The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is there a book on bread chemistry/science? Peer reviewed articles?

Turbosaurus's picture

Is there a book on bread chemistry/science? Peer reviewed articles?

i am looking for a book on bread making that does not contain ANY recipes.

 A book that just talks about the chemistry and biology of bread making.  There are a couple pages in FCI's Fundamentals that really whet my appetite for knowledge, but it’s no where near enough.  With a bakers ratio and a knowledge of the chemistry I should be able to make anything better than a “recipe” that dictates each step.  

I'm Sure there is little consumer demand for such a dense thome. This book probably doesn’t exist, but the data has to exist.  What was your best eye opening scientific moment? 

I'm so frustrated with debating nonsense,1-3% hydration ratio recipe differentials when I have a moisture meter and my flour varies by more than that depending on the weather!  Or you proofed too long/ not long enough when yeast grows 4x as fast at 5% dissolved oxygen as 15% under the same temp and pH.  Four times as fast!  To say nothing of gluten or bran content.  These are all known variables - there’s no reason I should have to stare at bread dough once an hour for 3 days or assume grandma Rosie's recipe should come out good, when her water was so hard it was liquid rock and she kept her house sweltering.... I’d have to wear a tank top to Christmas dinner in upstate NY.

I would love a book, but since it probably doesn’t exist.. any data set you have, I would appreciate greatly.  



Turbosaurus's picture

For an example, dabrowman posted fabulous information about growth rates of Lactobacillus vs saccharomyces at different temperature here

obviously the pineapple juice solution, which still drives me bananas because of its flippant title.  

what else you got on the data front? 

Doc.Dough's picture

The table you point to in dabrownman's post is not in fact Gänzle's data per se.  It is data derived from Gänzle's model and produced using Excel. You can find the original paper here.  PM me if you want more detail.  

foodforthought's picture

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking has a fairly long chapter on bread (and other doughs) chemistry. Rest of the book is much food chemistry, botany, physics. Fascinating/

HansB's picture

This has a couple of formulas but is probably close to what you are looking for.

pmccool's picture

Not that I haven’t yet read it, so can’t offer any direct observations. 


leslieruf's picture

would be another one. Can’t remember if there are recipes or not, but full of great info  as well as the hearth ovens.

deblacksmith's picture

I highly recommend the book by Emily Buehler Bread Science the chemistry and craft of making bread.

This book is what you are looking for, it is about 250 pages and only 10 pages of recipes.  Dr. Emily has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina but writes for us everyday folks.  She has worked at a small Artisan bread bakery.  She teaches bread-making classes, host community baker nights and has published articles on several aspects of bread-making.

I met her at the John C. Campbell Folk School where she teaches week long classes about twice a year.  You can find her book on Amazon or direct from two blue books -  I took her class on Bread Science a number of years ago.

Emily is a quiet and very effective teacher.  In 2020 she is teaching two classes at John C. Campbell Folk School.  One called Baking Traditional Breads Apr. 26 to May 2 and the other called The Science of Bread Sept. 20  - Sept 26.  You can check these out at  Full disclosure, I live in Brasstown, NC home to John C. Campbell Folk School and am a past board member.

Emily’s website is:

Dave Smucker, Brasstown NC

Bread obsessed's picture
Bread obsessed

I just bought How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science by Paula Figoni on Amazon.  Seems like a good place to start to learn the actual science of bread.

Haven't read it yet though, delivery tomorrow. ☺️

Yippee's picture

by E. J. Pyler  (Author), L. A. Gorton (Author) Baking Science & Technology: 1



Baking Science & Technology: Formulation and Production: 2


You probably won't find more technical baking information in any other bread books.

shitbird88's picture

Baking: the art and science by Schünemann and Treu. It's a german textbook, the english translation is excellent.

Apteryx's picture

English Bread and Yeast Cookery by Elizabeth David 1977 is an amazing book, going into details of the flour types and how they affect the recipes and styles of bread. Pretty old fashioned now, but when I was working for a grain merchant back in the 80s, they grabbed the (library) book off me and copied down many, many pages, all of which helped them.

It is difficult to get hold of, you may have to Interloan it through your library system, or you can look at it online at open

SirSaccCer's picture

... one of the above posts references data collected by M Gaenzle et al. That original paper is open access and it's pretty cool. Then you could spend a long time looking through the work he's done since as an investigator at the University of Alberta.

Dianne_Nosh's picture

Turbosaurus,  Please try a great book by Saul Ginsburg called The Rye Baker.  It has more on bread science than I've read in many other bread books.  Plus it has over 70 excellent recipes for rye bread.

suave's picture

I would be very careful with peer-reviewed articles - lay people tend to wildly misinterpret them.

Panettiera's picture

Harold McGee's On Food & Cooking will obviously not have as much bread-focused material as any of the books cited above which are restricted to bread. It will have accurate details related to bread physical chem. 

That said, McGee's bread chapter has a wonderful description of what went into the thousands of years that led up to bread as we know it, including plant evolution, stages of experimentation, human technology discovery as it relates to bread chem, etc. By the time you get to bread as we recognize it, you come away with a new appreciation of how our bread making is the recipient of thousands of years of human progress. We stand on the shoulders of all those generations.

I don't have my copy at hand so I can't specify what's there re OP question. But as an example, his chapter on emulsions and aeration includes a cross section of the air bubbles in whipped cream vs egg white, so you completely understand the physical chem of why volume increase in whipping increases when cream is very cold, but the opposite is true for egg whites. 

BTW, McGee's is nearly the only book for which I decided it was worth it to buy the 2nd edition though I already owned the first.

Turbosaurus, if you're able to concisely write a quantified alternative to "staring at bread dough once an hour for 3 days", I certainly would appreciate it.

Thanks, Panettiera 



Doc.Dough's picture

Breadmaking Technology -
An Introduction to Bread Baking in North America
Copyright 1995
Wulf T. Doerry
Director, Cereal Technology, copyright 1995

American Institute of Baking

This is Volume 1 of a larger series on Baking Technology and deals with Breadmaking only

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Hi, Turbo-man.

I hope this reply finds you well, having good baking results, and most of all fun. I came across this "Bread By Dimuzio". you can find a preview copy at the publisher site issuu at this link. The book was a tad to technical for me but you may like it/ I am not sure if you have to register, (free) to use issuu.

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

The esteemed Mr. DiMuzio.

Q & A with Mr. DiMusio