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Discussion in 'Cookbook Reviews' started by mrdecoy1, Mar 8, 2012.
Hi all, I'm looking for the best on bread making for beginner and advanced. Any suggestions? thanks
Can you say a word or two more on the kinds of bread you want to make?
Peter Reinhart's books (_Bread Baker's Apprentice_ et al.) have an enthusiastic following. I learned a great deal from Carol Field's _Italian Baker_ and Bernard Clayton Jr.'s books, and earlier from Elizabeth David's _English Bread and Yeast Cookery_.
Wing and Scott's _Bread Builders_ has lots on artisan technique. For a change of pace check out the Duiguids' _Flatbreads and Flavors_.
My go-to bread book is a long-term favorite.
"Baking with the St. Paul Bread Copmany" The recipe for wheat bread where you make a poolish the night before gives great bread with less work. I've made many of these recipes many of times. I hope you get a chance to enjoy the book as well.
Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads
A James Beard award winner you can't go wrong there
I agree with Bread Baker's Assistant by Reinhart.
What I find lacking in so many bread recipes is more clearer descriptions for the layperson, and this can make it difficult .I have quite a collection and have found the following to be a lot better at describing techniques, especially for beginners. If I may suggest:
Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
King Author Flour Baker's Companion
Beard on Bread
...and for some more exotic breads there's
Country Breads of the World by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake
I have a copy of Clayton's book. I've not cooked from it yet, but it looks pretty darn good.
I would have to second Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice, and also I like Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes.
I use two books at home for bread baking, the first one is "The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking" by Fr. Rick Curry S.J. and the second one is Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice". They are both very helpful, and a pleasure to read.
You can check the cheftalk listings here? http://www.cheftalk.com/products/category/breads-cookbook
I just came across a huge and immensely well-informed thread on bread books here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/bookreviews
Agreed, a poolish is the way to go and I have twelve years experience in bread baking and have tried almost every permutation possible. And also I use two baking stones in my oven: one that the dough sets on and the other placed on a rack above the dough. It makes for both a great crust and ear.
Great thread! I was also looking for such books.
The overall context is that different writers favor different techniques. Reinhart is a plenty of kneading/slow-rise guy. Other writers like no-knead, or little knead, or two rises, or... Whichever good writer you buy and follow will teach you lots of good things about baking. It's nice to have a range of choices, whether or not you end up with one preferred method or not.
A great deal of my bread making technique comes from Peter Reinhart. He has a lot of books out which reflect his technique and most of them have overlapping recipes. Nothing against Apprentice (which I own and like) but because Reinhart keeps adjusting and improving techinque and because there's so much overlap in the recipes, I suggest buying his latest, large book whatever it is -- unless it's specifically oriented towards advanced bakers.
That's not only true about Reinhart, but about nearly every other prolific bread writer. Other than minor recipe variation, what is there to add? How many new secrets arose since the last time the writer described how to form a batard?
I think most beginning bakers will benefit most from learning to successfully bake a simple loaf-pan and boule (or miche) from a very basic book concentrating on the most basic technique. Reinhart's Brother Juniper, which is available in paperback, is (or at least was) a good choice; it certainly rekindled my interest in baking when I received it as a gift in (I think) 1991. But it's 21 years old, Reinhart's techniques have evolved, and there are certainly many other good choices. It's not hugely important.
Once you've developed some consistency with very simple breads, the next step should be spending a lot of time online at The Fresh Loaf, where you can not only pick up a wide variety of recipes but get advice from people who have definite, identifiable viewpoints. The idea is that no matter which technique or viewpoint helped someone turn the corner, there are a lot of others just as valid and just as good.
Once you've begun to acquire the information to find what works best for you, you can make informed choices about which baking cookbooks will best fit on your shelves.
I always like going with a preferment, a poolish nonetheless. It speeds up processing time greatly.
I have used for years the Julia Childs book Baking with Julia. Lots of great info, technique and recipes from many different chefs. Its been a go to book for years.
I love all the books mentioned above, but the dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is in my fridge most days.
The Tartine Bread book takes the cake (haha baking puns) in terms of bread books I've seen. The first third is how to make his classic french country loaf using a wild yeast starter. The second third is about all the other types of bread you can make using the same starter (like croissant, baguette, brioche, ect...), and the final third is all about what you can do with day old bread.
If you are very serious about baking I think that having and feeding a wild yeast starter is a great way to improve the quality of your bread. You can start with flour and water and feed it with even amounts of both every day for a few weeks until it matures a bit. But the more you feed it and the older it gets the more mature your starter becomes and the flavor of the bread increases.
I still use my tattered copy of Edward Espe Brown's Tassajara Bread Book as well as the others mentioned on this thread.