Conquer Bread Baking With the Help of 15,000 New Friends

May  3, 2018

Get ready for flour-covered countertops, because all throughout May in our Baking Club we'll be baking through Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Bread baking can be intimidating at times, but even if you've never touched yeast before, we encourage you to give it a go this month—after all, you've got the support of 15,000 fellow members! And, if you need a personal endorsement, it doesn't get much better than Stephanie B.'s experience:

Oh happy day, it's the start of Bread Baker's Apprentice month! Or as I affectionately call it, the Gospel of Peter. Before this book, I could not bake bread. I. Could. Not. I tried, and always ended up with dense, tough, flat disk-like objects that would probably work better as frisbees than food. Much to my dog's disappointment, I didn't test this hypothesis. I'm not a bad cook and could handle desserts fine, but bread was a reliable fail: Until I got this book, so I'm not exaggerating (much) when I say it changed my life. Breads clicked for me after this book. I think the value of this book is it teaches why steps in bread making are important, then gives you enough knowledge to figure out what works best for you and apply it beyond just this book.

But even if you're a regular bread baker, this 300+ page book covers a lot of ground, so there are surely new tricks to pick up for even the most experienced among us!

Any edition of the book is fair game, but if you've been debating whether or not to pick up the most recent one, the 15th Anniversary Edition, in the article below Reinhart goes through the five changes in the bread world that he needed to take into account for the newest edition:

What are you waiting for? Rise up to the challenge and join us in the Club, the Baking Club that is. Peter Reinhart himself will be joining us there as well, so it will almost be like getting to take a class with the master baker, only better, because you can bake at any hour of the day and jammies count as proper attire.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I would love to learn how to bake a better sourdough!”
— Sarah

Is there a particular type of bread you want to tackle? Or already have a favorite type to bake? Fill us in below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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  • Sarah
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


Novice September 24, 2020
I'm a complete novice at baking bread. I plan to use a bread maker. Recipes i have viewed call for oil. Are there recipes that do not require oil (as well as no sugar)?
Randy May 13, 2018
Maria C. May 4, 2018
I’m struggling to perfect Gluten Free Bread, I’d like some general bread making advice. My gluten free loaves are pretty good but don’t rise much and are often gluggy and uncooked in the middle and bottom. I’m not sure what I can do to improve. Some bread maker tricks would help.
nancy A. May 3, 2018
would love to make salt rising bread
Sarah May 3, 2018
I’ve been experimenting with sourdough rises and tastes good but it’s not dense and sour like sourdough. I would love to learn how to bake a better sourdough!
Stephanie B. May 10, 2018
Have you tried searching the forum The Fresh Loaf? Every time I google a sourdough question, that forum comes up first. I had the same problem recently and got some good tips from them. A few were that the acetic acid producing (sour) bacteria like a denser environment, so using a firmer starter might help. Long, cold fermentations are good too, so considering adding that into your process, and degassing and rising your dough a few times. This got one of my attempts pretty sour tasting. Still not sure how people get really hydrated doughs, like Tartine-style loaves, sour though...
Debbi S. May 3, 2018
Stephanie, it was a thin layer of oil, it just rubbed me the wrong way. Lol
Wendy P. May 3, 2018
My new book just arrived (yeah!) and I'm eyeing the English Muffins as my first recipe!
Debbi S. May 3, 2018
I took a Craftsy class from Peter and he is a wonderful teacher! He did one thing that really turned me off and that was kneading and rolling the dough with oil and not flour. It seemed like an unnecessary amount of calories added to bread. So I never looked back. Please let me know if he doesn’t teach that way anymore.
Stephanie B. May 3, 2018
Most of the recipes in his book call for handling dough with flour, a couple call for oil but usually give the option of flour or oil (I usually opt for flour). I'm curious how much oil he used in the Craftsy class! For the recipes where oil is suggested, the book usually calls for a very thin layer on your kneading surface.
HalfPint May 3, 2018
Would love to learn how to make a good corn rye :)