The cravings and memories that freshly baked bread provokes is second to none. The aroma can stir your appetite more than most foods you can think of. This is why it’s difficult to not love bread. As a baker, you either have a lot of experience with baking bread and have made quite a number of delicious loaves based on a wide range of recipes, or you’re a beginner or intermediate baker who’s just getting started with basic or advanced recipes.
I’m happy to let you know that wherever you are on the scale of breadmaking experience, the best bread cookbooks have recipes for you and tips you’ll need to improve as a baker and take breadmaking to a whole new level. Without further ado, here are the bread cookbooks I recommend:
Best Bread Cookbooks to Buy and Read
1. The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
If you need a bread cookbook written by an author who doesn’t just teach you how to make bread but is passionate about the subject too, look no further than The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. This cookbook is written by Peter Reinhart, who has 10 breadmaking books to his name and has shared his knowledge to his students over many years as a teacher.
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice has two sections – a section that offers you lots of recipes to try out and a section that teaches you about bread making. The recipe section offers you lots of different French, sourdough, cornbread, focaccia, rye, sticky buns, and challah recipes to try out, plus pain à l’ancienne, Reinhart’s famous recipe.
The other section introduces you to the basics of breadmaking, the 12 stages of bread, different yeast types, delayed fermentation and its importance, and more. If you want to learn about the science of breadmaking, this section contains all the information you’ll need. This cookbook has 336 pages and contains 66 different recipes, and each recipe has a guide that explains the process clearly, so it’s a beginner-friendly cookbook.
2. The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook
Since a bread machine is so easy to use that all you need to do is put the ingredients in and let it do its job, and then come back to a freshly baked loaf in 2 hours or less, bread machine recipes are easy to follow and the recipes in The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook are even easier to follow due to how they are laid out.
Whether you’re interested in making sourdough, rolls, quick bread, buns, whole grain, white bread, or other types of bread, this cookbook contains 300+ recipes to help you make virtually anything you want. If you feel you haven’t been making use of your bread machine as much as you’d like, this bread machine cookbook will resolve that. When I got this cookbook, the number of times I use my bread machine per week went up significantly until I had made 90% of the recipes in the cookbook.
The recipes are suitable for most bread machines, so you won’t have to worry about not being able to make them with your brand/model. The author of this cookbook doesn’t just deluge you with recipes. You also get troubleshooting tips, information on flour types, tips on using specific models/brands of bread machines, tips for bakers living in high-altitude areas, and more all in its 643 pages.
3. Flour Water Salt Yeast
If you need a cookbook that thoroughly introduces and explains the concept and techniques involved in bread making, this is the cookbook for you. This bread cookbook is specifically meant for home bakers, so if you’re one and you own a bread machine, you’ll find this cookbook incredibly useful.
It contains 42 recipes and is 272 pages long, with lots of photos and detailed recipe instructions clearly laid out so both beginners and advanced bakers can have an easy time following the recipes. This is a comprehensive cookbook as far as pizza and bread recipes are concerned, so whether you wish to make Neapolitan-style pizza or you crave a boule instead, this cookbook has all the tips and instructions you need to help you make the perfect loaf.
Flour Water Salt Yeast offers you a lot aside from recipes. After reading this bread cookbook, you should have an understanding of baker’s percentages, even if you’re a beginner. You should also have knowledge of various breadmaking techniques such as folding dough, fermenting in the refrigerator, using warm water, etc. and the purposes of these techniques. This is a breadmaking manual in its own right.
You Might Need More Than One
When I started baking, I read a lot. A lot. I read blog posts, books, mags, you name it. I started with one book, then amped up the reading to perfect my breadmaking skills. What I’m saying in essence is that you might need more than one, so don’t just rely on one bread cookbook. Read as many as you can and watch your breadmaking skills improve rapidly.