How to assess whether a bread recipe is any good

Recipes for the same bread type have different ingredient amounts and it's unclear which one would be "best."

Ana B.
  • Posted by: Ana B.
  • March 16, 2021


Nancy March 16, 2021
First, Ana, there is hardly any bread recipe that's bad. I've been making bread for years and never found a bad one.
Second, in some categories (Marcella Hazan tomato sauce, Toll House cookies, Nach Waxman brisket) there are acknowledged stars and recipes that are made more often, but I've never seen one bread recipe touted as best.
Third, the variations in ingredients you mention are natural and reflect the cook's preference, experience, situation (bread is very responsive to climate), tradition, etc.
Fourth, when you do an online search for recipes, many sites have numbers in parentheses (1,001) reflecting how many readers have made and/or liked that recipe. So start with the ones with the most user-endorsements by the numbers.
Last, you can compare a few (say, 3 or 4) recipes for the same bread to see what are usual and what are unusual proportions. And make your choice.
After all this, keep baking bread, make notes, see which recipes and which proportions you like best, and repeat those :) Enjoy!
Nancy March 16, 2021
PS about whether there is one very popular bread recipe? If any, Jim Lahey's No-Knead bread comes close.
Ana B. March 16, 2021
Thanks for your insights Nancy! I love bread too so will take your suggestion a step further and try different "versions" of the same bread and see what tastes best for me and my family -- the immediate project: traditional Irish Soda Bread
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