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The Bread Bible Hardcover – October 17, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 323 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible introduced readers to a newly illuminating baking-book approach--a precisely detailed yet accessible recipe format emphasizing baking science. The Bread Bible follows the same plan, offering 150 recipes, arranged by type, for a great variety of baked goods--from muffins, popovers, and English muffins to sandwich loaves, focaccia, rolls, hearth breads, rye bread, challah, and more, with a particularly vivid (and passionate) stop at sourdough loaves. Instruction is abetted by 32 pages of photos plus 300 step-by-step illustrations that depict, for example, bagel forming, in exact, imitable detail. In addition, an introductory section, "The Ten Essential Steps of Making Bread," includes a particularly lucid discussion on the way yeast works plus an invaluable comparison of kneading methods. Like the book's final look at ingredients, these "mini-texts" provide information uncommon to most home bread books, rendered in simple language that allays fears of putting one's hand in the dough.

All this is impressive indeed, and readers bitten by the bread-baking bug will welcome the ultra-thorough Beranbaum approach. The less committed may find her technical demands too painstaking (her baguette recipe requires two starters, for example; though simpler loaves are, of course, offered) or even impractical (ingredient quantities using grams are sometimes given in minute fractions, requiring a special scale). The frequent inclusion of alternate mixing methods and equipment options can also make the formulas unwieldy. On the other hand, features like Pointers for Success and Understanding often yield exciting discovery as well as rewarding results. In short, this Beranbaum bible answers virtually every bread-making question, as well as providing exemplary formulas. It's the real deal for those willing to bake along with Rose. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

As in her seminal The Cake Bible, which won an IACP prize, Beranbaum doesn't just offer recipes here; she dissects them, explains how they work, then puts them back together again with a number of variations. The front matter to what Beranbaum terms her "bread biography" contains perhaps the best explanation anywhere of how yeast works and a description of the sponge method used for almost every yeast-risen bread. Each recipe also includes a "Rose ratio," which shows at a glance the percentage of water, yeast, flour and fat in each bread. The author's discussion of the pros and cons of various kneading methods (bread machine, by hand, etc.) is invaluable. After all this information, bakers will be eager to get to the recipes, which are equally rewarding. Beranbaum covers everything from a Chocolate Bread made with cocoa nibs to a Traditional Challah. Recipes are arranged by type of bread, with groups including sandwich loaves and dinner rolls and brioche breads. A chapter on artisanal hearth breads includes Heart of Wheat Bread, with wheat germ for extra crunch, and New Zealand Almond and Fig Bread with an apricot glaze. Every time Beranbaum seems about to go overboard with too much information, she steps back from the brink, as in the excellent introduction to sourdough, where she thoroughly explains how sourdough works, then provides a simple box with eight rules for making a starter. Beranbaum could have a second career as a scientist, but luckily for home bakers she seems intent on creating a library of seminal cookbooks instead.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (October 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393057941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393057942
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.7 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (323 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Ingredients
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Directions
Example Directions

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Re the rye bread, on page 326, step 2, delete the words 'rye flour.' (the rye flour is used only in the sponge on page 325.) Also, on the chart for the flour mixture, the 2 1/4 cups of bread flour weigh 12.3 ounces.
Hope you are enjoying the recipes. If you haven't used the instant yeast before, you're going to love the ease and reliability of adding it directly to the flour!
Best bread baking,
Rose Levy Beranbaum
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Cookbook author/humorist Ann Hodgman once wrote, of Rose Levy Berenbaum's masterpiece The Cake Bible, that perhaps The Gideons should leave this "bible" in hotel bedrooms instead of that other, better-known one. Hodgman has a point. I have baked extensively from both of Berenbaum's previous "bibles," on cake and on pastry, and have yet to come up with a dud.
Since we're talking about bibles here, clearly Berenbaum finds that God is in the details. She gives clear, concise explanations of the "whys" of baking without ever getting tedious. I have been baking regularly for nearly thirty years, and yet in my first read-through of The Bread Bible, I learned at least a dozen facts that I hadn't previously known, and yet made perfect sense. For example, the inclusion of Wondra bleached, granulated flour (not a typical staple among serious bakers) in her Butter Popovers eliminate the resting period that the batter typically must undergo before baking.
Her books also inspire: A round, Gruyere-spiked cheese bread baked in a souffle dish--which Berenbaum whimsically names, "The Stud Muffin"--will send me out today on a quick trip for a couple of necessary, missing ingredients.
Berenbaum's recipes run the gamut from simple "quick" breads to more time-consuming (but hardly more difficult) artisanal loaves. She also provides sources for ingredients and equipment. This tome, with its gorgeous photographs and numerous line drawings, might intimidate some fledgling bakers, but don't let it! If it does, I suggest The King Arthur Flour's Baker's Companion. However, true breadheads are justified in wanting both.
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Format: Hardcover
Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Bread Bible" is the "New Testament"!There are now many good bread books, but if I could have only one bread book, this would be the one.Ms. Beranbaum includes non-yeasted breads in this book.Oh, this book is so good. I have been baking bread for over 15 years, and I knew more than a little, but this book has opened a wider world. She has diminished some of my anxiety about sourdough bread, by talking about her sourdough anxiety, which she vanquished.Ms. Beranbaum encourages mechanical mixing, and does not consider it a "crime," like some other writers on bread. However, manual mixing is included. She has written lots of information on flours. Detailed, yet accessible.She encourages home bakers to think in more professional terms by giving weight measures (grams and ounces,) as well as volume measures (cups, spoons). She also gives proportion percentages.Ms Beranbaum's introductory comments are fascinating.The index is complete and easy to use.The photos and technical drawings are complete and well chosen.This book is definitely one of MY "desert island ten."
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after making pesto bread from The Herbfarm Cookbook (also an excellent book). When I took my pesto bread out of the oven, tapped the bottom, and heard the hollow sound that indicated the bread had turned out correctly, something grabbed ahold of me, and I knew I had to learn more about baking bread. I couldn't explain the excitement I felt at the abilty to create something delicious from such mundane ingredients. it's like magic!
that being my sole attempt at bread making (excluding homemade pizza dough, which I put in a different catagory), Rose's book was a bit overwhelming at first. I read through all of the preliminary chapters on the hows and whys and all the different stages, feeling the same tingling fascination I had felt when I first started learning calculus. I guess I hadn't realized how mathematical and precise the "art" really is, or how appealing that would be to me. armed with all that knowledge, I decided to jump right in, and tried her cheddar loaf. her directions are laid out in clear, numbered steps, with instructions for both hand and machine mixing. ingredients are given by volume and weight, and each recipe is full of tips about when to add more water or flour, and what the dough / finished loaf should weigh. she has clear explanations and diagrams guiding you through any shaping. I never felt confused or at a loss, and even her descriptions of what the dough should feel like at different stages (something inherently difficult to convey without a physical demonstration) were incredibly helpful. basically, I felt informed, guided, and confident at every step of the process, and the end result was marvelous. the crust was golden and tasted intensely of cheddar, and the inside was crumbly and soft, just like bakery bread!
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