The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Book Reviews

The Fresh Loaf
Pocket Book of Bread Baking

Books are where amateur bakers get most of our information about how to bake. We are fortunate, because there are a lot of wonderful bread baking books out there, with new one's coming out each year. Whenever I get a chance to read another bread baking book, I read and review here. There is also a forum for site members to post their book reviews. If I am missing your favorite baking book, please, post something about there! The links to my reviews, each with a teeny synopsis:

Book Reviews


sonofYah's picture

Excellent book. I now own it along with "The Blessing of Bread" by Maggie Glezer.

keen de'el yeshuati

pincupot's picture

My first bread baking book was: "Home Baking, the Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions From Around the World" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. I truly enjoy this couple's cookbooks due to the wonderful recipes, photographs and stories. This book is certainly not a first bread-baker's book recommendation, but it is a nice addition to a cookbook collection.

sphealey's picture

Don't forget The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. Their "loaf for learning" chapter is one of the best-written beginner's guides I have seen, and of course their discussion of whole wheat and other whole ingrediants is unmatched.



Srishti's picture

Does anyone know of a really good book with focus on whole grains, instead of whilte?



jbaez13's picture

King Arthur has a whole grain baking book. Not just breads, but cakes and the like too. Peter Reinhart has one coming out sometime later this year as well.

Poupic's picture

King Arthur whole wheat is whole wheat but it is like talcum. I use Stone ground Hodgson Mill flour both the whole wheat and the rye flour for my bread. You can see each particle of the flour! THey are big! Vital gluten then is a must to have a good rise. It result in a bread that could not possibly get a glucose spike in my blood since the yeast itself has a hard time digesting the potent mix. 

Poupic's picture

King Arthur whole wheat is whole wheat but it is like talcum. I use Stone ground Hodgson Mill flour both the whole wheat and the rye flour for my bread. You can see each particle of the flour! THey are big! Vital gluten then is a must to have a good rise. It result in a bread that could not possibly get a glucose spike in my blood since the yeast itself has a hard time digesting the potent mix. 

sphealey's picture

The aforementioned _Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book_ is entirely focused on whole grains.



Muffin Man's picture
Muffin Man

I've found Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads" to be an excellent source.  He also goes into other grains.

victoriamc's picture

I dint know he had a whole grains book!!  i got so excited when I saw this thread I immediately hopped to amazon and bought the thing, I will be sure to comment if it turns out the be a great book for whole grain breads in my kitchen!


Poupic's picture

I just ordered it too in Amazon.

lindasbread's picture

I love his book, he soakes the flour, which gives the bread a very nice crumb and it is good for my digestive system.

pitchoune's picture

In case this helps others reading this post - my favorite bread to start with whole wheat sourdough baking is Josey Baker Bread.  It is not entirely about whole wheat but Josey Baker (yes his real last name) used to be a teacher before he got the bread baking bug.  His step by step approach is excellent and his whole wheat sourdough is the best I have found.

pitchoune's picture

That's what I get for not spell checking before posting - or maybe it's just the bread obsession :-)

Srishti's picture

Oh wow,

Thanks a lot for the info....

I'll check these out


pjkobulnicky's picture

For those bakers who are ready to move beyond first steps and understand more about artisan breads, The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonery Ovens by Dan Wing and Alan Scott is an exceptional read. Dan, a physician, is really good at explaining the chemistry and biochemistry of breads in ways that are accessable to the amature. This is not a recipe cookbook but a book about artisan breads and traditional ovens.


I also happened to be able to take a two day workshop with Dan at King Arthur a few years back and found him to be as good in person as he is in print.


Paul Kobulnicky

Baking in Ohio

slidething's picture

 Looking for a pastry book By Bo Friberg ~ Not sure of the name*But I bought it back arround 1990 -1991 ~ Was small in size but thick ( I think ) Lost it when moved from FLA. back to PA. Lost a whole wooden crate of "professinal" books (about 20) - Have replaced almost all of them (13)- of the ones I have not replaced 3 are out of print - Have been searching for the " Bo" book - Think it was called* " The Pastry Chef or The Professinal Pastry Chef - was a first edition if that helps .

Any one with info - it would be great to hear from you.

P.S.S. yes I do know this is a "Bread site" LOL but it never hurt to ask

 Thanks . 


expatCanuck's picture

No Need to Knead, by Suzanne Dunaway

Now tragically out of print; used copies on Amazon rather overpriced at $70/copy.

The underlying philosophy/approach is well-hydrated doughs, gluten development through folding, and maximizing the crust:crumb ratio.

Well worth obtaining if you can find it at a reasonable price -- I think the $40 I spent on a very good used copy was certainly worthwhile.
[and so do my family & colleagues ;7) ]

- Richard

AnnaInNC's picture

I was ever so fortunate to win an Ebay bid for Suzanne Dunway's book for $15.25, can't wait to receive it. Have read so many good reviews. 

Thank you for mentioning it.


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Are you referring to her book about baking Italian breads? I borrowed a copy from the library and returned it today before getting into any depth.

Jeff M's picture
Jeff M

I have been making bread from a Barm I started Nov 2001 and refresh on a regular basis.

May 2nd my 96y.o. mother in law gave me the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.  "I" having made this Barm and over the years might have used 500 pounds of flour to keep it alive all but turned my nose up at the concept of mixing all the flour, water, salt, and yeast together at one time letting it rise THEN put it in the refrigerator over night. Now when you want to BAKE some bread you take out a pound or two depending on how muche you want to make.  You stretch the dough fold it under rotate stretch it again fold it under form a ball and set it on your peel.  THATS IT! You don't knead it, pray for it, or beg it to turn into bread.  After it comes to room temp in about 40 min you bake it and EAT IT!.

CAUTION!  I have to give some caution here.  Even starting with "The Master Recipe" make sure the container that you put it in is 8qts or more in size.  Thinking that "I" knew the volume for flour, water and yeast expansion put "my" first batch in a 4qt container.  Well let me just say that it was NOT big enough.

The bread came out great each time I baked a loaf.  To get the crust that "I" wanted I increased the oven temp to 500*.

I still have and feed my Barm but along side that in a much larger container I have the makings of some very good bread.

Yogirider's picture

Have this book as well and I halved the master recipe because 4 one lb. loaves is too much for me to eat/freeze etc.. Comes out perfect every time! Book for home library for sure! 

pjaj's picture

I currently own 4 books on bread, and apart from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread, there are

Bread from Ciabatta to rye by Linda Collister.

Exceptional Breads by Dan Lepard & Richard Whittington

The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard.

This last book has an idiot proof method for leaven (sourdough starter) It worked first time after I'd had 2 failures with Peter Reinheart's method.

I can recommend them all.

Francine's picture

I found a website by chance that carried historical cookbooks; I loved the 1917 "War Bread" book; what a wonderful history...  

I have included 2 links for the 1917 War Bread & 1918 issue of War Bread & Cakes Recipes; I  have also included a link at the bottom for the historical cookbooks website. 

" Great History" 1917 War Bread:

1918 issue: War Bread Recipes:

 These cook book's are [e-book editions] and many of them are bread books with a wealth of history...

 This is the general website for the historical cook books;



Tommy gram's picture
Tommy gram

Great link, thank you for that. 

mutantspace's picture

not enough said about Dan Lepard on this forum - i think he's brilliant and his SHORT AND SWEET book is fantastic - not just bread but all sorts of baked deliciousness

mary t's picture
mary t

Hi, I hope some one can help me. I doubled my recipe for cinnamon buns and when it has risen twice I punched it down and let it rest for 15 minutes.  I then rolled out 2 of the four rolls all went perfectly but when I went to roll out the 2nd and 3rd they would not stay put but kept shrinking back. Consequently, the rolls were much too thick.  Does anyone know what happened here, I sure would appreciate any help.  Thanks  Mary

venkitac's picture

This was the second bread book I read, and there's a huge amount information in this book, including various yeast conversions, what to do to substitute sourdough starter for a commercial yeasted recipe, etc. I didn't see this one mentioned in this page, I thought I would.

Yogirider's picture

I just received this book from the library and flipped through it and yes, what a huge amount of information. Honestly, too much! I need a bread bible that is much simpler and compact if one is out there....

M2's picture

Currently, I'm reading these three books:

River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens (great book for an enthusiastic beginner).  It covers bread with dry yeast, wild yeast and without yeast.

Crust: bread to get your teeth into by Richard Bertinet

Local Breads: Sourdough and Wholegrain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers by Daniel Leader

And I'm going to get more :)

column01's picture

Love this book.  Although too expensive to buy, I borrowed from the National Library.

I tried the crackers - good for youngsters, got more 'teeth' to chew

I tried on the pitas - very good.  I did 2 variations : rye and wholemeal.

pita bread  inside

Thanks for the recipe.

(or view from

AnnaInNC's picture

of a Jewish Baker by Greenstein.  With little fuss he gets down and does a wonderful book of explaining several methods of achieving wonderful results.  The methods are using a food processor, flat beater mixer, baking machine or strictly manual.

Worth checking out !


AnnaInNC's picture

don't forget The King Arthur Flour Baking Companion, the $35 price is drastically discounted at places such as Costco and BJs (maybe Sams as well, or online). It offers a wonderful section on breads, including sourdough, as well as other baking goodies.


virginiann's picture

I am one of the newer newbies here, I've posted a question or two I think but this I had to jump in and give my two cents.

When I do something I do it all the way and needless to say since I've been learning how to bake bread I've bought a ton of things and that includes books.

My first book was "Bread" by Daniel Lender, and as far as I was concerned he was a 'Bread God'.. then coming onto here I was introduced to Peter Reinhart and I so far have three of his books. But I have to say, that as a newbie to the Bread world that his last book "Artisan Bread Everyday" is a must have for any new bread baker who has a passion and the 'want to' to learn like myself.

The recipes are easy to follow and the results are wonderful! Peter's techniques were the answer to a lot of questions I had about why my bread wasn't coming out as I had hoped. Now my breads have come out so beautiful and the crumb is near perfect. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is starting out.

I have made the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich bread, the croissants, the danish rolls, and several other breads from this book. I can't wait to go make each recipe in this book!

Good Luck! Have fun! and Happy Baking

Virginia C

ananda's picture

Is the book "Bread" not Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes", by Jeffrey Hamelman?

If so, and no disrespect to the wonderful Peter Reinhart, but I think Hamelman has delved and explained some of the greater complexities of breadmaking in the clearest way any of these fantastic authors.


NancyQHedgehog's picture

Agree with you on Hamelman-he is the master.  Also Chad Robertson and Gerard Rubaud (may he rest in peace), from my perspective are amazing.

Susan's picture

Here's an article from NPR this morning that mentions, among others, Peter Reinhart and Rose Levy Beranbaum.

The 10 Best Cookbooks Of 2009

frenchcreek baker's picture
frenchcreek baker

One of my favorites is a find from Amazon UK. Artisan Bread by the Swedish baker Jan Hedh and photographer Klas Andersson has a wide range of recipes and beautiful photography.

Originally published in Swedish, this English edition from 2007 uses the metric system for measurements. The directions are straightforward for the experienced baker. 

I highly recommend this book for those of you who already own books by Leader, Ortiz, Silverton, Hammelmann, and are seeking new inspiration. It is a fabulous addition to any bread baker's library.



AnnaInNC's picture

Book of Breads -     Was able to get a used version from Amazon. What a super book, so many items I remember from my childhood in Germany. Cannot wait to try some, will start with the ones using almond paste (even gives a recipe how to make).

Regretably no photos but sure worth having the old recipes in one tome.


dabrownman's picture

Book of Breads was my first first bread book.  I made my first sourdough starter from it in San Francisco that same year using milk and flour only.  It took 3 tries to get one going, but today, that very same starter which I have nearly killed at least 50 times and starved to death the whole time, baked 2 different SD breads nearly 39 years later.  It is the only bread book I have and it is in tatters but I will be getting J. Hammelmann's ? sometime soon - now that I am only distinctively ignorant about breads.

MmeZeeZee's picture

I'm looking for the bread book that will help me with the chemistry of baking, which has good writing (by which I mean, not too folksy and very straightforward and exact), and which provides a manageable variety of breads.  I've been baking bread for several years and I feel like I'm ready to take it to the next level.  I have been torturing my family with experimental breads for several weeks now (I bake weekly, bi-weekly, all our bread) and some have really been... hardly worthy of the name "bread".  Your recommendations are welcome!

chip c's picture
chip c

  look for something by Joe Amendola from Culinary Institute of America

chip c's picture
chip c

 For me , Carol Field's The Italian Baker,; La Brea by Nancy Silverton; and Bread Alone by Daniel Leader are tops

SydneyGirl's picture

Maybe this is unreasonable, but I am a little bit disappointed because of some doubts about authenticity of recipes in Daniel Leader's book, which I just got yesterday. 

I bought the book primarily because I thought the title and the reviews,  promised authentic European recipes with perhaps suggestions for adaptation to the baker's local conditions. However, looking at only two of the recipes ("Vingchter" and German Pretzels) which I know a little about, he apparently took the decision to adapt the recipes without describing what changes he made. 

This is particularly in relation to his recipe for "Vingchter", a type of roll which I became obsessed with on a trip to Alto Adige. Firstly, there's no such thing as a "Vingchter" - they're "Vinschgauer" or "Vinschgerl" or "Vinscher Paarlen" or "Vinscher Fladenbrote" and originate in Vinschgau. Is "Vingchter" a misguided attempt to anglicize the name, or sloppy spelling? I would have thought Vinscher Flatbread is reasonably easy to pronounce. 

As with other baked goods, there's certainly no single authoritative recipe. However, any online post, blog or encyclopaedic entry about this regional specialty will refer to the fact that the key flavouring ingredient for  Vinschgerl is "Brotklee", a ground herb from the fenugreek family (specifically, blue fenugreek).

Now, you may not be able to buy it in the USA, let alone in Australia, but , I'd still like to know that this is a key ingredient in the original recipe.  Did his Austrian baker not tell him about the ingredient? He only mentions fennel & cumin as flavourings, when any Austrian recipe I've ever read call for fennel, coriander, and caraway (Kümmel) -  not cumin (Kreuzkümmel), which is not very common in Germany/Austria - as well as anise seeds.

The other recipe which I take issue with is German Pretzels. He describes boiling the pretzels in a baking soda bath. However, even the most cursory research will tell you that baking soda (NaHCO3) is a substitute, not a great one, for the lye (NaOH) which is actually used. He doesn't even mention that the baking soda mixture is a variation for home bakers and is not likely to give the same result as using lye. Might have been worth an FAQ entry or something at the end of the recipe. 

Anyway, not that I'm really surprised. I suppose I should put this down to well-meaning adaptation for his US audience. rather than just another example of German breads being disregarded.

Visit a German bakery and then visit a French or Italian one - the difference in the sheer range of breads offered in even a small village German bakery is astounding. Yet German breads are always treated somewhat cursorily in baking books. (Am I whining? I'll stop now) 


rossnroller's picture

Hi SydneyGirl. Just want to say, I identify strongly with much of your post. Like you, I place a high priority on regional specialities (not just with bread...give me great street food and provincial traditional specialities - preferably out of the domestic kitchens of accomplished locals - over arty Michelin Star type fare every time). Authenticity, then, is vitally important.

I can well understand your disappointment with the recipes of Leader's you've noted. I was put off his book when I read that some of the quantities in his recipes are incorrect. That sort of sloppy editing (or worse!) is a cardinal sin in any cookbook. Add to that the instances of inauthenticity you've picked up, and I feel disinclined to add Leader's book to my already ample collection any time soon.

On German breads: I spent a year in Germany back in the mid-80s and was astounded at the variety and quality of the breads I encountered. In fact, that's where I came to understand what good bread was all about. It set off an obsession with bread that has endured ever since.

Like you, I have never been able to understand why Germany is not globally acclaimed for its bread as, say, France is. I didn't spend as much time in France, but while there, I saw nothing to compare with the diversity and quality of the German breads. It may have been that France at that time had not come out of the bread doldrums that industrialisation imposed (beginning in the 60s I believe...although my recollection of the book in which I came across this information may be hazy and inaccurate).

I have since learnt that other middle European countries, such as Czech, have a long tradition of wonderful breads that rivals Germany's. Maybe France has simply managed to brand itself more successfully as a superior bread locale!

Anyway, good to come across someone who shares my views on German bread. When I returned to Australia I raved on about the German breads until I realised that no one seemed to understand or care. I suppose I would have been the same had I not spent extended time in Germany - until you've experienced quality bread (which was a rare phenomenon downunder in the 80s), you have no idea what you're missing!


ananda's picture

Hi Ross,

I think you are really onto something with your ideas about industrialisation.

And yes, that historical branding success the French enjoy is certainly important.

I just wonder about a couple of things:

Marketing:   maybe it's not deemed so easy to sell "heavy rye" breads as it is the lighter and easier eating breads of France?   I know this is a gross over-simplification, but German heritage would be more rye-centred and sour in perception than the breads of France.

Manufacture:   I have more idea here.   In terms of larger scale production, it is definitely harder to set up plant to cope with sticky rye.   At smaller and local level, the French bake twice a day, and their breads are acknowleged to have no shelf life.   The traditional German breads probably keep much better, making for a whole different pattern of buying.   A family needing to buy bread twice a day isn't necessary, so bread is maybe not so much "in your face"?

I'm just throwing a couple of ideas around here.

I loved Leader's book when it first came out; particularly the discussions with all the bakers he went to meet.   Since then I've hardly ever used it as a recipe book, for some strange reason.   I made the Couronne and loved it.   We made the Pane d'Altamura in a Breadmatters class I was assisting on, and I've always wanted to try the Genzano, and get into the rye section.   But, I never have, and have been unaware of the shortfalls you mention until very recently.

I largely agree with your sentiments about authenticity, but I'd be loathe to criticise inaccuracies unless I had direct experience.   If you have, that's fine; just not for me to be making accusations without my own evidence.

Great topic tho'; I love working with rye, as you'll see in my posts, however I'm pretty ignorant about German bread heritage when all is said and done

Best wishes


rossnroller's picture

I think you are really onto something with your ideas about industrialisation.

They are not my ideas re the adverse effect of industrialisation on the quality of French bread in the 60s and beyond - the content I was referring to came from a book I read, but can't recall its title or author (borrowed it from the library, I think).

Marketing:   maybe it's not deemed so easy to sell "heavy rye" breads as it is the lighter and easier eating breads of France?   I know this is a gross over-simplification, but German heritage would be more rye-centred and sour in perception than the breads of France.

Quite correct that this is the perception. In fact, though, at least from my experience during several months in Munich and the same in Cologne, this perception is not borne out by the facts. The diversity of bread available in Germany is astonishing. They have the volkornbrot and heavy ryes they are known for, but there are any number of lighter breads on offer, too. eg: the delightful and addictive breakfast broetchens, which are a beautifully light white roll that are best eaten on the day of purchase.

I largely agree with your sentiments about authenticity, but I'd be loathe to criticise inaccuracies unless I had direct experience.   If you have, that's fine; just not for me to be making accusations without my own evidence.

Not sure of your point here, Andy. The only way I can have 'direct experience' re Leader is to buy his book! As stated, I am disinclined to do so because of:

1) the comments I've read from some purchasers re the inaccuracies in the ingredient quantities in some recipes (I hate that - like most folk, I suspect, I want to feel confident that I can follow a recipe and have it work out, rather than having to adjust it next bake due to inaccuracies), and

2) sydneygirl's complaints re the apparent instances of inauthenticity she noted in the recipes she mentioned.

Of course, individual perceptions vary, but it's surely the right of the prospective buyer to make an assessment of the credibility of people's findings on a book. I assess sydneygirl's comments as credible; ditto the multiple complaints I have read of quantity inaccuracies.

The whole raison d'etre of this thread is, I would think, to share findings on books - presumably to enable readers to assess whether they wish to purchase a particular book. On that basis, in the case of the Leader book, I have determined that it is not one I wish to buy. I should make it clear, it was never my intention to diss Leader or put other folk off. Values such as authenticity of recipes and the odd error in recipes may not be important to some; they are to me. I'd have thought that was evident from my previous post, but if not, hopefully it is now.



singingloon's picture

I totally agree. Lived in Germany / Munich before coming here and became enamored with their bread culture. A new book The Rye Baker by Stanley Ginsberg covers the rye culture of European countries with history and wonderful recipes by region / country. Never seen anything like this book. Am surprised it isn't listed here in the books section.

Puck Luck's picture
Puck Luck

Ordered mine last week from Barnes & Noble but they were out of stock and the book is scheduled to ship mid May 2020.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I keep a red pen in my Leader Book and will add your comments to mine.  Lots of room in the margins, I'll give him that.   My book is just full on comments.  If you run across any others... speak up and I'll take more notes.

Is Blue fenugreek, blue?  I thought the blue melilot was used more in cheese.


ananda's picture

Just for all your posts, really; but particularly the funny ones that keep us all smiling!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

at one time (also in red) that under Volume and Instant yeast, I corrected 1 1/2 teaspoons to 2 1/2 teaspoons.  All the suggestions of "cumin" have been crossed out to read caraway (in red) at least in my book.

Hi Andy,  I'm on your side of the pond now...  Shall we throw bread at the ducks?


chip c's picture
chip c

Anyone have any thoughts on Bread by Richard Bertinet?

ananda's picture

Hi Mini

Yummy white-sliced English pap or some authentic 100% rye?

You choose

Where are you at the moment?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


hanseata's picture

I always wonder why - with a majority of Americans claiming some German heritage - not much of German cooking went into the main stream, only sauerkraut and pretzels (foods I eat probably once a year, if at all). Whenever I see a sign: "German Bakery" on a road trip through New England, I'll go in - usually to find nothing but the usual - squishy, pale loaves losing their last bit of crust (if ever there was any) in plastic bags.

I brought several boxes of Brotklee or Schabzigerklee (blue fenugreek) from Germany, it is a green powder with a very strong aroma. Yesterday I prepared Vinschgerlen dough (Vinschgauer Pairs = a South Tyrolean specialty bread) and the whole house was filled with the Brotklee smell. I do not know whether blue fenugreek is available in the US, but it's worth a try - bread made with it tastes wonderful.



AnnaInNC's picture

download free from here:

Lovely bread recipes are but a small part of this inspiring and educational book.


jyslouey's picture

I recently bought two of Bertinet's books - "Dough", his first book and "Crust" (but I didn't see "Bread" on the shelves)  Each books comes with a DVD of his kneading methods, one on sourdough and one on sweet dough and how to shape batard and a boule.  I also purchased Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread every day.  I may never be able to follow a lot of the recipes in there but it's still a good read with lots of nice pictures and the books keep me movivated.  I've only just started reading but I find that his method is quite different from conventional techniques that taught by other bakers. He doesn't "knocking back" nor does he knead his dough with the heel of his palms. With the books and posts from TFL, I'm going to have a very busy summer.   I've also signed up for a pizza dough class in Aug. and I hope I can find some good tips and recipes from TFL to prepare me for the class.

madruby's picture

I am a newbie to this journey of bread baking.  I stumbled on KAF website, which sparkled a desire to bake easy rolls, quick breads and foolproof recipes.  This eventually opened me to the world of bread baking and more specifically artisan bread...and that was barely 3 weeks ago.  In my search for a good baking book, I came across the name of Peter Reinhart.  For most of you, that name is synonymous to that of a "sommite" (ie the expert, the summun); to me, it meant nothing, until I bought his latest book - Artisan Bread Everyday.    Beautiful....just beautiful.  Well written, delicious pictures, easy recipes (have only tried one of them so far but I can already tell that Reinhart has gone through a lot of trouble to keep his recipes easy and foolproof and his method efficiently friendly - especially for a clueless baker such as myself).  I will not stop at only one recipe, and surely, I will not stop at only this one book.  Reinhart has ignited a craze in me to bake more, to learn more, to perfect an art that I thought I could never touch as I was intimidated by the veils of words such as yeast, rising, proofing, flour scale....

Merci Reinhart for the grace of this book, for your passion for dough, and for sharing your savoir-faire to others in something so earthly as baking.

Pioneer Foodie's picture
Pioneer Foodie

Can anyone recommend a book on artisan bread that gives formulae for large volume recipes?  I'm hoping to find something that starts with 25lb. doughs instead of the usual home kitchen recipes for 2-4lb. volumes.  Or do people just start with a small scale and multiply the volumes?  Does the yeast take particular accommodation in ramping it up?

Floydm's picture

Hamelman's Bread definitely has scaled up recipes.  I'm pretty sure Advanced Bread and Pastry does too.  Those are the two most professionally oriented books I can think of that I have on my bookshelf.

honeymustard's picture

I am surprised to not find in this listing--nor the comments--the amazing Tassajara Bread Book. In fact, it's this book that relieved me of my failures with whole wheat bread (for years I just made white flour based breads because of how dense my loaves were - no more!). It made me understand the yeast and bread process so easily, and the language with which Edward Espe Brown writes is just tantalizingly simple and carefree. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn easy but satisfying techniques that can be easily reapplied to many of your own bread recipes. Probably a bit too easy for the more experienced artisan bakers, but definitely an excellent stepping stone.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

My road home on a recent vacation took me through the wheat growing area of Kansas and in particular, to Marienthal, home of Heartland Mills. Ever since, I've had a curiosity about the growing of wheat and the process of milling wheat into flour. This morning's search through Amazon turned up some professional books but nothing at my level, that of home baking enthusiast.

I'm ready to delve into something that goes a little deeper than my bread baking books but not into those pricey professional tomes. Are there such books available or am I going to have to look at the used books stores around Kansas State University?

foodslut's picture

.... by Daniel T. DiMuzio ( listing here) is a textbook, but the chapter dealing with how to develop your own bread formulas was educational, comprehensive and understandable for an amateur like myself.  Worth the price of the book in my view.

azelia's picture

Could the person who put this list together please please add Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf book to the list?  It is such a hugely important book amongst sourdough bakers.  It is the book so many have started their Starter from as it has a really good step-by-step recipe for it.  It's how I did mine.

The book contains hybrid & yeast recipes but has sourdoughs too.  He travels Europe and makes up recipes inspired by the ones he sees on his travels.

When he brought the book out 2004 if was the first of its kind with sourdough recipes for the home baker, it was also the first one to show you the "folding technique" which is now so widely used by other bread book writers.


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

"Breads of France" is one of those books that took me a while to get to. The local library didn't have a copy and the regional library system didn't have a copy in any of the associated libraries in NE Kansas. The hardcover version was originally released in 1978 and reprinted in 1984. It was also printed in paperback with the most current printing that I've heard of being in 1986. I didn't expect to find it at the local Barnes& Noble bookstore either.

So I finally went back to the library and requested a state wide search for a copy, knowing that it might take a while to go through the system. A copy was located in McPherson, KS and I began my wait. After nine weeks, the book finally arrived. It was a 1978 copy. The book is part travelogue recounting Mr Clayton's vacations in France to research material for the book and part recipes. D Leader's "Local Breads" followed this format. The recipes were gathered in different areas of France starting in Paris and heading out to the borders and coastlines. There are a surprising number of recipes that utilize rye flour.

My first reading left me puzzled at times and critical of his seeming overuse of active dry yeast. After second and third readings, I gained a better grasp of what Mr Clayton was doing and my appreciation of his work increased. So much so that I decided to try to find and buy a used copy of the book. Amazon had copies of both the hardcover and paperback but the prices were high, bordering on ridiculous when a used hardcover edition was priced at $80US and paperback editions were close behind. Fortune must have been smiling on me when, through persistent searching on the Internet, I located a paperback copy at Good Will Books for just over $9US+S&H. I was expecting a used copy that would show signs of use but instead received an essentially new copy that looked better than some "new" books I've seen in book stores. Someone had penciled in the price on the first page but that was the only detracting aspect that I found. I'll live with that.

I've come to enjoy the book and the format that Mr Clayton chose. The ingredients are listed in volume measurements but that's no surprise given the era when it was written. There weren't many "artisan" bakeries in the early to mid 1970s and even fewer home bakers that were recreating those loaves at home. After first attempting the Gallette Persane bread, I don't expect to have too much trouble with the recipes other than I never bothered to learn how to use a spreadsheet. It will take time to do the conversions and baker's math with calculator, paper, and pen. I guess I'm more of a troglodyte than a Luddite in this situation.

I'm looking forward to working on the recipes as projects for this year and will share my successes here and on my blog.


Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

I'm near Kansas City, and the Mid-Continent Library system used to have a copy of this book in one of its branches, but no more.... It was a great, interesting read.  One recipe I used several times was a raised dinner muffin-type bread that was quick to get into the oven on a moment's notice...maybe 90 minutes from start to finish.  Enjoy your treasure!

oitroi's picture

Hey guy, I am living in Viet Nam, and I am trying to practice all kind of delicious breads in order to open my own Bakery store in the near future, so thats why I love cookbook you mention here and I love some of them, but this time I am gonna try "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes" by Jeffrey Hamelman's published in 2004. But I can not find it on Amazon, so Can you show me where I can buy this book online.

Thanks you guys so much.

richkaimd's picture

Powell's Books or Alibris.  I'd be surprised if you didn't find good used copies of the Hamelman at at least one of them.

Puck Luck's picture
Puck Luck

The Google of used book sites

ichadwick's picture

Try if you haven't found it yet. I get a lot of used books through them.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I found this book in the new releases section of the Platte City, MO MCPL branch and spent a few weeks reading it. I think it's worth buying to add to my collection of baking books.

Mr Forkish's approach in this book isn't simply a rehash of material from FWSY. He made the point of not treating pizza dough like bread dough very early. Mr Forkish wrote with clarity and style of his travels through Italy to get a better understanding of pizza in Italy so I found the book to be both entertaining and informative. The recipes are geared towards the home baker who has baked at least a few loaves in their time.

If you haven't got room in your house for another book, borrow a copy from your local library system and spend some time reading it. People who like a good pie will enjoy the read.

DanAyo's picture

I read Trevor’s book entitled Open Crumb Mastery by Trevor J Wilson

 The information is unique. I’ve not seen this kind of detailed information dealing with open crumb in anyother resource. I’d say anyone that is seriously interested in rustic type breads with very open crumb would benefit greatly by reading this work. Others that I know who have read it seem to agree.

It is currently only available in PDF format. It is not intended for new bakers. Trevor advises intermediate bakers.

Dan Ayo

plevee's picture

Has anyone tried Emmanuel Hadjiandreou's new book? I'm very tempted but I've got 30+ bread books....


ichadwick's picture

I have this book and it's good, but I lean more towards The Sourdough School: The Ground-Breaking Guide to Making Gut-Friendly Bread by Vanessa Kimbell and Richard Hart as a better book if you don't want to collect more titles.

HansB's picture

SOURDOUGH by Lugg & Fjeld is really well written and has beautiful photography too. I have already made several of the breads and they all turned out well. I have about 20 SD book and this has become my go to book!

sitka's picture

What book would you recommend to give a novice bread baker?

Thank you!

Barbdogmom's picture

Can anyone recommend their favorite bread baking book focusing on technique and tips for those new to bread baking.  Thank you. 

Benito's picture

Maurizio Leo has run a website called for many many years.  I learned a lot from his posts in the beginning days of baking bread.  He has recently published a book called “The Perfect Loaf”, no surprise.  If I were to recommend one book when you’re starting out where a lot of the process and science of bread baking is explained very well, that is the book I would recommend.


ichadwick's picture

What sort of loaves are you looking for? Peter Reinhart's The Baker's Apprentice is a good place to start. I enjoyed Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. For bread machines, I recommend 300 Best Canadian Bread Machine Recipes.

ichadwick's picture

Sourdough by Science: Understanding Bread Making for Successful Baking, by Karyn Lynn Newman

If you’re looking for science, look elsewhere. Despite the title, the science in this book is minimal. The author says, for example, that rice flour will prevent dough from sticking “for some reason.” That’s hardly science. I really wanted to read about the science of baking, but this isn’t the book for it.

She mentions the “gluten proteins” in flour without naming them (glutenin and gliadin), describing how they interact to become gluten, or even how gluten networks develop with hydration. She says salt is needed for “gluten structure” without explaining why or how, or even what percentage is optimal or too much in dough. Sugar and its effects on yeast growth are not even mentioned. Nor is oil and its uses mentioned.

Nowhere does she discuss the amount of protein in various types of flour, the amount required for bread or that the protein level in American all-purpose flour varies by brand and region. Differences between hard and soft wheat are not mentioned. Her description of vital wheat gluten doesn’t explain when to use it or how much.

The scientific name of yeast is never used. Lactic acid bacteria are mentioned once, but not by the proper name. Nowhere is the symbiotic relationship between yeast and bacteria described, nor what each brings to the dough. There’s nothing on how to maintain a proper pH level in your starter.

There is nothing on the biochemistry behind fermentation, about pH levels, alcohol, CO2, or the esters created. The Maillard reaction - a crucial part of the development of the crust - isn’t mentioned. She mentions the autolyse period without explaining the science behind it.

Nowhere does she discuss the physical reasons bakers use steam in their ovens or how the crust can gelatinize. She mentions diastatic malt without but not how it works, when to use it or how much to use.

There is nothing on the different types of oven, the advantages or disadvantages of, say, convection ovens, the physics of heat conduction in different materials and how they affect baking, or different baking times required between pre-heated or cool materials. There’s nothing on using a proofing box.

Even the baking part is weak: she refers to a “proofing basket” without using the name “banneton” by which bakers know it. She does not mention other methods for holding proofing dough, like a baker’s pan or Dutch oven. She “highly recommends” using a silicon spatula or dough scraper for mixing dough without saying why (or what material the scraper should be). 

She has only one recipe using milk, but does not explain how milk and its proteins and sugars affect the loaf, whether powdered milk can work, or the difference in results using skim vs whole milk. She doesn’t explain what eggs and butter do, either, although her brioche recipe uses them. Or what amount of salt is beneficial and when it becomes a deterrent to yeast growth. This is basic stuff you can find in many other books.

At one point she suggests that a typical cup of flour weighs 120g (which is what King Arthur flour uses for conversion). But other companies suggest varying amounts, depending on brand and type. You can find figures ranging from 116g to 170g per cup online. (Emily Buehler uses 110g). But the weight of a cup can vary according to age, type, brand, humidity, milling, packing, storage, and sifting. Using cups to measure flour is very inaccurate and can significantly affect hydration.

Nothing about using bread machines and sourdough, either.

The bulk of the book is in the recipes, which are okay, but nothing you can’t already get from a dozen other, more comprehensive sourdough books. And as for science, I highly recommend Emily Buehler’s book, Bread Science (15th-anniversary edition or later). I cannot recommend Newman’s book, however.

Gentle One's picture
Gentle One

Anyone tried A Passion for Bread by Lionel Vatinet?  His Bakery is reasonably close to where I live, and everything I've had from it has been ever so good.

bakeablerecipes's picture

I should learn more about baking and probable publish my own book :P

Yogirider's picture

Has anyone read or purchased the Sue Becker's book, "The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book"? Instead of using grams for weighing and measuring, she uses milliliters? I thought that very strange.....

Philomena's picture

Thank you for your article, this is really a useful book for me in the kitchen.

Philomena's picture

 You can also find more books on the website