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Since I've made this plunge and ordered this KitchenAid pro, for which I'm eternally grateful to y'all for your advice and tips, now I need a good bread cookbook. What's the best bread book for, well, not a true novice, but someone without a great deal of breadbaking experience?

asked by Kayb almost 6 years ago
23 answers 863 views
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added almost 6 years ago

I've got a few bread specific books, but not any of the ones that seem to be highly recommended for real day-to-day use.

I bought the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion a few years ago and have found it to be my "Joy of Cooking" for all things baking, including great breads. It really thoroughly explains techniques and ingredients and how they work. I've used several of their bread recipes with great success.

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 6 years ago

IMHO look for a book that gives recipes in weight...you should also get a digital scale..with a function to zero out the mixing bowl weight (all of them have that now) and affordable.
Living in the south some of our supermarket AP flours are softer mixes than most and humidity can throw off cup measurements. So, it will be a learning processes.

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hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added almost 6 years ago

You can't go wrong with "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Seriously, check it out.

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 6 years ago

Two books come to mind; THE BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE by Peter Reinhart, and the world changing MY BREAD by Jim Lahey; Mr. "No knead bread".

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added almost 6 years ago

Kayb, all good suggestions, but if you make Jim Lahey's no-knead bread (I do, and it is wonderful!) you won't need to use your new mixer! I sense you would like to learn traditional bread making -- the other books mentioned would be more useful to you. And of course there's lots of information and helpful tips on various bread blogs. Sam1148 is right about the scale -- and you will find lots of other uses for it, too.

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added almost 6 years ago

I second The Bread Bible! The recipes can be long and detailed, but that along with the info on ingredients & techniques gave me a better understanding of the simple, mysterious, and gratifying act of making bread than any other single resource I've used.
I'll add Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The simple, no-knead approach might have some limits, but I'm making my own bread (and pizza and sticky buns) much more often since I got this book. As I type!

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 6 years ago

@cookbookchick.

I failed a couple of times on the 'no-kneed bread'. This weekend I found a recipe that used weights. I still stupidly put in too much water, because it didn't 'feel right' but it came out very good..with more open structure--which I liked.

http://blog.khymos.org...

That recipe calls for fresh yeast which can be hard to find..I went back to the original NYT source and used measurements for the dry yeast. (1/4 tsp).

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added almost 6 years ago

My two favorites are "How to Bake" and "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day." The first one has a really nice range of breads, and none are too difficult. The second has ONE technique which you can use to make loads of breads. It's positively brilliant.

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added almost 6 years ago

I really like breadmakers apprentice

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added almost 6 years ago

I know it is WAY too 80's, but I still love "The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever" by Madge Rosenbaum. How can you not love a book by a woman named Madge? I no longer use the bread machine and have gone over to the Jim Lahey no-knead method most of the time, but Madge's recipes still rock. Once you know how to make bread, who needs a cookbook, except to find wacky recipes with sandwich filling ideas?

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added almost 6 years ago

I'm WAY too 70's! I still use the Tassjara Bread Book! And The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Artisan Breads in 5Minutes a Day.

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 6 years ago

I don't own a stand mixer. I do pizza dough and kneed breads in my bread machine.
On the 'non-cook' cycle. Then bake in the oven.

I really want to get a stand mixer..but space and cost is an issue. Plus, I'd be tempted to making more flatting things and sweets.

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added almost 6 years ago

I am way too 70s, too, and like Eliana60, I also loved the Tassajara Bread Book. But I taught myself to bake bread under the inspiring tutelage of James Beard in "Beard on Bread." He is a great teacher.

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added almost 6 years ago

Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice" is the gold standard, IMHO. The recipes can be involved (they pretty much all use starters/preferments, so they carry over 2 days), but in terms of the quality of the bread, no match. And the explanation of the science and mechanics of the actual process is without compare. It's the "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" of the bread world.

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added almost 6 years ago

It depends on what kind of bread you want to bake. I like The Bread Bible, but I make all our bread so we need something whole grain for everyday eating. Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book and Peter Reinhardt's whole grain book have been my favorites. My first oven spring came from Laurel's kitchen book! I highly recommend it if you want to master whole grain breads.

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added almost 6 years ago

I used to bake bread every day using recipes from The Bakery Lane Soup Bowl Cookbook, authored by the owners of Bakery Lane Soup Bowl in Middlebury, VT.

Easy and delicious bread - my favorite being Anadama Bread.

http://www.paperbackswap...

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added almost 6 years ago

Here's a web site for The Fresh Loaf. It's a good site for when you get more into your bread making and have some specific questions. Always a good read with lots of info and sharing of experience on each recipe listed!
http://www.thefreshloaf...

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added almost 6 years ago

Here's another website for you. It has information for beginners. http://www.breadworld.com...

After you make friends with the yeast, you're good to go. You'll find your own tricks. For instance, when I bake loaf bread, when I think it has risen fully in the pans, I put the pans in a cold oven. While the oven heats, the bread will rise some more. You'll have to adjust the time a bit, but try it.

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added almost 6 years ago

A couple of oldies but still exceptionally solid: James Beard's "Beard on Bread" and Marion Cunningham's "The Fannie Farmer Baking Book." I love the Lahey, too, and a brand new one, "Good to the Grain," by Kim Boyce, has a wonderful recipe for oatmeal bread.

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added almost 6 years ago

KA Cool Thing #1: No more dirty saucepan, mixing bowl, kneading surface and second bowl (greased) for one loaf of bread. I do everything in the KA bowl, including scalding milk or melting butter/shortening directly on the stove (leave it there until it's slightly warm to the wrist--think baby bottle--before adding the yeast and remaining ingredients). Attach the dough hook and turn on the motor. Don't go too far away in case the machine starts to walk off your counter or the dough starts to crawl too far up the hook. When the dough has cleaned the sides of the bowl, detach it from the machine and cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap for the rising. Look! The kitchen's still clean!

Cool Thing #2: A common beginner mistake is to add too much flour during kneading because the dough is so sticky and messy. The result is a dry, tough and heavy loaf. A long kneading (8 to 10 minutes) will make the dough less sticky and more workable with the adding extra flour, and the result is bread that's chewy but not tough and has a nice, moist crumb. With a KA, you need not fear working with a wet, almost pourable dough. (Try Julia's recipe for French bread--your kitchen cred will be higher if you do it by hand, however--or Jeff Smith's recipe for Chicago-style pizza, which were the first two recipes I made after receiving my KA.)
http://www.cyber-kitchen...
http://www.pizzamaking...

Cool Thing #3: YOU HAVE A KITCHENAID! Besides bread, you can whip up mass quantities of fruitcake, Italian or French or American buttercream, and divinity, and marshmallows, and anything else with a heavy batter or that requires a long beating time, and you'll have both hands free to reach for the vanilla or your coffee or to let out the dog.

Two not-so-cool things: It takes a while to get the hang of adding flour or powdered sugar to the bowl without breathing it; and owning one is kind of like owning a pick-up truck--you might have a brother-in-law who insists on borrowing yours instead of getting one of his own.

Fc23ea4b 9ae1 494e 8a6f ba43f6488062  me by barbara tyroler
added almost 6 years ago

Lend the truck, if you must, but not the mixer! And about the adding of dry ingredients while the mixer is going, I finally found the rhythm for that but you can also get a plastic thing that feeds the dry ingredients in neatly. Ask for one for the nearest gift-giving occasion.

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added almost 6 years ago

Friends -- thanks so much for all this great advice! I found a copy of Beard on Bread at the library's used book sale, and ordered The Breadmaker's Apprentice. I've got The Bread Bible on my wish list, and will get it shortly. The KA is here, riding around in a carton in the back seat of my car, because I haven't had time to bring it in and unpack it, and I have to get a cart to put it on anyway, and it appears my daughter is going to make me a grandmother in the next two or three days, so it may be a while before I get to take it for its training cruise.....she always WAS an ornery kid!

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added almost 6 years ago

So you're telling us that your daughter has a bun in the oven? Congratulations!