On the Shelf: The Bread Baker’s Library

Baking bread demands patience and understanding. This collection of books for home bread bakers, written by seasoned pros, will help you understand the magical combination of flour, water, yeast, and salt in new ways.

1. Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza

By Ken Forkish

This is not a recipe book. The James Beard Award and International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award-winning Flour Water Yeast Salt is an intensive and thorough crash course in artisan bread baking for the home baker from Ken Forkish, owner of the celebrated Ken’s Artisan Bakery and Ken’s Artisan Pizza in Portland, Oregon. In its 272 pages, Ken delves into the methods and nuances that make each variety of bread unique and filled with layers of flavor, while also educating on tools, techniques, leavening agents, and more. Divided into four parts covering principles, basic recipes, levain recipes, and pizza recipes, there’s something for bakers of every level. With this book, you can truly learn from the master.

Can’t wait to make: Salami Pizza, an all-grown-up version of the classic pepperoni with homemade red sauce, fresh mozzarella, and slices of salami sitting on top of crisp homemade crust

 

2. One Dough, Ten Breads: Making Great Breads by Hand

By Sarah Black

If you’ve ever been intimidated by the complexities of baking bread, this book is your starting point. In One Dough, Ten Breads, Sarah Black walks readers through the tools, terminology, and ingredients needed to get the dough rolling. She starts with a foundation dough, Simple White Loaves, and then guides new bakers on a step-by-step journey to turn that base into baguettes, focaccia, sourdough, and more. By the end of the book, you might find that you’re quite the baker.

Can’t wait to make: Whole Wheat Sourdough with Figs, Apples, and Raisins, a tantalizing melody of unexpected flavor notes from dried fruit, herbs, honey, and tangy sourdough

 

3. Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More

By Sarah Owens

Since childhood, gardener and baker Sarah Owens has fostered a deep love of nature. Now with Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More, she aims to inspire readers to have a similar adoration of whole, natural foods by sharing her sourdough starter and dough tutorials, plus tips, anecdotes, and recipes to make the most of both. Filled with beautiful photography, this tome is separated into two parts: The Sourdough and The Recipes. A believer in the healing power of this delicious fermented bread, Sarah hopes to empower readers to take their food and health into their own hands.

Can’t wait to make: Honeyed Spelt and Oat Levain, a gloriously rustic, crusty bread with a tight crumb perfect for slathering with jam for an afternoon indulgence

 

4. Tartine Bread

By Chad Robertson

San Francisco’s famed Tartine Bakery & Cafe has earned a cult following with its daily selection of freshly baked breads. In Tartine Bread, Chad Robertson, the man behind these favored loaves, has created what he deems his “baking guidebook” that invites readers to give rise to their bread-baking vision. Beginning with the recipe for Basic Country Bread, a mammoth 38-page instructional, the book progresses into variations on the original and then into more technical breads like brioche and croissants, all heavily photographed with easy-to-follow how-to sequences. Ending with the “Days-Old Bread” chapter that uses the loaves in numerous applications from panzanella to bread pudding, Chad effectively takes the reader from first rise to final bite of each scrumptious loaf.

Can’t wait to make: Pain au Gruyère, a savory whole wheat bread with freshly ground black pepper and coarsely grated Gruyère cheese folded into the dough before baking

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