View Full Version : Best bread book?
04-10-2006, 10:05 AM
I want to buy my husband a bread cookbook for his birthday next week- he's made a couple of basic breads so I want something that gives good, simple instructions but explains everything well. I also want one with a wide range of recipes. Any recommendations for the best one? I've looked at the breadbaker's apprentice and the bread bible, but I was hoping to get input from more experienced bread bakers. We're having fun trying new recipes!
04-10-2006, 10:17 AM
My favorite is the Breadbaker's Apprentice. I also have the Bread Bible, and I think the Apprentice book is better for someone starting out - there's more explanation, and it's less overwhelming.
04-10-2006, 10:18 AM
I love the Bread Bible but it is pretty hard-core. It goes deep into the science of breadmaking. If he likes that kind of stuff, it's great, but for people who just want "recipes" it may be too much to handle. The advantage is that you can gain professional-level knowledge and it does have an incredible variety of bread types and techniques represented.
04-10-2006, 11:08 AM
I have really enjoyed The Bread Baker's Apprentice
It really depends on how he approaches baking. Guys more than most women I know can be very exacting and want to get behind all the science and chemistry of cooking, or they can just want recipes and ideas. Id he the science guy or the let's not get too serious guy?
You need to know a little science so you don't kill your yeast or ignore stretching those gluten strands, but once you know that, how much is too much will vary for folks. Some books are more of a Julia Child approach -- learn something and work with it, make it your own, knowing imperfection is usually very good. Others are simply a collection of favorite recipes or inspirations. Some seek to publish the definitive, exacting treatise. Which one is best depends on what your style and tempermant are, what you are looking for and what you already have. I have a number of bread books, so I probably have some of each.
I have Baker's Apprentice, but it's not my favorite. I have Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible as well as Rose Levy B's. Had the first one longer, so I have used it more. Beth's Bread Bible and James Clayton's The Complete Book of Breads are among my favorites. Beth also has Bread of the Southwest, which is one of my favorite "different" bread books. America's Bread Book is a collection of breads from around the country as opposed to a learning book. My sourdough cinnamon rolls are an adaptation of a recipe in that book.
If you have a good bookstore where you can go look at the books, I would suggest looking at the style in which the books are written as well as the recipes themselves and see which has the best balance or style and collection for the two of you (since you'll share what he makes).
04-10-2006, 01:44 PM
Beth - I just ordered Breads of the Southwest after your recommendation. It combines 2 things I love - bread and any food from the southwest! I have another of Beth H's books and I really like them. I had no idea this book existed - thanks!
As for bread book recommendations, if you use a bread machine (or even if you don't) Electric Bread has some great recipes. They cover all the bases of different breads with great photos and instructions. You could always make these recipes by hand.
04-10-2006, 02:50 PM
Here was a poll I posted a year or two ago on the same topic:
I have Bernard Claytons Bread book, and both Bread Bibles. I find I bounce between all three, but right now my favorite is Bernard Claytons. In fact, I just made a fabulous white bread the other weekend. Yum!
Gracie, hope you like it! I saw that title listed in another book and had to find a used copy. I made the Taos Pumpkin Bread and posted a review here some time back. Wonderful taste and texture and very satisfying to make. Pretty too -- took to a luncheon and they were very impressed. I can't remember what else, but I've just enjoyed that book. :)
04-10-2006, 03:08 PM
another vote for Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible. since it's in paperback, perhaps you could get him a second book as well? i like her bread machine book as well, but sounds like he's using the oven, which i also prefer. i've always heard great things about Bernard Clayton's book, as well as (James) Beard on Bread.
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