What is the book every baker must have?...


My friend is going to the State and I want her to bring me baking book.

I'm sure, you bakers, tried more then few books (bread)

What is the book every baker must have...?

or books :)


228 users have voted.


virtuousbread.com's picture
virtuousbread.com 2010 November 8

There are various country specific bread cookery book writers.  If you are American, you buy James Beard.  If you are English you by Dan Leopard or Andrew Whitley or Richard Bertinet.  If you are Swedish you by Helene Johannsen (but it's not translated).  If you want book on Italian Bread:  The Italian Baker by Carol Field (an American).  There are plenty of good German books but again they are not translated.  I hoep that helps!

Postal grunt 2010 November 8

Chad Robertson's "Tartine" is being received very well by the bakers that post on "The Fresh Loaf". Ciril Hitz's books are mostly yeast, rather than sourdough, oriented but that shouldn't hinder anyone from reading them.I have his book on bread. I admit to favoring Jeff Hamelman's book, "Bread". It is more of a textbook for students training to be professional bakers but is still a very worthwhile read for the home baker. The James Beard books are still available but there are now many quality bread baking books competing for our dollars here in the US. The problems seems to be having the time to read all of them for comparison and then eating all the loaves that appeal to you after you read the recipe. It's a good time to be baking bread.

rossnroller 2010 November 8

As is already implicit on this thread, there are many good bread books, and people's preferences and perspectives vary.

I think it's important for you to be clear about what you want from a book. Recipes? Specifically sourdough? Expert bakers' philosophies on bread? Detailed explanations of the processes and techniques used in bread-baking? A book written for the home baker, or a broader perspective covering pro and amateur interests (and often, of course, the two meld)? A book for beginners, or one that is more involved and caters for experienced bakers? Breads from different cultures? The list goes on and on.

It might help narrow down the choices if you outline what YOU want from a bread book, Avitulalev.


Avitulalev 2010 November 8

I would say, specifically sourdough, detailed explanations of the processes and techniques, not a book written for the home baker, not for beginners....Unfortunately in the country where I live there aren't baking schools, and no Master Bakers to learn from and work with, so I learn from the Web, videos, forums and from my own experince...

Thank's for helping, Ross

rossnroller 2010 November 8

Now that you've specified what you're after, I'm with Postal grunt and Mike in recommending Hamelman's Bread, although with one qualifier. That is, most recipes in his book are not for sourdough bread (but there are some SD bread recipes, and the ones I've tried are excellent). Not an easy read for beginners, but for the serious artisan baker, whether home or professional, it's a great book that covers a lot of territory. Many refer to it as the bread Bible.

Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice is another excellent book that's widely regarded as a bread classic - again, though, only a few of the recipes are sourdough.

One that I don't have but have heard great reports on is Nancy Silverton's Bread From The La Brea Bakery - and the recipes in this one are mostly sourdough starter based. Silverton is one of the key figures at the forefront of the artisan bread movement in the States, and her reference point is traditional European breads. Worth investigating, I'm sure...





masterbaker 2010 November 10

Hey there!!!

If you want to have a great overview of which books are out there and which are useable check out this website:


It´s the american "The Bread Bakers Guild of America" website!!!

Go and check out the bookstore, you will find tons of books with links to amazon!

This is heaven for me ;o)

So far I have around 60% of all these books  ;o)


Enjoy, peace and have a swell day, Rene

mozzie 2010 November 23

Bread by Hamelman is an excellent text and taught me a great deal ... but its one of the worst books I've ever bought! The hardback edition I have has fallen apart (poor binding) and did so within about the first dozen uses -  which isn't much good as I refer to it at least once a week. I learned so many refinements from the author, who writes clearly and has an engaging style. But I have to gather the book in my arms to use it.

 English Bread Cookery  by Elizabeth David is still available as a Penguin paperback in some parts - a US hardback reprint edition was also available for a while. More historical, and rather dated (a bit UK post-war) but has excellent variations and regional specialities.

On sourdough, I'm working my way through three parts of Discovering Sourdough (PDF) by Teresa L Hosier Greenway. This online link is provided in the frontispiece so I'm hoping its Ok to post it here. http://www.northwestsourdough.com/discovering/

Also, I had some trouble tracking down the Swedish book referred to above - the full details are "Bröd från Brunkebergs Bageri" av Heléne Johansson ( ISBN-13 9789174240665).

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 November 24

I am currently working my way through "Local Breads" by Daniel Leader (USA) and am loving it.  There are bread recipes/styles/techniques from all over Europe, some yeasted, loads of sourdough, lots of different flours used.  Great FAQs, background info on bread styles in different regions and methods for shaping, proofing, slashing etc.  He includes imperial, metric and baker's % for each recipe.  My favourite book so far.

I also have:

Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (USA) - mostly yeasted, but good descriptions of techniques with lots of photos.  His weights are all imperial (ie ounces) which is a little irritating when I use metric, but if you have scales that measure both then its no problem.  The lack of SD recipes in this book doesn't make it my favourite, but lots of good info in it for background reading.

The Art of Handmade Bread by Dan Lepard (UK) - mixture of yeasted, SD and other raising agents recipes.  I use Dan's technique of kneading i.e. repeated 10-15 second kneads with a rest time in between over an hour or so, rather than a 10-15 minute knead at the start.  Very contemporary recipes from Europe and UK, have only made a few so far.

Bourke Street Bakery (Aus) - have only just bought this and  haven't made anything from it yet.  have read my way through the beginning which is quite informative.  Has techniques for making starters (as do the others above), basic recipe for white, wholemeal, spelt and rye SD loaves then a bunch of derivatives of these which look nice and interesting.  Only about a quarter of the book is devoted to bread and the rest is made up of pastries, cakes, biscuits and desserts.

The Global Baker by Dean Brettschneider (NZ) - I have only recently bought this as well, but have leant it to a friend so can't give you a huge run down.  Includes breads, cake and dessert recipes.

If I could only have one of the above books, I'd choose Local Breads.  But like Ross and the others have said, its a hard choice and every likes different books for different reasons!  Good luck deciding :o)


Big Q 2010 December 17

Nancy Silverton's Bread From The La Brea Bakery is the book I go back to time and time again. I made my first starters using her method many years ago, and 'Harriett' is now 8 years old. She (Harriett- my starter) has had to endure moves from Melbourne to tropical Queensland, and an enforced hiatus, but is active, energetic and makes to most delicious breads.


Another I have bought is the Advanced Book of Bread and Pastry- written by Michael Suas from the San Francisco Baking Institute. Brilliant book, with lots of technique and theory hints.


I also recommend the village baker, and the Bread Builders book for oven information.


Happy baking

sustainthebaker 2010 December 25

This one, by Rose Levy Barenbaum, is a good book to have. Not all of the recipes are sourdough, but she includes a section on them. The book, in my opinion, is not for the beginner, but for the one wanting to make their bread more artisan. It breaks down the science of baking and the methods needed to produce an excellent loaf, loaf after loaf. Her recipes are in volume and weight, although she strongly suggests using weight.

I have only baked one loaf thus far, but really liked the outcomes. Furthermore, she encourages the reader to learn bakers math and begin creating their own recipes via a standard hearth recipe she included in the book. I have already learned a tremendous amount about baking bread with this book and have only had it for just over a week.

Her strong opinions and attitudes towards equipment and ingredients immediately let the reader know she knows what she is talking about. I suggest reading the recipes thoroughly before beginning. Overall, I find this book to be a valuable source for the hobby baker to the professional baker.

John D Barbarino 2021 April 6

Sarah Owens  SOURDOUGH.  She is a botanist and knows her ingredients.  Great with a digital scale and some baking experience.  it is about health, quality and taste.   Not bad ingredients to add.      She is translated in German and Spanish but truly an American and Southern to boot.


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