The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How To Bake Bread: The Five Families of Bread by Michael Kalanty

kumitedad's picture

How To Bake Bread: The Five Families of Bread by Michael Kalanty

Has anyone gotten this book yet?  I took a dough class from the author at the CCA and he was one of the best teacher there.  All the students loved him.  And he was always even tempered and very supportive (even when I messed up the corn breads on two straight attempts!)   Was wondering how he translated to the written page.



bshuval's picture

It was very expensive. I eagerly waited for it. And when I got it, I was extremely disappointed. The recipes are all boring. 

There are far more breads than the five families presented in the book. The book doesn't have any preferments, sourdoughs, different mixing methods, etc. It feels like a book written for a bakery that mass-produces mediocre products. The instructions are far too long. 

The book is sitting on my shelf, hidden from view. I will not be using it as a reference nor as a source for recipes. 

(Note: I have a large collection of bread books. This book is really one at the bottom of the bottom.) 

bakerdan's picture

 Don't be so hard on someone or their hard work and effort to share what they have learned with young bakers. If you're mad that it cost so much why didn't you just get it cheaper at the Amazon Marketplace where the publisher sells it at half?

How smart are we supposed to think you are, anyway?


blachon9's picture

Firstly, this book was written as an introduction to basic bread baking, useful for baking programs at culinary schools.  I taught with the author at CCA and this is based on the curriculum he developed.  The "five families" refers to the TYPES of basic yeasted breads - most basic breads fall into one of those categories.  Secondly, the author has written another book on pre-ferments and sourdoughs; these doughs are considered more advanced for the novice baker  and so required their own book. The instructions are "far too long" (read: thorough) because they need to be for beginners (hence the title "How to Bake Bread").  As teachers, we needed to take into account that our students had not made much (if any) bread before, and formulas needed to be very specific so that they would be easy to follow and thus set the student up for success.

We did produce a good bit of bread at CCA since we were training our students to work in the culinary industry (sometimes in production bakeries), so those formulas are great for that type of production.  They are really not boring if done correctly, and can be used to produce a number of different items (cinnamon/savory rolls, babkas, monkey bread, etc.). 

kumitedad's picture

He was the best teacher and that dough class was my favorite class.  Its funny that this slipped by me the first time.  At 50$ too pricey, but at the 27.50 it is tempting to take a flyer on this.  For me, it would reinforce the basics I learned at the CCA

bakerdan's picture

Hi everyone. I'm a young baker who trained at the California Culinary Academy with Chef Mike Kalanty. He's not just a bread baker, but he is also a born teacher.  His book is written for brand new bakers. Like me when I first started at school. It's not for people who have fifty thousand other books and know was preferments are, like bushovel.

It's called How To Bake Bread because that's what it teaches the novice to do.It's not called How To Bake Bread with a Preferment. 

He's not a famous television chef or some cutting edge artisan baker. He's a teacher through and through--and this book helps the novice develop confidence and make good breads.

Instead of buying it for $50 on Amazon, why don't you buy it for almost half that in the Amazon marketplace sold by Red Seal Books? Anyway, it's used is a lot of schools, too.

hatzakordz's picture

If you really want a very practical book that will help you make just about any type of bread, Mike Kalanty's book is probably one of the best and most thorough. It's won numerous awards and consistently gets great reviews. It's a must have bread book, for professionals as well as home bakers. Give it a try!  You won't regret it. He knows his stuff.  

dabrownman's picture

that I got in 1973.  it was expensive them - especially in SF.  It has recipe after recipe with no pictures and gloss.  After years of baking bread and reading every post on TFL I know that I would be disappointed in Tartine or FWSY or even Whole Grains by PR and Bread too.  They are all great books but I have read them all at the library - the most expensive way to read a book but the surroundings are grand and now you can get coffee and free internet while there.  

It is a great way to browse before buying and then no regrets.  I still only have 1 bread book because  I read them breore having the urge to buy them .  TFL is way better than any other source for bread knowledge.= and it is free but you have to put up with TFL Gremlin slow speed and weird interactions.

Happy baking 

bakerdan's picture
bakerdan about wild yeast breads, Starters, & Levains.

I read the foreword to it which is on his website. It was written by Nathan Myhrvold. You know, the guy from Modernist Cuisine who has won all the James Beard Awards.

It's due out May 1st. I was at a conference earlier this year where he baked some of the breads. There was a Grits & Goat Cheese Porridge Bread that was outstanding.


Has anyone else read or heard anything about it?

PatMax's picture

  I am not familiar with those awards , nor with  the baker who won it .

Is  Nathan Myhrvold a specialist in wild yeast  starters  , levains , and  breads ?

Had anyone  read a critical review  ?