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The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread

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Co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper’s Bakery, author of the landmark books Brother Juniper’s Bread Book and Crust & Crumb, and distinguished instructor at the world’s largest culinary academy, Peter Reinhart has been a leader in America’s artisanal bread movement for over fifteen years. Never one to be content with yesterday’s baking triumph, however, Peter continues to Co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper’s Bakery, author of the landmark books Brother Juniper’s Bread Book and Crust & Crumb, and distinguished instructor at the world’s largest culinary academy, Peter Reinhart has been a leader in America’s artisanal bread movement for over fifteen years. Never one to be content with yesterday’s baking triumph, however, Peter continues to refine his recipes and techniques in his never-ending quest for extraordinary bread. In The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter shares his latest bread breakthroughs, arising from his study in several of France’s famed boulangeries and the always-enlightening time spent in the culinary academy kitchen with his students. Peer over Peter’s shoulder as he learns from Paris’s most esteemed bakers, like Lionel Poilâne and Phillippe Gosselin, whose pain à l’ancienne has revolutionized the art of baguette making. Then stand alongside his students in the kitchen as Peter teaches the classic twelve stages of building bread, his clear instructions accompanied by over 100 step-by-step photographs. You’ll put newfound knowledge into practice with 50 new master formulas for such classic breads as rustic ciabatta, hearty pain de campagne, old-school New York bagels, and the book’s Holy Grail–Peter’s version of the famed pain à l’ancienne. En route, Peter distills hard science, advanced techniques, and food history into a remarkably accessible and engaging resource that is as rich and multitextured as the loaves you’ll turn out. This is original food writing at its most captivating, teaching at its most inspired and inspiring–and the rewards are some of the best breads under the sun.


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Co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper’s Bakery, author of the landmark books Brother Juniper’s Bread Book and Crust & Crumb, and distinguished instructor at the world’s largest culinary academy, Peter Reinhart has been a leader in America’s artisanal bread movement for over fifteen years. Never one to be content with yesterday’s baking triumph, however, Peter continues to Co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper’s Bakery, author of the landmark books Brother Juniper’s Bread Book and Crust & Crumb, and distinguished instructor at the world’s largest culinary academy, Peter Reinhart has been a leader in America’s artisanal bread movement for over fifteen years. Never one to be content with yesterday’s baking triumph, however, Peter continues to refine his recipes and techniques in his never-ending quest for extraordinary bread. In The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter shares his latest bread breakthroughs, arising from his study in several of France’s famed boulangeries and the always-enlightening time spent in the culinary academy kitchen with his students. Peer over Peter’s shoulder as he learns from Paris’s most esteemed bakers, like Lionel Poilâne and Phillippe Gosselin, whose pain à l’ancienne has revolutionized the art of baguette making. Then stand alongside his students in the kitchen as Peter teaches the classic twelve stages of building bread, his clear instructions accompanied by over 100 step-by-step photographs. You’ll put newfound knowledge into practice with 50 new master formulas for such classic breads as rustic ciabatta, hearty pain de campagne, old-school New York bagels, and the book’s Holy Grail–Peter’s version of the famed pain à l’ancienne. En route, Peter distills hard science, advanced techniques, and food history into a remarkably accessible and engaging resource that is as rich and multitextured as the loaves you’ll turn out. This is original food writing at its most captivating, teaching at its most inspired and inspiring–and the rewards are some of the best breads under the sun.

30 review for The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread

  1. 5 out of 5

    Yodamom

    I love bread ! There it is out there, my secret is out. - Slow bread baking is my method of choice for the moment - Basic bread recipes that you can use fro any type of breads you desire -Advice from bread geniuses aka gods I will never finish it. I will feast on the recipes, alter them with wild abandon. I have been given the tools to forge ahead and try to reach bread god status with this book's guidance I am now the proud owner of this book ! I love making bre I love bread ! There it is out there, my secret is out. - Slow bread baking is my method of choice for the moment - Basic bread recipes that you can use fro any type of breads you desire -Advice from bread geniuses aka gods I will never finish it. I will feast on the recipes, alter them with wild abandon. I have been given the tools to forge ahead and try to reach bread god status with this book's guidance I am now the proud owner of this book ! I love making bread and can't wait to make it better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I ilterally could not wait to open this book and spend a week baking bread. I could almost taste the wonderful earthiness of it when I first cracked open the cover. But then I noticed something - almost every recipe is for white bread. The loaves in here are beautiful and the photography is superior - but where the heck are all the whole wheat recipes? There is only 1 recipe that uses whole wheat, and in the recipe there is a disclaimer that whole wheat is not preferrable because it is too bitte I ilterally could not wait to open this book and spend a week baking bread. I could almost taste the wonderful earthiness of it when I first cracked open the cover. But then I noticed something - almost every recipe is for white bread. The loaves in here are beautiful and the photography is superior - but where the heck are all the whole wheat recipes? There is only 1 recipe that uses whole wheat, and in the recipe there is a disclaimer that whole wheat is not preferrable because it is too bitter. So, if you love whole grains this isn't the book for you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Reinhart is like the Yoda of bread making: he's great if you're looking for a master to guide you through the dense fog of bread making and leave you a jedi on the other side. But if you just want to know how to make a decent bread in your kitchen, well, you don't need Yoda to get you there. This book is needlessly daunting, and given it's wide reputation as a standard text for bread making, it could easily scare off a reader who hadn't actually made a simple bread before. It does have some very Reinhart is like the Yoda of bread making: he's great if you're looking for a master to guide you through the dense fog of bread making and leave you a jedi on the other side. But if you just want to know how to make a decent bread in your kitchen, well, you don't need Yoda to get you there. This book is needlessly daunting, and given it's wide reputation as a standard text for bread making, it could easily scare off a reader who hadn't actually made a simple bread before. It does have some very helpful hints, but they're all buried in the aforementioned jedi fog he's guiding you through. Making bread is not that hard, which is probably why it was invented by people who could not have ever imagined an oil mister, an ingredient Reihnhart considers essential. Get Mark Bittman's no-knead bread recipe from the New York Times website and play with it. Then use the 300 hours you've saved for something productive, like sex or motorcycle repair.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    The best, most profound book on bread baking I have read to date. Instead of offering his Master Recipe and boring simple variations to fill pages, Reinhart teaches you like you were in his classroom. I learned more about bread, the craftwork and the techniques of home baking in this book than in all of my other reads. Whereas Lahey's "My Bread" give the Italian influence of bread it's due, Reinhart approaches the task from Parisian methods. The artistry! The design! The full approachability of The best, most profound book on bread baking I have read to date. Instead of offering his Master Recipe and boring simple variations to fill pages, Reinhart teaches you like you were in his classroom. I learned more about bread, the craftwork and the techniques of home baking in this book than in all of my other reads. Whereas Lahey's "My Bread" give the Italian influence of bread it's due, Reinhart approaches the task from Parisian methods. The artistry! The design! The full approachability of bread making ratio and science behind it! It's all here. Through Reinhart's writing, I feel more confident in developing my own recipes and breads. Empowerment in Creativity. What more could you / should you ask for in a cookbook?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tanya D

    I like the detailed bread-making information and instructions, but I've had mixed results with the recipes. It seems that the recipes are either poorly tested or poorly edited, because the results often don't match the descriptions given in the recipes. For example, one recipe says to mix 3/4 cup water with 1 cup flour into a stiff ball. With this much water, the dough is merely a thick paste. I emailed Mr. Reinhart, the author, to inquire and he sent a helpful, friendly reply. This makes me lik I like the detailed bread-making information and instructions, but I've had mixed results with the recipes. It seems that the recipes are either poorly tested or poorly edited, because the results often don't match the descriptions given in the recipes. For example, one recipe says to mix 3/4 cup water with 1 cup flour into a stiff ball. With this much water, the dough is merely a thick paste. I emailed Mr. Reinhart, the author, to inquire and he sent a helpful, friendly reply. This makes me like the book more, because I know that if I have problems, I can actually contact the author for advice. I recommend this book, but only as a companion to The Bread Bible.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Want to bake bread? This is the one book you need. Period. (Okay. That's really all I want to tell you. But if you really want to know more, let me tell you that there is information here about the various types of bread---stiff, standard, rustic, lean, enriched, rich, flat, direct, indirect, yeasted, leavened, mixed method, and chemical---as well as the twelve stages of making bread, along with detailed recipes for every sort of bread you will ever need or want to make. Period.) Want to bake bread? This is the one book you need. Period. (Okay. That's really all I want to tell you. But if you really want to know more, let me tell you that there is information here about the various types of bread---stiff, standard, rustic, lean, enriched, rich, flat, direct, indirect, yeasted, leavened, mixed method, and chemical---as well as the twelve stages of making bread, along with detailed recipes for every sort of bread you will ever need or want to make. Period.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sam Ley

    I love to cook, so I get a lot of cookbooks. Most are not very good. I dislike cookbooks that are just endless lists of dubious recipes, fraught with superstition, mislabeled measurements, or just written by bad cooks. If I want that, I can have the entire internet. But sometimes one comes along that actually makes me a BETTER CHEF. This is one of them! The recipes are good, but more importantly, Peter takes you through the entire process of baking bread, and what occurs during each o I love to cook, so I get a lot of cookbooks. Most are not very good. I dislike cookbooks that are just endless lists of dubious recipes, fraught with superstition, mislabeled measurements, or just written by bad cooks. If I want that, I can have the entire internet. But sometimes one comes along that actually makes me a BETTER CHEF. This is one of them! The recipes are good, but more importantly, Peter takes you through the entire process of baking bread, and what occurs during each of the many phases of chemical change. He also does a great job of laying out how a step would be done in a professional bakery, how that translates to small-batch baking in a home environment, what aspects of professional baking are worth bringing into your home, and how those aspects affect the final product. One of my biggest pet peeves in cook books is when someone describes some shitty shortcut, and then says, "Tastes exactly like the restaurant, but in half the time, with no fancy ingredients!" which is always a LIE. There may be many good ways of doing something, but there is always an effect, positive or negative. Peter is simultaneously realistic about what can be accomplished with a home oven, but is also clear about what effects the changes will have, and what you can do at home that professional bakeries don't or can't do (such as cold fermentation). He also teaches you bakers percentages (necessary for learning about how bread works), but without pretention, still gives each recipe in bakers %s, by weight, or by volume, so no matter where you are on the path to great baking, you can still participate. Education and support, without pretention or snottiness. All of the recipes I've baked came out fantastic, and I feel like I truly understand bread better - I know understand why previous recipes failed, and when I read recipes in other books, I can understand how they will come out before I even start. Very worthwhile for someone who wants to take their baking to the next step.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    I've been scared of bread before now. Now, I'm making it all the time. The best part is the starting part, and the main thing that is missing (and I'm not sure a book could provide) is some better way of defining dough wetness besides writing words like "sticky" and "tacky". I suspect that the two-fold answer to the problem is videos and just shoving your hands in the dough. The recipes are good (so far), and the only two that haven't worked for me are the Ciabatta and the Casati I've been scared of bread before now. Now, I'm making it all the time. The best part is the starting part, and the main thing that is missing (and I'm not sure a book could provide) is some better way of defining dough wetness besides writing words like "sticky" and "tacky". I suspect that the two-fold answer to the problem is videos and just shoving your hands in the dough. The recipes are good (so far), and the only two that haven't worked for me are the Ciabatta and the Casatiello. I underestimated how wet Ciabatta needed to be, and the cheese I put in the Casatiello wasn't strong enough to matter. Really, the best thing that I can say about it is that it gave me the confidence to mess around with bread. I'm already baking better, modifying recipes, and generally having a good time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    This is a textbook about how to make bread for the home baker. First 100 pages are all about the science and math of bread. It's very interesting to read. The recipes, or formulas as Reinhart calls them, are thoroughly written and illustrated with photos when needed. I would not recommend this book to a beginner since as a whole the book contains so much information that a beginner might be overwhelmed or intimidated. While the actual process of mixing flour, water, yeast, and other things is fa This is a textbook about how to make bread for the home baker. First 100 pages are all about the science and math of bread. It's very interesting to read. The recipes, or formulas as Reinhart calls them, are thoroughly written and illustrated with photos when needed. I would not recommend this book to a beginner since as a whole the book contains so much information that a beginner might be overwhelmed or intimidated. While the actual process of mixing flour, water, yeast, and other things is fairly simple if you just follow directions and use a little common sense, there is more to making bread than that. I am very comfortable in the kitchen and don't consider myself a beginner, but I am hardly any kind of expert, especially when it comes to baking bread. I think if I had this book at my elbow while baking bread, I would feel I had all the information I need to make a beautiful bread. I would very much like to have this book as a reference source and go with my other baking books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    If I could ever apprentice with a baker, Reinhart would be it. I know a lot of bakers have baked their way through this book, and I hope I can do that. All I know is anything I've ever tried from it has been stellar, and his heavily photographed step by step instructions make even the most complicated process easy to grasp.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zomick's Bakery

    Whether you are baker or not this cookbook offers a variety of recipe for preparing bread and other baking products. Me working at Zomick's kosher bakery and wanting to offer something new to customers, find this cookbook as a real baking treasury.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    This is one of the better bread books out there. This book will have you ordering diastatic malt powder online, checking the protein content of every flour in your grocery store, and learning all the proper names for classic French styles of savory bakes. The layout could be better- it's not always practical to say within a recipe "see page 87 for X technique" when your hands are elbow deep in dough, on page 163 of another recipe. But this book is exhaustive, deeply informative, and certainly ha This is one of the better bread books out there. This book will have you ordering diastatic malt powder online, checking the protein content of every flour in your grocery store, and learning all the proper names for classic French styles of savory bakes. The layout could be better- it's not always practical to say within a recipe "see page 87 for X technique" when your hands are elbow deep in dough, on page 163 of another recipe. But this book is exhaustive, deeply informative, and certainly has earned it's rightful place on the shelf of any serious home baker.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nick Fisher

    I have often heard that the chemistry and mathematics of baking serve as barriers for would-be dough-slingers, and rejoice that Reinhart does a remarkable job of breaking down the technical aspects of the craft. This book can be a beginners guide to professional and home bakers alike.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    So far everything from this book has been amazing!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Brannen

    Simply the best cookbook I have ever used. Flat out superb in usefulness and accessibility. The author details the chemical and scientific elements of baking bread, explaining not just the how, but the why. This allows the home baker to make necessary adjustments while baking. There are clear instructions to shaping and proofing the dough. Every recipe I’ve tried has been successful except the sourdough, which may have been due to my using a plastic container rather than glass. Also, I can’t see Simply the best cookbook I have ever used. Flat out superb in usefulness and accessibility. The author details the chemical and scientific elements of baking bread, explaining not just the how, but the why. This allows the home baker to make necessary adjustments while baking. There are clear instructions to shaping and proofing the dough. Every recipe I’ve tried has been successful except the sourdough, which may have been due to my using a plastic container rather than glass. Also, I can’t seem to roll my crackers thin enough. So beside a few operator errors, wonderful!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Yeah, this is pretty darn extraordinary. If you are interested in bread, go for it. I fully expect it'll be one of your favs. I tried the Swedish Limpa because I am trying to recreate a rye bread I tasted in Colorado years ago and which I finally learned is created through a singular process created specially at Dimmer's Bakery on Dahlia Street in Denver. Anyway, I'm still eating the Limpa a week later. It's still moist, but it isn't Dimmer's... However, I did REinhart's recipe as ba Yeah, this is pretty darn extraordinary. If you are interested in bread, go for it. I fully expect it'll be one of your favs. I tried the Swedish Limpa because I am trying to recreate a rye bread I tasted in Colorado years ago and which I finally learned is created through a singular process created specially at Dimmer's Bakery on Dahlia Street in Denver. Anyway, I'm still eating the Limpa a week later. It's still moist, but it isn't Dimmer's... However, I did REinhart's recipe as background for the Pannetone at the 2011 holiday celebrations. Mind you, the guests at my tea parties did not comment on the Pannetone--they all went nuts for the Cinnamon Scones made from King Arthur's cinnamon pieces. Hmpf. Pannetone is far and away my favorite holiday bread. That others don't like it like I do just makes me think of the wine reviews I read---there is such a wide variation in personal tastes that one cannot hope to get it right every time. Another of Reinhart's bread books, Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor, is a favorite at my house. However, I think The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread may be the book to buy if you can only buy one. He covers the waterfront on major breads of the world and his Pain à l'ancienne technique is worth the price of admission.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kimberle

    When I was in culinary school, I had access to some of the most amazing bakers I'd ever met. I was in the bread guild, which met on Sundays, and was conducted by Chef Tom Beckman. He recommended this book over and over, and one day while I was in his office, and we were talking about "the bible of bread", all of his fellow bakers recommended this book. I immediately ordered a copy, and was plunged into an amazing adventure of baking artisan breads. This is my go-to book for bread baki When I was in culinary school, I had access to some of the most amazing bakers I'd ever met. I was in the bread guild, which met on Sundays, and was conducted by Chef Tom Beckman. He recommended this book over and over, and one day while I was in his office, and we were talking about "the bible of bread", all of his fellow bakers recommended this book. I immediately ordered a copy, and was plunged into an amazing adventure of baking artisan breads. This is my go-to book for bread baking, and whenever I have a question, or have forgotten something (which happens to me a lot lately), I always find myself returning to this book. I agree with the other chefs who agree that this book really is "the bread bible", and that Peter Reinhart is held in high regard by these chefs, even master baker Melina Kelson-Podolsky, whom I met via another encounter. If you want to get serious about baking bread, or have a burning passion for bread, this is the book for you. I recommend it highly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joel Friedlander

    Just about the best book about break baking for serious at-home cooks. Also quite nicely designed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    My new favorite bread baking book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

    Another new goal.....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Eckard

    love the details...made French bread from it last night :)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phenix Nash

    This was my first dedicated bread cookbook. I still glance through it from time to time and highly recommend it to beginning bakers. The recipes are easy to follow, the pictures are clear and attractive, and Peter Reinhart is a gifted storyteller who puts that talent to good use towards his stated purpose of bridging the gap between home and professional bakers. It was using this book that I first made my own sandwich bread. That I discovered homemade ciabatta. That I learned about co This was my first dedicated bread cookbook. I still glance through it from time to time and highly recommend it to beginning bakers. The recipes are easy to follow, the pictures are clear and attractive, and Peter Reinhart is a gifted storyteller who puts that talent to good use towards his stated purpose of bridging the gap between home and professional bakers. It was using this book that I first made my own sandwich bread. That I discovered homemade ciabatta. That I learned about cold fermentation. That I made my first (largely unsuccessful) attempt at sourdough. It was a big part of my journey to making pretty good homemade bread by most accounts. So why am I not giving this book 5 stars? Simply because, though this book was a gateway for me, you’ll find better formulas elsewhere. Over time, I’ve looked more to other cookbooks (such as those by Rose Levy Beranbaum and Chad Robertson) with more technical details. Following Reinhart’s formula, I was never able to make good sourdough and only after reading other recipes did I realize the starter I was working with from his method wasn’t viable. I also eventually became dissatisfied with the crumb and shapeability of his rustic breads. Learning about autolyse from other sources dramatically upped my bread game. It’s curious that Reinhart makes no mention of it in this volume, especially since it figures into his books before and after this one. It’s also a big part of “no-knead” bread-making methods—the rise of which Reinhart wanted to take partial ownership with his descriptions here of cold fermentation. Despite its shortcomings, this book comes highly recommended for the beginner or intermediate baker interested in a variety of solid, accessible recipes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    P.e. lolo

    I must say this book is more like a textbook than for someone who is at home wanting to bake bread. As much as I was looking forward to reading it this book left me flat like I forgot to put in the yeast. I have been baking bread since I was a teen first with my grandmother then making pizza dough at an Italian restaurant where we made everything from scratch and then back in my own kitchen. This book actually taught me nothing, the recipes were even lacking. I will say one positive that the cov I must say this book is more like a textbook than for someone who is at home wanting to bake bread. As much as I was looking forward to reading it this book left me flat like I forgot to put in the yeast. I have been baking bread since I was a teen first with my grandmother then making pizza dough at an Italian restaurant where we made everything from scratch and then back in my own kitchen. This book actually taught me nothing, the recipes were even lacking. I will say one positive that the cover photo is well done and will get people to either open the book and hopefully though won’t buy it, maybe check it out at the library. Sorry, I tried to be positive maybe it is me. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 2 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cissa

    This is one of my very favorite books on breadmaking! I have an older edition in hardcover, so ws excited to have the chance to pick up the ebook version at a reasonable price. While I don't much like cooking from a tablet, I LOVE how easy it is to read even a large, heavy book on my iPad! Besides getting the revised version of BBA, I want to re-read the chapters on lore and technique. This is an excellent book for beginning and intermediate bakers who are seriously into le This is one of my very favorite books on breadmaking! I have an older edition in hardcover, so ws excited to have the chance to pick up the ebook version at a reasonable price. While I don't much like cooking from a tablet, I LOVE how easy it is to read even a large, heavy book on my iPad! Besides getting the revised version of BBA, I want to re-read the chapters on lore and technique. This is an excellent book for beginning and intermediate bakers who are seriously into learning to make excellent bread of a variety of kinds. My family and friends are especially partial to the Italian bread, but I've loved and had reasonable success with all the recipes I've tried.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heath

    This was my "textbook" for a brief bread baking course I took as an undergraduate. Little did I know at the time that I would come to cherish this book and the techniques and recipes it contains. I've used it constantly for almost 20 years now and made every recipe several times over, to the delight of my family and friends. You should know The Bread Baker's Apprentice is not a baking book - it's a bread book. The techniques and guides are focused on rustic, European breads. There are This was my "textbook" for a brief bread baking course I took as an undergraduate. Little did I know at the time that I would come to cherish this book and the techniques and recipes it contains. I've used it constantly for almost 20 years now and made every recipe several times over, to the delight of my family and friends. You should know The Bread Baker's Apprentice is not a baking book - it's a bread book. The techniques and guides are focused on rustic, European breads. There are no cookies, muffins, or the like in its pages. But if you want to be able to bake classic, mostly continental breads - and a few American classics - pick up this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Haysha Shatzman

    The theoretical section is great. And there are a ton of recipes. It's theory section was more comprehensive than other popular bread books such as "Tartine Bread" and "Flour Water Salt Yeast". This book has a ton of recipes,many(!) more than the aforementioned books. I felt like there was something missing in between the theoretical section, and the recipes. Tartine and FWSY really take you by the hand after the theoretical section and guide every step of the process of making a loaf. The The theoretical section is great. And there are a ton of recipes. It's theory section was more comprehensive than other popular bread books such as "Tartine Bread" and "Flour Water Salt Yeast". This book has a ton of recipes,many(!) more than the aforementioned books. I felt like there was something missing in between the theoretical section, and the recipes. Tartine and FWSY really take you by the hand after the theoretical section and guide every step of the process of making a loaf. The Bread Baker's Apprentice, aptly puts you to work in figuring out some of the skills. I think It's a great first bread book. Peter Reinhart also has a bunch of videos and tutorials on Youtube.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lynette

    I love it when a baker can wax poetic about bread, and Reinhart definitely can. He's passionate about bread, and it shows in the preface, introduction, and two substantial chapters that fills up over 100 pages we get to read through before even getting to the formulas. The deconstruction section is especially interesting as far as the science and nitty-gritty of the grains and mechanics go. Even if you don't care for that stuff, the formulas are clear and fully explained. A really fantastic addi I love it when a baker can wax poetic about bread, and Reinhart definitely can. He's passionate about bread, and it shows in the preface, introduction, and two substantial chapters that fills up over 100 pages we get to read through before even getting to the formulas. The deconstruction section is especially interesting as far as the science and nitty-gritty of the grains and mechanics go. Even if you don't care for that stuff, the formulas are clear and fully explained. A really fantastic addition to any food reference collection.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    So I gave this book 3 stars because of what it is. The bottom line is this book falls short of expectations, and is NOT a book for the beginner. This is a book for people who have a number of bread books in their library, and are looking for a general reference book. What it is: a reference book. If you want to know how to make Stollen (a German Christmas bread), or Panettone (an Italian Christmas bread), or know what the differences are between a German and an Italian Christmas bread So I gave this book 3 stars because of what it is. The bottom line is this book falls short of expectations, and is NOT a book for the beginner. This is a book for people who have a number of bread books in their library, and are looking for a general reference book. What it is: a reference book. If you want to know how to make Stollen (a German Christmas bread), or Panettone (an Italian Christmas bread), or know what the differences are between a German and an Italian Christmas bread, this is the book for you. If you want to know all the possible figuras that people have historically made bread into, and how to make them, this is the book for you. In short, if you want a "Bread Encyclopedia" this is a great book. You can look up hundreds of recipes for bread, or find out all kinds of minutae for anything bread related. What this book isn't: A how to manual. Part of my frustration with this book is I bought it as my second bread book. (My first was the great Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza book, which I highly recommend for beginners). So, what I was looking for was to learn some more advanced techniques, like kneading and punching down. Unfortunately, although this book will list dozens of shapes you can bake bread into, it never explains basic terms used throughout the book, like punching down. Where this book really falls short: For a reference book, surprisingly, it is not always comprehensive. The author makes some big assumptions. For instance, almost every recipe assumes you are going to be using a dough mixer, which is unfortunate as not everyone is going to spend hundreds of dollars on a kitchenaid. The author also skips over parts of bread baking he doesn't like -- under the section heading "wood fired ovens" he says your bread will taste fantastic, but he can't advise you on how to bake using them. This book could be greatly improved if he added sections explaining how to adapt recipes for hand mixing, or other techniques, even if he personally doesn't use them. Additionally, the index and table of contents are not as easily searchable as I would hope for from a reference book. I know, for instance, there was a large section on shapes of bread, but I can't find it in the book. This is, for me, the big frustration. I'm OK with buying a reference book, but I expect a bit more thoroughness, and not having to read it cover to cover and bookmark the pages I find useful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    William Wiese

    A great book for some This book is not for everyone. It requires an open mind and a willingness for the home baker to abandon traditional measurement systems for a system of weighing ones ingredients. To many this will be foolishness. Also to make this method of backing work well one should probably have 3 extra large refrigerators and a large freezer. This book is technically excellent but probably not useful in the real home baking world.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Trudy Reid

    Great detailed information . I made the seed and the barm sucessfully when other methods of sourdough have failed for me. My only complaint is everything takes a couple of days. There is no throwing everything into a bowl, letting it rise and pop it in the oven. All the recipes take at least 2 days to make and that is after you have spent 5 days making the seed and barm to start with it.

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