If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.Robert Browning
I have been working remotely since the start of the COVID pandemic, almost two years. Which means I’ve been sitting in front of a computer pretty much all day, not even getting up for meetings because they’re all virtual now. Taking a break from that and browsing through books has been really relaxing. Plus, it is a whole lot easier to follow a recipe from the printed page, rather than having to constantly refresh the screen, sift through ads, etc.
Below are the books that I have found to be the most useful. Links are to the author’s websites, not to purchase options. I have used King Arthur Baking Company’s website over and over again, love Bake With Jack’s website and videos, and often find myself turning to Serious Eats for great recipes and explanations as to why something works. I also really like Leite’s Culinaria. The last two are great resource for recipes from many sources, but it’s not just about bread.
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
This reads like a novel. Reinhart writes with authority and heart, and his recipes are clear and methodical. I learned so much about breads and bread baking. LOVE IT.
The Handmade Loaf
Award-winning baker and sourdough expert, and photographer and columnist for The Guardian, and Sydney Morning Herald. His methods avoid long, vigorous kneading, and instead focus on creating doughs that are “gently streched and folded, or very gently kneaded in the bowl”. Website
America’s Test Kitchen
I really love how ATK details why a recipe/method works, and the word “Illustrated” in the title says it all. Like the yellow sticker states, there’s “1,000 photos”. With the detailed instructions and all those photos, you really can’t go wrong.
Flour Water Salt Yeast
Local (Portland) tech engineer, turned baker. “Ken Forkish’s story is as unique, interesting, and delicious as his famous breads and pizzas…and the result has been a gift to all of us…” – Peter Reinhart
I have so many questions on why there are so many different approaches to baking bread. It really helps to understand the science behind the techniques.
Amy Emberling & Frank Carollo
Co-Owners Emberling and Carollo published their cookbook in 2017, to celebrate this beloved cultural and culinary institution’s 25th anniversary. It includes their famous Jewish rye, challah, bagels and sourdough, and 61 other favorites. NOTE: There are a few errors, which are listed here by the publisher.