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? 

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.