What books influenced you?
I would like to find out what cookbooks/bread books influenced you the most. What got you started? What inspired you the most? Or maybe you have a particuliar favorite you always return to. Please, only your top three.
The three books that influenced me the most are: Brother Juniper's Bread Book by Br. Peter Reinhart. This is a charming, wonderful book that centers you in the middle of your dough. It helped me attain real insight.
Second, Beard on Bread by James Beard, 1973. I found this one at a used book sale. It is obvious Mr. Beard loved his bread, especially warm and slathered with butter. The recipes are easy to make, they are easy to modify, and they produce one great tasting loaf after another. I modified a raisin bread recipe from this one which turned out to be the best loaf of raisin bread I've ever had.
Third is Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery. This is the one I used to "get serious". Much more detailed and structured than the other two books, I found this to be the key to baking great artisan bread. I still use the starter I made following her directions. The starter is more than four years old now.