The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread book recommendations

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ericreed's picture
ericreed

Bread book recommendations

I'm looking for other bread books along the lines of "Advanced Bread and Pastry" by Michael Suas or "Bread" by Jeffrey Hammelman. Despite just being a home baker and relatively new to it (coming up on 4 months in April!), I prefer the textbook style of Advanced Bread and Pastry and the erudition of Hamelman. My collection is getting kind of big, so I'm not sure if there is anything else out there worth getting right now.

Books I already have aside from the aforementioned:

Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Forkish

My Pizza by Lahey

American Pie by Reinhart

The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Reinhart

Whole Grain Breads by Reinhart

Breads from the La Brea Bakery by Silverton

Tartine and Tartine #3 by Robertson

A Passion for Bread by Vatinet (worst book of the collection in my opinion)

Local Breads by Leader

Baking Artisan Bread by Hitz

Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads by Hitz

The Bread Bible by Beranbaum

Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective by DiMuzio

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

you have most of the books that blend science and practical applications plus provide a good deal of formulas. If you want to go into bread science (and hopefully have some chemistry/biology background), there are numerous textbooks concerned with bread manufacture. I don't know how deep they go into the whole artisan thing.

I don't have all of the books that you've got, but some I really treasure and some I don't really care for. I think you could get Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Everyday" and Carol Field's "The Italian Baker". The former is a sort of bread book geared towards easy, no fuss breads baked from the fridge (I like a few formulas from it and it's good to loan to a friend who takes an interest) and the latter, while very much lacking in technical aspects and plain wrong in some cases, provides many great ideas for creating your own formulas.

I have heard good things about Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking", but haven't even peaked at it. Andrew Whiley's "Bread Matters" is an interesting book to read, but having what you have already, it won't offer anything new other than bread politics.

If you're interested in some older stuff and aren't daunted by adapting some of the formulas by adding preferment, tweaking fermentation times and so on, "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book" and "Beard on Bread" can be an intriguing read.

Just my two cents, but you're pretty much set on bread books as it is :)

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi, Eric,

It is difficult to recommend books, since we all seek something very unique in style or content, that matches our personalities. I have all books from your list and at most they contributed just one significant thing to my ability to bake or understand bread and dough and to what we actually bake and eat in our family. 

For example, Silverton - the best sourdough starter ever. American Pie - great pizza sauce. Reinhart impressed me most with his Crust and Crumb. It has recipes/breads to die for.  Tartine - method of working with very young sourdough sponges, or two sponges - sourdough and yeasted sponges - in the same loaf. Suas - the best in terms of being a textbook, US published. In Europe they have even better textbooks, but not in English. 

I would say your library is missing Calvel's The Taste of Bread. Eric Kayser's Special and Decorative Breads. And maybe Bo Friberg, two giant volumes of The professional Pastry Chef with extraordinary breads in them. 

If you are looking for remarkable recipe collections, then it is

Maggie Glezer, A Blessing of Bread

Bernard Clayton, Complete Book of Breads

A couple of precious bread recipes collections are hidden in 'bread machine' section of the book shelves in bookstores. I.e. you don't have to use bread machine for them, but the recipes and techniques presented there are very fresh and unusual

- Beth Hensperger, The Bread Lover's Bread machine Cookbook

- D.Washburn, D.Butt, 300 Best Bread Machine Recipes

 

HIstorically, very interesting volume on English breads, with history and precise formulae, is 

- Walter Banfield, Manna

 

Modern Bread Science

- for a beginner, it would be Emily Buehler, Bread Science

- for cutting edge and true scientific research and formulae

Handbook of Dough Fermentations

Handbook of Sourdough Biotechnology

Handbuch Sauerteig (rye sourdoughs)

For Asian style bread baking - ultra-soft and tender breads and buns, anything and everything by Alex Goh. Let's say, his book The World of Breads

Swiss center, where they teach bakers, Richemont in Lucerne, has at least three books in English that deserve to be in every library of a student of bread

http://www.richemont.cc/en/215/Richemont-Books.htm

Bread

Swiss Bakery

Perfect Bakery and Confectionery (i.e. lengthy and illustrated coverage of errors and their consequences in dough handling and baking)

Richemont School has published the most comprehensive and up to date bread textbook in the world right now, but not in English version. Available are German, Italian, and French versions of that textbook

Let's say French version:

http://www.richemont.cc/fr/249/Connaissances-de-base-.htm

http://issuu.com/richemontfs/docs/connaissancesdebase?e=3825972/2838375

 

best wishes, 

mariana

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

These look like some great recommendations; I wish I had bookmarked this thread earlier. Thanks for sharing!

cp3o's picture
cp3o

Hi Eric, I'm new to bread baking too , and I know that good books on any subject are a joy to read.  My family pokes fun at me because I read bread books like novels!  My collection, like yours is growing too.  My most recent addition is Baking By Hand , ( Hamelman-approved) by Andy and Jackie King who founded A&J King Artisan Bakers bakery in Salem, MA.  The recipes are easy to follow and fun to make, and the pictures show the most mouth-watering creations.  The bread recipes are separated into 2 sections, those for the A.M, baker, which cover morning breads and flatbreads, and those for the P. M. baker which cover sourdough, grains and hybrids. I love this book, and highly recommend it as an addition to your collection.

                                                                            Christine

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

You've only been baking for four months and have quite a large library.  I've been at it for twice as long but find that I keep baking the same bread repeatedly. I have two hard cover books -- Tartine, and Bread Alone by Daniel Leader.

I have yet to bake anything from the latter and can't really say much about it other than I enjoyed reading it. However, something about the book has not inspired me to bake from it.  You already have the Tartine book -- but I have to ask, have you baked from it?  If not, I can't recommend it highly enough.  I have made wonderful breads and pizzas.  And if the extreme wordiness of the formula/instructions gets you down, I can whole understand completely and recommend reading it a dozen times and then making a cliff's notes version to follow along when you are actually baking.

 

ericreed's picture
ericreed

There's some interesting leads here sounds like.

@David, I have baked from Tartine, just the basic country bread, and from No. 3 the fermented oat bread. I have yet to get a pure levain bread to turn out right yet. That's my ongoing goal. And formulas and instructions don't get me down, I like formulas. As I said to someone else recently in all seriousness, bread baking combines the excitement of watching bread rise with the fun of spreadsheets. :) The first thing I do with recipes from books without formulas is to plug it into Excel so I can look at the baker's percentages.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I was referring to the wordiness more than the formulas since the recipe seems to go on and on over a dozen pages or so. :)

I have been very fortunate in that almost all of my basic country loaves have come out great.

A lot of people seem to recommend that we beginning bakers bake the same proven formula until we get good results.  I think that is a great idea.

If your levain has passed the float test before you made the dough, then you should be able to get it all to work.  If, however, it never quite gets off the bottom of the bowl, then that is definitely where the problem lies.

Good luck!

adri's picture
adri

What languages apart from English do you speak?

ericreed's picture
ericreed

I don't, so sadly limited to books in english.

adri's picture
adri

By what you have written so far, I didn't realise, that you were so young. :)

ericreed's picture
ericreed

Just book-smart, I lack much practical knowledge. It's sort of my process when I become interested in something, binging on books and educational materials. I have a really hard time doing things if I don't know the "why" behind it, and moreso whether that "why" is real, for lack of a better word. I know there's a lot of myths and misconceptions out there and I prefer to avoid that stuff when I can.

timko's picture
timko

Hi, just to add to the thread,

One of the most useful things I have found; i share a love of books too; is to select one or two types of loaf that you feel some connection with and make them consistently and regularly. This sort of helps with confidence in your own work and understanding what the  texts say - you know the ahaa moment.

 

 

 

 

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Is it the case that Hammelman's Bread has more breads made without commercial yeast, but with higher percentages of all purpose/bread flour and Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads has more breads with less (none?) white flour but requires yeast in all of his formulas, even those with sourdough?

I would ideally like a book that uses whole grains without yeast and without white flour, but which makes great bread. Has the book been written yet?  OR will someone here undertake to do so?  Mr. Snyder?? 

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

using both Hamelman's and Reinhart's formulas and just skipping the yeast. This is especially true for the rye breads in "Bread": in my opinion they come out a bit grassy if you add yeast, since the sourdough has less time to ferment.

In WGB you've got to reduce the amount of levain by something like half and just add the remaining flour/water to the final mix. A lot of people on the forum have just used the same amount of levain as his bigas and also baked fine bread.

ericreed's picture
ericreed

Yeah, that's pretty much the case, Reinhart's Whole Grains I think all use instant yeast even with sourdough. He has "transitional" versions of the breads as he calls them, which contain a portion of white wheat and the rest are all whole grain. Hamelman has a lot more recipes in general, but almost all have a portion of white flour in them. I imagine with Reinhart though you could adapt at least some of the recipes to all sourdough though.

pstros's picture
pstros

Hello! What a great bunch of books in your collection! I have a question for those who own a lot of books and can definitely compare them in the case of classic scandinavian rye/barley/spelt breads. I would like to buy one book which is focused especially on those brick-like breads. Can you recommend me one?

After some research I have found that Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry by Hanne Risgaard should suit my demands. But I know that this type of bread is included also in popular books from Dan Lepard, Jan Hedh, Hammelman etc. So can someone tell me if Home Baked is better on nordic breads than these classics?

Just one more questions. Is there someone from Norway? My attention fell also on these two Norwegian books:
Morten Schakenda om boller, brød og tilfeldigheter fra Bakeriet i Lom by John Rørdam
Brød og brødbaking by Erik Røed

As I am currently learning Norwegian language (bokmål) I can choose also one of them (but only one as these are exceptional expensive). But need someone´s advice before. Are these books focused on classic Scandinavian breads?

For a better understanding: I just do not want to spend my money on another recipe book full of white boules, focaccias and bagels. I need book full of advices, tips and trick on these beautifully dense, heavy breads full of great rye or barley flavors and some grains in addition.

Have a nice day!Tomas

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

or the two Norwegian books you mention, but do not get Jan Hedh's book, in my opinion it is pretty bad and there is no actual focus on Scandinavian baked goods -- he pretty much has you baking french bread.

You can always scour the blogs :) I find that for me, the greatest challenge is to actually become aware that one or another type of actually exists, rather than finding a formula to bake it from. So articles like this one ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_bread_culture ) are a great help.

If you find a good book on Nordic baking, please let us know!

pstros's picture
pstros

I am really glad you mentioned Jan Hedh's book as now you just saved me from losing my money! Yes I know there are nice articles on blogs around, but I am feeling far more confident with a book in hands :-)

ballbarn's picture
ballbarn

For anyone interested, I've been reading this thread and decided to buy Hanne Risgaard's book, which happens to be on sale right now from the publisher for $9.99. 

 

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/home_baked:hardcover,%20plc