The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

what are you favorite baking books

BreadBabies's picture

what are you favorite baking books

I have a lot of baking books...a lot. And while I agree that one or two are useful...I am under no illusions that buying yet another book will make me a better baker.  Nope.  It won't.

But I LOVE bread, cake, pastry books.  I love the story, the photographs, the craft expressed on the page. Basically, I collect them like some people collect art books.  (This coming from someone who despises the notion of hoarding. This is my weakness.)

So, to that end, what are you favorites? Christmas is coming up and I'm populating my wishlist!

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

You're not alone in your desire to collect books about baking. Many who post on TFL have the same obsession as you. I'd suggest that you take some time to go over to the book forum here on TFL. Just about every bread book that has been published in the past ten to fifteen years, and a few older than that, has been reviewed and rated by the members here. It would probably take you about half a day to get through all the posts and their related opinions.

Two of my favorites over the seasons and years are "Bread" by Jeff Hamelman and "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Berenbaum. However, I know I'm not finished buying books yet and have been spying a couple more for my own Christmas present. I haven't found a perfect book as of yet but that hasn't stopped me.



BreadBabies's picture

Yeah, I've done just that. I've also clicked on a whole lot of profiles to see who likes what. I've searched and searched on Amazon and other blogs.  I don't think people update their profiles very often and I'd just like to hear more about the books from people in a conversational format.

I own both the books you mentioned.

I made RLB's ciabatta twice this week.  Waiting for a starter to activate, so needed some commercial yeast doughs to play with.  Do you have favorites from either book?

BreadBabies's picture

Gets mentioned a lot and it's one I do not have.  But the reviews elsewhere are not as kind due to typos in formulas.  Wondering if someone has more to say on that one...

suave's picture

It's pretty simple - if you can find a recipe from Local Breads baked by someone then it works, and when it works it is usually very good.  If there's no trace of it in baking blogs it means it is messed up to the point of being completely irreproducible.

PS. I have a feeling many of his "authentic" local recipes are a complete invention on his part.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

It's pretty easy to correct the formulas in "Local Breads", if you're fairly familiar with bread baking. One thing though, given your expressed 'likes', is that the illustrations in the text are pretty simple (hand drawn). There are nice photos in sections but I like them in the text, with the recipe.

Another interesting book is Malin Elmlid's "The Bread Exchange". It documents the journey of a young woman who traveled the world with her sourdough starter, baking bread and trading it for other yummy things and stories. It has all kinds of recipes in it, not necessarily bread.

I also like Emmanuel Hadjiandreou's "How to Make Sourdough". Some good recipes and interesting techniques (for example, 100% rye sourdoughs where he mixes the starter and flour, then adds just-boiled water).

BreadBabies's picture

Well the photographs are only one piece and I think the art can be expressed in other ways, so lack of photos (though I love those too) are by no means a deal breaker.

I have seen the latter book but hadn't heard any comments.  Good to know!