The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Opinions on Bread books

mojo's picture

Opinions on Bread books



I was wondering if I could have some input on what a GREAT bread book is. I want one that has US measurements in the recipes and doesn't require me to know the poundage of the flour I have and stuf like that.

I am still kind of a beginner in bread making but really enjoy it and want a book that explains lots of stuff and has GREAT recipes. 

I have heard alot about King Arthur, Peter Reinhart and the Bread Bible, which is the best or is there a different one that I should consider?


Thank you all for your input.

Floydm's picture
Paddyscake's picture

Nice pictures too,  for inspiration. A scale is the way to go for ease & consistancy, but you can get by with volume measurements.

bshuval's picture

A GREAT bread book, in my opinion, must have weight measurements, preferably in metric. Sorry. 

 My bread blog:

ejm's picture

I do like the "Bread Bible" but actually prefer "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field. Granted, it's an older book but Field wrote it specifically with the US market in mind. It has good instructions on how to make bread by hand, by mixer and by food processor with measurements in cups (US) and weights (metric).


mojo's picture

Thank's for your help!

mikeofaustin's picture

For what it's worth... when you say "I don't want to know the flour poundage and stuff". 

That was actually confusing to me, becuase I don't know that stuff either.  In fact, the easiest way, that I beleive, to make a recipe is by weight not by measuring cups, tablespoons, etc.  

  I have a kitchen scale and everything is added by grams.  No need to mess with measuring cups, table spoons, teaspoons, etc.   Just through the item on the scale until the right weight comes up, then add to mixing bowl.  Easy speevy.  I used to use measuring cups, but I will NEVER go back. 

JIP's picture

to piggyback on the last post a kitchen scale that uses grams and ounces and also will have a tare function (a button to zero the scale when there is weight on it) can be had pretty cheaply at a place like bed bath and beyond.  I got my digital Salter scale for like $25 at the afformntioned store.  As far as books go it is tough to say what is the best book it is really a matter of what you like you can also get individual recipes from different books that you  like (this is unfortunately my problem) the best way to figure out what you like is the library.  My library here in Pittsburgh has any bread book you can imagine and I have tried them all and now have a core of books that I have figured out I like from using the library.  

saintdennis's picture

Hi Mojo'

best think you can do is write names of the books you like and go to the public library and take the books home and you will see if that book is good and if you like it.If you like that book that you go and buy it. Because,I like that book that does't mean you will like it too.Or go to the bookstore and buy the book and you have 30 days to return it.

                Good Luck


sphealey's picture

Rose Levy Beranbaum's _The Bread Bible_ has tons of information and many good recipes.  Each recipe has a chart giving the quantities in US volume, US weight, and metric.  It should meet your requirements.


LindyD's picture

Best Beginner's Book is the BBA (Bread Baker's Apprentice) by Peter Reinhart. It will teach you lots of stuff, has great recipes and once you've read it, you may even decide to buy a scale.

The BBA does list the needed ingredients for each recipe by both weight and cups, however, scaling ingredients is so much quicker, neater, and more accurate than futzing around with measuring cups that you might like it if you try it.




PaddyL's picture

Since my absolutely favourite bread book is out of print and not available anywhere, I'd go with the Bernard Clayton Complete Book of Breads.

Maeve's picture

The Bread Baker's Apprentice was the first bread book that gave me consistently good results.I had been trying to bake a decent, edible loaf of bread for over a decade, but all of the recipes I found were too sweet, too gummy, too much honey/sugar, too floppy and the vague 4-6 cups of flour just confused me, always.


Then I got tired of my local grocery store's Italian loafs being full of giant holes (we use it as sandwich bread, so holes aren't a good thing in that instance) So I trawled my library for bread books and brought home BBA - it was like an epiphany!  Suddenly I really could make bread!  It wasn't that I was bad at it, as I had previously thought, it was that no book, anywhere, had taught me about folding techniques or why it's so important to measure ingredients or that bread doesn't have to have all that extra sugar and yeast!


I love that book.  I love my scales.  Although I confess to still using my measuring spoons for some things.  :)  I now bake my sandwich loafs and hoagie/sub-type rolls (they're sort of a modified ciabatta) and pizza dough.  I might not save much money in the long run (the flour I prefer is a bit more expensive) but it sure does taste better.  And I'm not wasting gas by running in to the grocery store every other day. 

Kuret's picture

Ill second BBA! This book is very inspiring when you recieve it as a newbie baker with all the wonderful photos accompaning the formulas and introduction. My only complaint about it is that the formulas are to similar, why does one need several almost identical white bread formulas? I also find the sourdough section to be a bit to shallow.

This is partly the reason to me not using the book that much, SFBI's book is my trusted companion when it comes to quick formulas.