The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

If you could only buy one Bread book, What would you buy for (discounted) $30 or less ??

dolcebaker's picture

If you could only buy one Bread book, What would you buy for (discounted) $30 or less ??

I have a zillion (or it seems like) books, mostly pastry and cake oriented, textbooks, and King Arthur Flour. KAF is aimed at the American home baker, which is fine, but I really want a book aimed at the professional with larger quantities, gram measure, maybe less story and more technique.  I see reference to a lot of books I don't have.  The only book I have with real bread is "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field.  I want to buy a bread book, that deals with bread conditioners, gram measure, more than 1 or 2 loaves and scaling, by a Master Bread Baker.   I want to know why something is done and why something is better than something else or what I can use if I don't have it.   In essence.. 2,000 years of bread baking experience in one book under $30.  Maybe this should be in books, but I thought a bread forum would have the people who actually use it. 


Salilah's picture

I'd go for Hamelman's Bread - probably the most technical of the books I have, and also he does give recipes for larger quantities as well as for home baking...


thomaschacon75's picture

Seconded, but don't buy it used. There are a lot of printings out there, and you want a recent one that's corrected the errata.

If you do buy it used, download the long errata sheet that Mr. Hamelman publishes. 

Errata sheet, in this context, is a good thing. It says he's diligent about correcting errors when they're found. And he is.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and get lots of mileage out of it.

HeidiH's picture

Librarians are often looking for recommendations of books to get.  Ask at the desk how to recommend a book and whoever is there should get you to the right suggestion form or person to take your suggestion.  It helps if you say why you recommend the book.  If you are looking for an older specific cookbook and you library doesn't have it, they may be able to borrow it for you on interlibrary loan.  In some library systems, you may need to go to the main library branch to so this.  If you are having trouble finding a particular cookbook, send me a message.  As an old dyed-in-the-wool librarian I might be able to help look.

dolcebaker's picture

I have a library card, and have been meaning to go.  The last time I looked for a book there they had so very few cooking books, but my branch is not very large.  I will do a search of their books.  Thanks!

richkaimd's picture

I recommend textbooks.  For a beginner I recommend DiMuzio's Breadbaking.  It explains everything concisely.  I like texts better than cookbooks. (That's not to saythat I don't have more than my fair share of bread cook books.)  And DiMuzio's shorter and, to me, better for beginners.  I got it on sale at a Border's close-out.


dolcebaker's picture

 I forgot about them... Are they done now?  I will have to check.  Thanks for the suggestion, I have a textbook or two, but none of them even mention conditioners, additives and how to use them.  How much citric acid? in all doughs?  Stuff like that.  The textbooks teach basic how to,  technique and give formulas for example, that is there intention to my observation.

Thank you for the suggestion.

lumos's picture

I think it depends on what stage of breadmaking 'career' you ar at, but if you 'really want a book aimed at the professional with larger quantities, gram measure, maybe less story and more technique,'  I'd go for  Hamelman's 'Bread' or DiMuzio's 'Bread Baking.'  If you haven't had any of that sort of book, DiMuzio's book may be easier to get necessary, basic information from because it's writtne in more concise way with lots of photos to show what the text means.  But the ultimate one is Hamelman's, I think, though it took me a while until I've come to understand and appreciate it better. 

So, sorry,  but get these two....eventually. :p


Janetcook's picture

I second what Lumos stated above.

If you are using whole grains - then Peter Reinhart's  'Whole Grain Breads' is a must.

Also second the library suggestion.  I always go there first.  GIves me a chance to work with a book before deciding if I want to purchase it or not.

Have Fun :-)


Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I'd look for Reinhart's books there as he gives a bunch of info, but his recipes are usually in cups and ounces.  Hamelman's is a terrific book as well and fits your described needs perfectly.  I have Carol's The Italian Baker, but didn't find it that helpful.


richawatt's picture

I would buy "bread" 


flournwater's picture

Hands down, Peter Reihharts "The Bread Baker's Apprentice".  It's a primer but the information in that one book can lead the interested bread baker through enough experiences that, if he/she pays attention, will prepare him/her for striking out into greater adventures with the self confidence needed to succeed without using a book.

And, you can get from most libraries.

Yerffej's picture

It should come as no surprise that this very question has surfaced many times.  Here is one of those previous discussions.


tgrayson's picture

I don't think any of the books mentioned discusses those things.  The only one I have that does is "Advanced Bread and Pastry" by Suas.

dolcebaker's picture

After much thought, and many recommendations... I was pretty sure 'Bread' was the book to buy, then I read something and the author of another bread book was referencing 'Bread', so I went to Amazon and bought it!  I haven't had time to sit with it, but just thumbing through it, it looks to be exactly what I wanted!

Thank you for all your input!!


EvaB's picture

library of bread making books, I have to say that I have several of the ones talked about, and that they each have different information or information expressed in different ways. I learn only by reading (it took me over 20 years to find a written direction for simple tent stitch that I actually understood and can remember) so its not the information in a book , but how its presented for me. I read my books, and re-read them and try out various thins each time, and so far I don't have a favourite, but find the BBA by Reinhart easy to understand, and like most of the readers on here, the library is a good place to start, but not always easy to find a book in. The inter library loans are great, the time is far too short,but they are wonderful to see if you want to buy a book.

dolcebaker's picture

I had planned to look in the Library, but I did an online search and my county had two bread books and at the other end of the county.  None of the books I had been considering were among the ones they had.   I had read someplace about I think it was Reinhart, had a concept of making a very wet dough and keeping it in the refrigerator for daily bread.   I would be interested in knowing more about how many breads he does that with.  So far 'Bread' is what I wanted.  The BBA is on my list, and I hope the library eventually gets so I can take a look.