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Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes Hardcover – September 3, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"...comprehensive illustrated manual..." (Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Vol 37 (7) 2005)

From the Inside Flap

The warm, complex aroma of a fresh-baked loaf of bread can be utterly tantalizing; the first bite, a revelation. In Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes, award-winning master baker Jeffrey Hamelman presents the definitive, one-stop reference on the art and science of bread baking—a kitchen essential for seasoned home bakers and professionals alike.

Hamelman, a professional baker for nearly three decades, was a member of Baking Team USA,which represents the United States in the international Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, the bread-baking World Cup. Here, he shares this experience, putting world-class artisanal loaves within reach of any serious baker. Opening with a comprehensive overview of the foundations—essential ingredients; hand techniques for kneading, scoring, and shaping; the basic process from mixing through baking—he lucidly guides bakers through all elements of this richly rewarding craft.

Bread contains 118 detailed, step-by-step recipes for an array of breads—versatile sourdough ryes; numerous breads made with pre-ferments; and simple, straight dough loaves. Recipes for brioche, focaccia, pizza dough, flat breads, and other traditional baking staples augment the diverse collection of flavors, tastes, and textures represented within these pages. From the delicate flavor and aroma of classic French baguettes to the mellow smoothness of Roasted Garlic Levain, a bread for every season and every palate is here.

Each recipe clearly outlines the key stages, with easy-to-use charts that list ingredients in both American and metric measures, quantities appropriate for home baking, and baker's percentages. Hundreds of drawings vividly illustrate techniques, and 35 handsome color photographs display finished breads. Sidebars accompany each recipe and section with valuable tips, from the subtle art of tasting and evaluating breads to the perfect fare to complement Vollkornbrot. A complete chapter on decorative breads—with instructions on techniques as well as a wide variety of exquisite patterns—will inspire magnificent display creations.

Laced throughout the book, Hamelman's personal narratives offer a compelling portrait of a lifelong love affair with bread and vividly communicate this passion. For bakers seeking to finesse this time-honored craft or simply to learn the tricks of the trade from a real master, Bread is a resource to be consulted time and time again.

CHIHO KANEKO is a fine artist whose work has been exhibited both in the United States and Japan. She also works as a translator and interpreter. She is a native of Japan with a background in landscape architecture, agronomy, and art.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471168572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471168577
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is absolutely the best of the bread books. However, I'll warn the novice baker that it is also much more technical than many of the other books on the market. If you are looking for a simple recipe book and have no desire to understand the bread-baking process, then skip this book. On the other hand, if you want to produce quality bread and are willing to read the text, you will be delighted with the results. Hamelman's writing is clear and concise; he provides detailed drawings to explain various processes. For example, when giving directions on folding bread, Hamelman actually shows each step. This is in sharp contrast to Peter Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice" which instructs the baker to fold the dough, but never explains how it should be done. I wish I'd found this book before I bought a number of others. I probably would have purchased those at some point because I like having multiple references, but this book is one to which I would refer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THIS is the definitive guide for professional and serious home bakers; it is precisely the caliber of detailed information serious bakers have demanded in order to reach their next plateau of bread baking excellence. This is unmistakably the most comprehensive bread book of its type on the market. I am so delighted with the results it has shown my own baking.

As a serious and dedicated cook, I have never experienced such instant gratification and remarkable improvements in my own craft than is evidenced via the advice available from this extraordinary reference.

Through dedicated effort, and much trial and effort - in the method of Nancy Silverman - my sourdough eventually met the high goal I set for it; to taste like that of Fisherman's Wharf sourdough. Nevertheless, my ciabatta and country style loaves remained, in my opinion, sub-par.

This book's detailed; professional instructions launched my country bread and ciabatta loaves to bakery status within only two passes! I am now able to go beyond my original benchmark and further tweak the percentages in BREAD to achieve what ever I want for this style of bread. It is such a wonderful experience! The first try did not deviate from BREAD's formula. The second pass was formulae - plus - experience, and that was the charm. We are simply blown-away at how something exponentially went from good to excellent in two batches.

JEFFREY HAMELMAN, a former bakery owner has been baking professionally for thirty years. In 1998, he became the 76th Certified Master Baker in the United States. Unlike the other author of five bread books, Mr. Hamelman's book, Bread stays on point.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a home baker for many years and have owned ALL of the bread cookbooks that have been touted as 'the definitive' one to have. However, NONE of them ever helped me to achieve the type of perfect artisanal bread that this one did on my first attempt after reading it.

My thanks to reviewers like Southern Review who helped me to believe that this one might be the 'holy grail' of bread books, because IT IS!

When you get it, sit down and read the first chapters before the recipes and you'll learn so many things that will help to make all your breads SO much better! I've tried sourdough breads off and on for years and was never satisfied with what I achieved with them. The first recipe I tried was the Vermont Sourdough and I just couldn't believe how perfect it was! I'd finally DONE it!

Several things that the other cookbooks all stated one must do in handling the doughs turns out to be just flat wrong, just the simple information he gives on folding the dough a few times during the initial rise has given me the sort of beautiful, silky, full of life dough that before I'd only dreamed of!

Easy to read and understand, good illustrations on how to shape, score, and bake, I don't think I'll ever use another bread book, but when I do I'll follow the techniques in this book!
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Format: Hardcover
There are numerous things that put this bread book above the other books about home-bread-baking that I own. Apart from the fact that the breads turned out exceptionally well from loaf No. 1. I have to insist that it is very clearly written and well structured. Side remarks are even in a different color, so you will not get distracted from the recipes.

The book discusses these methods for making bread:

- Breads made with pre-fermented dough using either a saltless starter, also known as "poolish" or "Biga" (or "Anstellgut" in german) or a starter made with a little salled called "Pâte fermentée"

- Breads made with levain (i.e. white sourdough)

- Rye sourdough breads

- Straight doughs (using no pre-fermented doughs)

(- Other assorted breads or baking goods, that didn't fit into the aforementioned categories)

Tthe author does a very good job of teaching how you can make a lot of breads out of small amounts of the starter. I finally got around to maintaining a levain and a rye sourdough culture! I didn't know it was that easy. And you only need to take up to two table spoons of any of those starters to have a great bread within 36 hours. The rye sourdoughs may not be as acidic as some of the breads you can buy here in Germany, but they still make very good mild rye sourdough breads.

The quality of the breads that I was able to make is astounding. I witnessed oven spring that didn't know was possible in a home oven.

I find it very amusing that I had to buy an american baking book in order to learn how to make a genuine "Vollkornbrot" or a good sunflower seed bread - both traditional german breads. And I wished german baking professionals were a bit more forthcoming when it comes to sharing their secrets. To be honest, I don't know one single german bread book that is even remotely as good this one.
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