and the simpler rules of mixing, proofing to double, shaping, proofing again using finger poke, and then baking.

The hands on experience of doing this brought on more knowledge than i ever could take in from a book.  I learned everything I neded to know about how to make what I wanted.

Not sure where I was going when I started this post...haha. Just saying what has worked best for me I guess.

Books are great, they lay down a foundation, use your mind to expand upon that foundation.(suppose that was my messge all along?)

David Griffin's picture
David Griffin

cool, thanks..

experience is definitely king, and experimentation makes kings..

but i realy enjoy good cooking-related books, i like to see the ideas of others, see what works for them, i definitely dont take recipes as they are, and i dont believe in copying other peoples recipes, even from a book... but i do like to put together as many good sources as possible, see what veins run similar throughout, and what variations and adjustments various authors have made, then compile my own set of recipes..

i'm a fan of compiling my recipes on paper, notes, thoughts, experimentations, theories etc, before ever going into the kitchen.. i like writing my own stuff and keping it wel bound in a nice place with all my own notes and variations..

but i'm a huge fan of books.. i love them outright.. and the more knowledge you get from books, the better off you'll be in the kitchen, and the more thoroughly comprehended and methodical the procedure and end product..

i appreciate your input.. feel free to post any links to any other info you may have.. your very own bread blog even..

i read the books in my free time, at a cafe, 2 or 3 books at a time, then compile the information on my laptop in my own words with my own thoughts and reasoning and clarifications.. its just what i do.. now i'm into bread..

i've been through the same process for charcuterie, fromagerie, cakes & Pastries and basic bread stuff, vegetable pickling, and countless other things .. i'm just not satisfied with my level of bread making, particularly without measurements.. alot of people like it, i just want to get better, be the best I can...

feel free to share experience or tips on eyeing ingerdients, etc.. all of its appreciated.. thanks

sandydog's picture

Lisa and David,

I have a friend who has almost all the books mentioned above - and I have borrowed a lot of them to help with my own breaducation.

I find merit in all of them (In their own way) but my favourite is Hamelman's "Bread" because his style fits my personality and character traits better than most others - Oh, and his recipes are really reliable if you simply convert his commercial sizes down to the level you wish to bake at.  It is impossible to predict who you will get most benefit from as there are as many preferred learning styles as there are authors/books.

In the same way that if you meet 100 new people you will really like 2 or 3 of them better than the others, then bread baking books are the same - Metaphorically speaking they all (Well nearly all) have two arms (Yeast/salt) and two legs (Flour/water) but will seem completely different to you when you meet/read them.

Please do not waste too much of your valuable baking time agonising over which one to buy - just pick the one(s) you like the look of and get right at it - Pretty soon your experience will have put you in a much better place to know ifyou need to buy any more.

I would expect that, once you have baked a few hundred times, you  will begin to get a feeling for some of the descriptions of how the dough is described in the books - It is impossible for most of us ordinary folks to get a good feeling of any subject (Not just bread making) without a lot of hours practice.

Additionally - And I can not stress this enough - I have to say that I learned more from having lessons from (And continuing discussions with) an experienced baker who could stand with me and demonstrate what the words in the book really meant and what the actual feel of a dough is like rather than just reading about it - It is worth paying for good tuition.

I now do a bit of teaching myself (This is not an advert - I do it for charity) and my students tell me that they usually learn more in one session of "Hands on" tuition than they do in weeks of reading a book. 

Just "Go for it" and good luck.




David Griffin's picture
David Griffin

thanks for the reply..

so you've read through most of them?

i really am interested in books which sepcifically:

  1. have the best pretzel recipes
  2. have the best american-style wood-oven pizza doughs, not the italian cracker..
  3. have potato-bread recipes
  4. go over specific new and creative ideas for bread makeup, shapes, etc.. with detailed sketches of the entire make-up
  5. go over the fundamentals and design basics of building your own Wood-Burning Hearth Oven
  6. have alot of whole grain, multi-grain, and nut-grain breads
  7. discuss milling and grinding your own flours and meals from whole raw grains
  8. have dense, heavy, hearty large pullman recipes for sandwich building
  9. have a variety of different flat breads, and unleavened breads
  10. also love to have a great scandinavian baking book...
  11. embodies the american artisan-class revival

so, thats pretty much it

again, I'm a professional baker & chef, who's worked in 5-star hotels and the like.. so dont be afraid to hit me with technical stuff

as for the hands-on stuff, i am very comfortable handling and making up a variety of breads and pastries, i'm definitely not lacking in the hands-on experience, i got that totally covered...

just looking for pretty much very specific information, as detailed above..

i appreciate all your advice and help, thanks alot..

please tell me which books of your friends you've read that touch on what information, if u can..



sandydog's picture


Wonderful that you have the hands-on side of baking a variety of breads well covered (Wish I could say the same for myself) that piece of information should stop folks wasting your time with gratuitous, uneccessary advice.

With regard to your request for details of  the "Best ofs" and your other points 1-11 above, I am afraid I believe that I can not help you with that either.  

The difficulty is that most, if not all, this stuff is purely a matter of opinion - And of course all the many books listed above really boil down to what the respective authors opinion is, as to the best recipe, at any given time, unless we are to believe they are publishing recipes which are, in their opinion, not their best. Even with building ovens/milling grains etc etc you find many ways of doing it and supporters in all camps prepared to say this or that is best - How to make a choice?

Apologies, if I do not express myself very clearly - perhaps if I take your own words as an illustration;

"i was very surprised to not see my only two books mentioned.  Wayne Gisslen's Professional Baking, and John Wiley & Sons Baking & Pastry: Mastering the Art & Craft

those are the only two dedicated baking books I have, neither is dedicated only to breads... ir eally love those books, i think they are the best on the market..."

For you to say they are the best books on the market kind of implies that you have compared them with other books, which in your opinion are not as good - Were any of them the books already listedd by TFL posters above? And what do you think it means that no one else has chosen to rate them/your favourites highly?         Simply matters of opinion!

Anyway, that's enough bulls*** out of me - I have found the folks on this site are extremely generous with their help and advice - You may find(Like me) that it does not always work in different countries with different ingredients, batch sizes, equipment and climactic conditions etc etc - But that is where your extensive skill and experience will come into play - Big time.

Once again, Good luck with your eventual choices.                                                                                                                                             



David Griffin's picture
David Griffin

thanks brian..

I don't take any advice as gratuitous or uneccessary advice, its all appreciated.. just because i'm a professional doesnt mean i know everything, or have nothing left ot learn, or cant benefit from anyone's ideas. indeed, i'm sure there are many stay-at-home mothers who are far more accomplished in a far greater spectrum of baking than i am, and that advice is really priceless.. you should never feel that a 'professional' is some sort of all-knowing guru... we just get to do what we love to do for a living, that's all.. which is fortunate.. but there are many hobbyists in the world who excel at many other things better than people who do them for a living.. 

when i say 'the best', i'm open to hearing what anyone else feels is 'the best' .. there should be, given enough time, trial, and debate, an emerging general concesus as to which books provide the most liked pizza dough and pretzels by most of the reviewers online, most of the time..

regarding the books, they are, in fact, "the best" in that they are the most Authortative books on the subject, in English, ever printed, to date. thats not my feeling, but just an Industry fact. Gisslen & Wiley (or Gisslen and the CIA, and other Wiley & Sons Educational Publications, rather) are simply amazing educators which have been used to educate the overwhelming majority of American Chefs.. they are just awesome.. lets not talk down about books that have literally molded american culinary arts.. they are the best at what they do... provide a first-class education, and build outstanding foundations.. they dont go into exceedingly great detail in specialized areas, and for that, you need other sources, such as:

  • recipes handed down from other chefs
  • notes from other chefs
  • cookbooks printed by other chefs containing their recipes
  • recipes perfected by trial in error by industry professionals in industrial kitchens
  • recipes perfected by trial and error by home-makers in their home kitchens
  • etc

and I did specify "American-style" for the pizza dough, indicating that it should not be crispy throughout, nor a thin cracker shuttle for exporting toppings from the plate to your mouth.. 

along these lines, i'm looking for a pizza dough thats a bit more of a New York-style pizza dough.. or a pizza dough thats a potato-grain hybrid..

I know there are countless variations on pizza from around the world, including substituting potato flour, or other flours for all or part of the white wheat bread flour, and subsitituting milk, vodka, and other beverages and liquids for all or part of the water... adding honey/sugar/molasses and/or a type of oil.. then there is the actual ratio of ingredients.. then theres endless aditional flavorings.. and then the types of yeast and how their mixed.. whether or not it gets a sourdough starter..  as well as how heavy your potion of finished dough is compared to the circumference of your pizza, i.e., how thin/thick you make it .. and then theres how its proofed, handled, and stored after make-up.. etc.. the combinations are really quite literally endless

and then, depending on the type of dough really depends on how you can cook it..  if the pizza dough can handle it, then i generally make my pizzas right on a peel with a bit of small-coarse cornmeal then bake it directly on a stone.. however, if i feel the end product on a stone results in an overly crispy crust for a certain dough, i'll always start the pizza on an appropriately-sized pizza screen,  for the necessary amount of time, then remove the screen and finish the crisping on the stone for another specific amount of time, depending entirely on the dough type, and the portion of the dough disk

for sure, nobody can tell me which pizza is 'the best' for me.. it was a question to you, which do you feel is the best.. regardless of the recipe, there are additions or adjustments i always make..

for starters, i find that about any pizza dough recipe benefits from the addition of boiled, peeled, milled potato

additionally, i largely prefer pizza doughs with a sourdough starter incorprated..

and there are other adjustments and substitutions i like to make, based on my own personal preferences for texture, flavor etc

but i like experimenting with other types of pizza dough.. i myself often make different pizza doughs, yes, sometimes even a very simple italian-style one.. i like variety, and i like to hear the ideas and opinions of others..

so dont sell yourself short, Brian.. i'd love to have your own take on a perfect pizza dough, or which book you personally feel is the best as-is recipe for what the author feels is a 'prefect pizza' and many people also agree... or they dont have to a gree, just feel free to jump right in with your own ideas..

but in general, for my preferences, i prefer books with recipes which are not italian-style, but are Italian/Jewish-immigrant-to-the-USA-style..

I'm looking for recipes on pizza doughs which:

  • achieve a clean & smooth "Window Test"
  • are easy to spin-toss in the air, with just that right combination of give & gluten development
  • are creative, and have new ideas on ingredients, formulas, etc
  • not thin and crisp throughout
  • not thick and "bready" and too filling
  • are easily workable, and work the way i feel a pizza dough should..i.e. not too wet or too dry..

thats really quite narrowed down, Brian, its not 'anyone's favorite', actually... even if its not your favorite kind, but you know of a book with such recipes as fit the above criteria, please let me know..

and the same holds true for pretzels, except pretzels you really can say "Are great", in the same way you can say bagels are.. yet pretzels are even less forgiving than bagels.. i'd love to find a great soft-pretzel recips without resorting to chemical additives or special-order ingredients.. i dont know if such a recipe exists in a book, but if anyone has found soft pretzels that keep well, and even discuss pretzel salt.. i'd love to find that book.. or whatever anyone feels personally is 'the best' ;)

so just personal feelings are fine, and if you've heard of a general concensus or have your own passionate opinions, please let me know!

thanks again!



gary.turner's picture

i really am interested in books which sepcifically:

  1. have the best pretzel recipes
  2. have the best american-style wood-oven pizza doughs, not the italian cracker..
  3. have potato-bread recipes
  4. go over specific new and creative ideas for bread makeup, shapes, etc.. with detailed sketches of the entire make-up
  5. go over the fundamentals and design basics of building your own Wood-Burning Hearth Oven
  6. have alot of whole grain, multi-grain, and nut-grain breads
  7. discuss milling and grinding your own flours and meals from whole raw grains
  8. have dense, heavy, hearty large pullman recipes for sandwich building
  9. have a variety of different flat breads, and unleavened breads
  10. also love to have a great scandinavian baking book...
  11. embodies the american artisan-class revival 

By the numbers:

  1. Most of the books listed here have a pretzel recipe or two. At heart, a pretzel is a low hydration, lean dough. It is shaped and chemically treated (yes, I saw where you said no chemicals, etc., but pretzels are treated with an alkali bath, limewater (calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2), Lye (sodium or potassium hydroxide), or more commonly in the household kitchen, since lye is difficult to get now, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). The purpose is to hydrolyze the surface starch molecules; break the molecule and add H+ to one end and OH- to the other, making maltose and simpler sugars.
  2. See Reinhart's American Pie.
  3. Nearly all bread books have potato bread(s). Search this forum, as there are a pot load of recipes from the denizens.
  4. Bread forms are universally covered, at least for the basics. YouTube has more examples than you can shake a stick at.
  5. Wood fired ovens are a special area of expertise. There will be some info on this forum, but this is not a bread-making subject, except in passing.
  6. Whole grain,seeds, and nuts are common to nearly all bread books to one degree or another.
  7. Milling is a specialty area. Better you should scour the web. Do not forget to search this forum; there are millers here.
  8. Pullman sandwich loaves should be thought of as light and fluffy, but with small, regularly spaced alveoli. It should only appear dense. For example, see txfarmer's sourdough version.
  9. Flat breads tend to be specialty items; they get mention and a recipe or two, but a specialty cookbook is more likely to help.
  10. Scandinavian breads are another specialty item, though searching this forum will yield good results.
  11. The American artisan movement is at least touched on in most American texts. Look for "artisan" or "hearth" in the title, then view Amazon reviews and ask about specific titles here.

You're not going to meet your stated needs/desires in two or three books. As an experienced baker, go with Hamelman or Suas, as being the more technical and providing a platform on which you will be qualified to build.



David Griffin's picture
David Griffin

thanks Gary, I just got my books delivered in the mail less than an hour ago..

i opted for 2 books, "Bread" and "The Bread Baker's Apprentice"

i'm pretty happy just flipping through them.. i like the amount of braiding, tiers, lattices, and decorative things in "Bread"..

i just about got the Bread Builder's book, but i really just wanted to flip through that one for like 30 seconds to probably satiate my need to know.. just being far from a bookstore where i can do that, but probably cant be justified.. if i started buying every book i really wanted to peak at i'd be in big trouble.. i can wait til i'm on holiday back in america or, like u said, scour the web...

my main problem was i didnt have acces to youtube, but i'm kind of around the geat firewall at the moment, so ya, youtube instructionals are what i'm going to be all about for a while..

by dense pullman, i wasnt referring to some health food store denseness, just the really high-quality, restaurant-grade strong bread that doesnt get soggy very easily, and isnt like the softer wonder-bread stuff, but something with really strong texture.. i'm sure they are using highly technical bread conditioners in those.. but i just mean dense for a pullman, as dense as pullman's come..

you seem to know quite a bit about pretzels.. i heard that baking soda didnt produce very sellable pretzels.. i dont suppose you'd mind going into detail about pretezel make-up and baking??

really, youtube is a big help now.. i think i'm still partially interested in getting either "Bread Alone" or "Local Bread", if anyone knows which of those are better..

i did see that "american pie" book.. i found it kind of hard to believe he found so many perfect pizza dough recipes it made an entire book.. i did look at 3 of his freely offered pizza dough recipes on his site, and i dont think any of them are very good.. so etiher he knows that and wants u to buy the book for the actually good ones, or he really cant find good pizza dough, and the entire book is filled with strange stuff he happened upon.. either way, i dont think i need 100 pizza dough recipes.. i'd prefer one guy to stand behind his one recipe. i'll try the ones in the books i got today, the one in "bread" looks pretty great.. it incorporates a Biga.. that's really more my kind of pizza... so i'm happy with that for now..

as for the whole grains and nuts one, i was thinking something denser than orowheat, more heavily populated with chopped nuts and whole seeds, with whole grains and brans etc.. not in a pullman variety, but just super dense, the kind that retains moisture..

Thanks for your reply, it was very nice.. So, I'm still likely in the market for 2 or 3 more great books if i can find the right ones..

I added this site to my facebook.. i'll check back often, maybe we can chat again..




deni999's picture

In case you missed it, the second edition of "Bread" came out this week - includes 30 new breads.  Here's the Amazon link