The Bread Bible Rose Beranbaum, Baking with Julia (Child)
Just recently I began baking bread again after many years' of mostly pies and cakes. I got started down this road when the bread I normally purchased for myself and my husband skyrocketed to nearly $4.00 per small loaf! Add to that it's a not particularly flavorful sliced white bread suitable mostly for holding more interesting fillings!
Since I try to do projects with as much information as I can find get me going with a reasonable chance of success I went to my local library and checked out the two captioned books! Wow, did I hit the mother lode! These are BOTH incredible books, each with its own special recipes and approaches but each valuable and timely.
I started with The Bread Bible's white bread which is made with a sponge starter and a long, slow fermentation and it was literally THE BEST BREAD I'D EVER MADE - EVER! And this was the first time out of the box after a bread-baking hiatus of over 30 years!!!!! Not only that, it was the best bread I'd ever tasted! Bar none!
Just to be sure this wasn't a fluke, I baked another batch from this recipe. And my husband swears it's even better than the first one! I'm not making any claims to being a bread-baking "natural" but if you just follow Rose's instructions thoroughly, do just what she says, even a first time baker can claim these spectacular results!
As for Baking with Julia, I've got several recipes lined up to try out and can't wait to test them. The book itself is beautifully written with the recipes presented in straightforward, common-sense language that encourages bakers of all levels of expertise to try their hand at making these wonderful recipes.
Both books belong on your bookshelf if you're planning on creating some fantastic bread!