Ask Evan: What Are Your Favorite Bread Books?

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askevan_header_2Every Tuesday I answer a question from a Good Food listener.  You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here.  This week’s question comes from Chrissy:

What is the best bread recipe book – for beginners and overall?

photo (4)I have about 20 bread books and I’ve made at least one recipe from each of them. First of all, you have to define the type of bread you’re most interested in making. But if you work your way through any of the books I recommend you will achieve bread-making mastery. But you have to make a lot of bread. When it comes to handcrafted foods like bread only repetition=mastery. Overall I would say that Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is the greatest overall breadmaking class in cookbook form. Peter Reinhart has spend his professional career teaching folks how to make bread. Here is Peter’s blog for a quick glance at all of his books.

But I have hordes of bread books. The photo shows just a few. So here are some thoughts:

Do you want recipes based on a levain or sour starter? Do you want that starter to be a natural one you create? Then it’s Nancy Silverton’s Breads From the La Brea Bakery.

Are you interested in learning the very easy, more forgiving wet dough method? Then the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day books or Jim Leahy’s Book is for you.

Are you a mathematician who values the idea of ratios and master recipes? Then check out Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb. Actually an exceptional self-taught bread class would be to buy several of Peter’s books and work your way through them. He is a marvelous teacher. His book Whole Grain Breads assures your healthy efforts won’t lead to leaden loaves.

Do you love bread and want to know what to do with it after it’s made? Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson has one of the most extensive and delicious collections of recipes using bread as a base for many different dishes.