Have I ever told you about my second love? First one is, of course, baking but reading books about baking and related stuff is my second love. And especially, when it is any bread making book because working with the bread is my favorite part in the kitchen. Having a good experience as a home baker and now as an educator, I learned from a number of different bakers from all over the world (Thanks to my vast collection of books about bread).
Initially, I didn’t want to fill up my shelf with a lot of books but the more you read the more chance you get to know about the working strategies of different bakers and much more. So, today I decided why not share my list of books with all you guys and help you get that particular book you were in need of. Before you dive in, don’t miss the 7th one, it is my favorite.
1. Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes
You know what our famous pastry chef Jessica Weiss of Marta has to say about this book: “This one is my favorite bread book of all time”. The book first appeared in 2004, written by Jeffery Hamelman and was considered as the revelation and masterpiece of bread making literature.
Jeffery, a recipient of the Bread Baker’s Guild of America’s golden Baguette Award has described the complicated techniques of bread making using some easy-to-understand illustrations. Beginners can take full advantage of the book because the author will take you to a very deep world of bread-making and will make it approachable for you. Home bakers or those who are new to baking should consider it as a must-have book in the bakery.
2. Bread Science
Well, this one is the ‘Not-so-famous’ kind of book but if it comes to the pool of knowledge, nothing is better than this book, which is absolutely worthwhile when researching topics for the magazine. You can take the Bread Science as an introduction to making bread and I would suggest advanced bakers have it for sure. Now, you must be confused with my suggestion. I know ‘Good for Introduction’ and ‘Advance’ doesn’t go well hand-in-hand.
The reason for my recommendation is that advanced bread lovers can easily understand the science behind this art, right from the gluten to fermentation. Also, the book is self-published that means it might not match the professional’s level but you’ll also agree with the fact that GOOD CONTENT is all that matters in the end. So, those who already know baking and want to get into the processes, go for this book.
3. The Taste of Bread: A Translation of Le Goût du Pain
Presenting you all intermediate to advanced bakers a superb book on bread baking by legendary baker Raymond Calvel and for your information, The Taste of Bread is a no different book but a translation of the French cookbook, Le Goût du Pain. Also, are you one of those who doesn’t want to keep a pile of books on your counter? No problem. This is the book for you that you need to buy right now.
Zachary Golper of Bien Cuit says that “The books give you a clear voice of the movement that has taken place over the last 30 years”. Not just this but if you are really passionate about bread making then you can crack the code of French bread-baking secrets with a breeze.
4. Flour Water Salt Yeast
Before I gave a read to this book myself, I heard a lot of good things about it but was not sure whether I should go for it or not. Now, I am glad that I didn’t ignore it otherwise I would have missed one of the best books about bread baking. Ken Forkish, a Portlan-based baker tried and tested his recipes in his home oven, thus, made this book more approachable for the beginners and those who want to start their own bakery.
Ken has beautifully explained all the key concepts regarding bread in a great detail with clear-cut instructions and striking image, which ultimately makes is amazingly helpful for the home bakers in making top-notch artisan bread and pizzas. No matter if you are a beginner or an experienced baker, there’s something for you all in the book.
5. Tartine Bread and Tartine Book no.3
Have you ever heard about the very famous or I should say the rock star in the world of baking, Chad Roberston? If not, first go and read about him. Well, the baker has gained this level of popularity due to some definite reasons and his readings are not only eye-pleasing but they are actually very good. And if you are JUST interested in bread making, I assure you that it will make passionate about the art. There’s one more book by Chad, Tartine Book no.3, which is also very extraordinary but demands a lot of dedication when it comes to finding all of the ingredients.
His both the books are extremely helpful for you and you can definitely get started in bread through them but would be better and more useful if you already know or have worked with the bread. If anyone wants to get into some bread baking philosophy or love content with beautiful pictures, do not miss adding this book in your shelf.
6. From the Wood-Fired Oven
This fantastic book by leading baker and instructor Richard Miscovich challenges the idea that for baking bread and pizzas there’s one thing and i.e. wood-fired oven. You would have barely imagined about baking and cooking any delectable or treaty meals in a wood-fired oven but that’s possible and the book carries information and recipes for the same.
Not to worry if you’re one of those without the wood-fired oven because these recipes can even be prepared in the home oven. Richard Miscovich worked with the wood-fired ovens for a very long time and brought you this piece of knowledge, which is divided into 3 main categories: 1. How the oven works 2. How you can use them 3. How to make bread.
The best thing about the book is that it’ll teach you the recipes that are already organized by decreasing heat required and also mirroring the oven’s temperature as its heat disappears.
7. My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method
This book is personally one of my favorite books as it covers my favorite part of bread baking i.e. no-knead bread baking. Jim Lahey with the help of NY Times food writer Mark Bittman made it possible in bringing quality home bread baking to millions of folks out there. Jim’s main motto was to provide something for those who were starving for time and quality bread.
You’ll definitely see how beautifully he has presented his creative and diverse recipes. Are you a chocolate lover? Do you have a special place for bread in your heart? Do you have a pulse? If yes, I am sure you cannot go wrong with the book.
8. Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour
In person, I simply love the King Arthur Flour Company and everything related to it, be it their products, store, or bakery. But please don’t think that I am being biased towards the company because I am going to recommend the book. The book is really appreciable for a good reason, it is clearly written and would be a pleasure for you all when you go through it. When I give a read to this book, I believe we all should stop everything and just bake and enjoy.
It’s good if you already know about whole grain baking. Forget about it and think of light and flaky croissants, delectable cookies, dreamy pie crust, and moist brownies and too that all made with whole grains. The book will take you into a different world of cakes, cookies, pastries, and bread and even more by transforming the existing whole grain baking into sweet, flavorful, and lively goodies of all types.
9. The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Lora Brody, author of Basic Baking says, “Both novice and experienced bakers have cause to celebrate Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Peter’s years on hands-on experience combined with his excellent teaching skills made this book the closest thing to having a master at your side as you bake”.
You’ll find it very interesting when you go through Peter’s latest bread breakthrough, how he enters into the picture from his study in a few of France’s famed boulangeries and also, how spending time with his students in the culinary academy kitchen is always a pleasure.
This is a journey how Peter got to learn from Paris’s most renowned bakers to how he’s always by the side of their students and teaching them the 12 stages of building bread. And an important thing to mention is: all the instructions are clearly explained with over 100 step-by-step photographs.
10. The Bread Bible
The author of The Cake Bible and The Pie and Pastry Bible has brought to you her third book in the series The Bread Bible with a pool of knowledge for the novices and for those who not just want to learn the HOW’s but also the WHY’s of baking. You’ll get to learn a lot from 2 important sections: Understanding and Pointers for Success that explains the importance of different baking techniques and ingredients a recipe calls for.
Not just this but Rose Levy Barenbaum also shares the chemistry of baking and 150 effective and distinct recipes that have become her trademark for sure. She has also provided you with easy-to-use ingredient tables with both weight and volume.
11. Dough and Crust
Earlier I mentioned about Tartine and Tartine no.3 for those who are really passionate or maybe just interested in bread. But what about the rest of the people? Here I come with this amazing book called Dough and Crust for those who are curious to know or learn about bread or the beginners.
For your information, Dough, first of the two books was an immense success in Britain and even won a number of prizes after it got published in the year 2005. The book is really accessible and inspiring when it comes to bread making’s introductory part and also for all those future home bakers who wish to start like a cookbook’s introduction.
Richard Bertinet then presents his second book named Crust that definitely helps the bakers to move one step forward and take them into the world of slowly fermented bread and sourdough.
12. Crust and Crumb
Last but definitely not the least, here comes the Peter Reinhart’s award-winning book, Crust and Crumb which worth adding to your bookshelf. The book contains not just 1, 2, or 3 but 50 stupendous formulas that help bakers to create numerous creative variations of yeasted starters and foundational bread, delectable cakes, biscuits, pastries, and unleavened bread, carbon dioxide leavened quick bread and wild yeast sourdoughs.
The book even makes you learn the untold possibilities of the crust and crumb, frankly bread’s heart and soul. You’ll get to know about all the range of bread from basic to complicated and plain to revolutionary.
Image source for all the pictures (except 2nd and 8th): https://www.amazon.com