The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi All

Bad Bread Rising's picture
Bad Bread Rising

Hi All

Hello everyone. New here so I thought I would drop a line. Just getting into bread making will have lots of questions. My first one is what book would you suggest for a newbie? I would really like the traditional sourdoughs and wild yeast starters.

My second question is what equipment do I need to start?

Thats it for now I hope.

gdubya's picture

Welcome.  I'm a bit of a lurker here and don't post much, but I'll try to help a bit.

I'm just too busy in my bakery to spend lots of time on the board.

Classic Sourdoughs - Ed Wood

 O'Shaughnessey's Sourdough Book - Timothy Firnstahl (out of print, but you can find one used right now on -- well actually two, but one is grossly overpriced!! for the Classic Sourdough book and more info.  This book covers the equipment needed.  The website has cultures you can buy and you can probably buy or learn to start sourdough cultures right here on the list.

I'm working on activating two cultures from them right now.


bwraith's picture

The discussion of sourdough is thorough in Glezer's book, Artisan Baking. She uses a firm starter, which is a little different from the usual 100% hydration or 125% hydration starters that are probably most commonly used. However, it is simple to convert it for any recipe to whatever consistency you want. The benefit of the Glezer method is that it seems to me it is very good if you are just starting out. It's easier to tell what's happening because it rises reliably, and the timing of feedings is more forgiving, as well.

Other favorites for me are The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. It has great photos of many of the handling techniques and intermediate stages.

I think Bread by Hamelman is also great. However, it is a little more technical. It may be my favorite reference if I had to take one book with me to a new kitchen.

tattooedtonka's picture

First off welcome. Secondly, awesome name choice.

As for your question, it seems like not so long ago I asked the same. And I got some great answers.

I have since that time purchased alot of books, and I would like to suggest these few to start.

1)Bread Bakers Apprentice (BBA)- Peter Reinhart

This book is real easy to read, lots of photos, and a nice selection of recipes. From easy, to not-so-easy to make. Good 1st book.

2)Bread - Jeffery Hammelman

Awesome book, lots of recipes. Great background info as to the whys, and what for's. Not the great color photos of the BBA, but great in what it does.

And 3rd) New Complete Book of Breads- Bernard Clayton

Not the photos, not so much tech, but lots of great recipes that are fairly easy to pull off.

You can look at my profile and see the books I own. These however, are the books I suggest to start. They are a great beginning point, and the ones I go back to most often.

As for tools you have to have to make bread.

1) Oven

2) Sheet pan or stone

3) Mixing Bowl, or Countertop ( I sometimes skip the bowl and mix right on the counter)

4) Two hands

(No high tech mixers required. It would make things easier, but this IS Artisan bread after all. The more you do by hand, the better.)

Other than that the only EXTRA I would suggest would be a bench knife. These little buggers are well worth the money.

Hope this may help a little,


Floydm's picture

I personally would flip book 2 and 3 because Hamelman's book, though excellent, is pretty intimidating. Otherwise I'm in perfect agreement with TT: standmixers, baking stones, and instant-read thermometers are nice, but to get started you don't need any of them.

TT: How do you like Dough (the book)? I still haven't gotten my hands on a copy.

mkelly27's picture

Yes, please post a review, it's on my list , at $13.98 at "the Good Cook" 


Two wrongs don't make a right. Three lefts make a right

bwraith's picture

Without trying to take budget into account or optimize cost, here's a list of things I'd generally like to have. You don't absolutely need these things, but I would like to have the following items to pursue some bread baking. If I were getting started, I would get one of the good books, like Glezer's Artisan Baking book or the BBA or Hamelman's Bread. I hardly ever use a mixer, but a good slightly flexible plastic or nylon dough scraper for about $3 to $5, a small stiff rubber spatula for about $7, a stainless dough scraper for $5, a $25 Escali Primo digital scale or similar, and one of those Oxo "instant read" thermometers for $10, and a roll of parchment paper for $7, and a few tea towels, and a set of small to medium plastic mixing bowls for $25, and one large mixing bowl that is 8 quarts or larger for about $12, a pair of good jelly roll pans for around $25, and a pair of 1.5 lb loaf pans also for around $25, and I'd be feeling fully loaded for bread. You can search for and take a look at all of the above on Amazon, and most of it would also be on the KA catalog at, although those places  may not have the best prices.

I would also almost certainly order a couple of yards of couche fabric and a banneton or plastic proofing mold or two before too long, which I would get from SFBI. However, that's getting more into luxuries and just fun stuff to mess with. The above I would consider not quite indispensable, but really good to have if you're going to get into it and make a few different types of bread. 


slaughlin's picture

I keep a small moleskin notebook to keep notes on and to write down my favorite recipes and variations.  I actually usually carry this with me as I seem to come across things I want to try when Im traveling and not at my computer.  Notes on successful recipes are invaluable to me.


browndog's picture

a really good kitchen supply, with very affordable prices:

susanfnp's picture

Everyone else has mentioned pretty much all of my "nice to have"s, and I agree that none of it is absolutely essential. However, if I were going to pick one piece of equipment beyond what is found in most kitchens, like bowls and sheet pans, it would have to be a scale. Do yourself a favor and make a practice of weighing your ingredients from the get-go; it will make your life easier and your results better.


bwraith's picture


I have to agree with you, a scale would be my number one, too. It not only makes you much more consistent and able to compare your recipes more easily with others, it also is just so much faster and easier to just spoon or pour your ingredients into the same one or two bowls using the scale.


slaughlin's picture

I started weighng my ingredients about 6 months ago and my bread appearence and taste greatly improved.   Also started doing everthing in metric and that seems to make the recipes more precise.  Having a model that allows you to zero out the scale makes adding ingredients to one bowl a snap


Bad Bread Rising's picture
Bad Bread Rising

Thanks everyone. I was actually considering Peter Reinharts book. But the rest of the info is great thanks.