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Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor Hardcover – September 1, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 206 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bread is back, Reinhart (The Bread Baker's Apprentice) asserts, and it's better than ever after being villainized during the anticarbohydrate diet fads; his manifesto of renewal, this enthusiastic tome featuring the kinds of whole grain breads he sees as the way forward, will be eagerly received by serious bakers. In three useful preliminary chapters, Reinhart describes how he developed the delayed fermentation process that makes these breads delicious as well as wholesome, dissects wheat's route from stalk to loaf and patiently walks through the new technique's theory and process, in order to arm bakers with every bit of information before they start kneading. The level of technical detail and demand for scientific precision may overwhelm amateurs, but anyone with some experience working with bread dough and starters, as well as a desire to get to the next level, will be gratified by Reinhart's intense but friendly approach. In the more than 50 recipes, from a variety of breads including multigrain loaves, whole wheat cinnamon buns, brioche and crispy lavash, Reinhart builds on the first chapters with detailed commentary on ingredients and preparation, encouraging bakers to own the process but never leaving them in the lurch. Whether or not a home baker is looking for healthier recipes, Reinhart's peerless way of writing about bread is sure to inspire a new respect for whole grains. Color photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“We’ve always known how good whole grain breads are for us, but we’ve also known how they’re usually heavy, dense, and sort of boring. Now here comes Peter Reinhart, a passionate bread scientist who has figured out fifty-five different ways to make whole grain breads light and delicious. His work is nothing short of revolutionary.”

–Sara Moulton, Food Network host and author of Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals

“No one is better qualified–either as a teacher or as a baker–than Peter Reinhart to tackle the complex subject of whole grain breads. His techniques and recipes are easy to follow and yield excellent results every time. Peter and his breads are the real thing.”

–Nick Malgieri, author of How to Bake and A Baker’s Tour

Whole Grain Breads is a beautiful and important work, which is no big surprise coming, as it does, from Peter Reinhart. Everything here is a gift: the breads themselves (both described and pictured), the poetic voice, the story, the technique, and the generous spirit. Read this from cover to cover, and you will find yourself looking at all food differently, from a new height and a deeper appreciation.”

–Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook

“I’ve spent years following directions from more than a dozen bread baking books. I’ve babied bowls of dough in various stages of fermentation, and I’ve only ended up with bread that tastes like an inner tube. Peter has unraveled the mystery of baking, and I now approach this intimidating subject with confidence.”

–James Peterson, author of Cooking

“Peter Reinhart is a gifted teacher who explains the science of bread dough in easy-to-understand language. Using Peter’s innovative techniques for enhancing both enzyme and yeast activity and following with his gentle, clear-cut guidance, even a beginner can master sourdough starters, pre-ferments, soakers, and mashes to make incredibly flavorful whole grain breads.”

–Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 1st edition (August 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580087590
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580087599
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Let me make a couple of things clear up front. First, this book is not for the casual baker who likes to toss a recipe together on short notice, throw it in the oven, and be done with it; Reinhart goes the extra mile of effort to extract every last ounce of perfection from whole grain breads.

Second, it is entirely possible to make delicious whole grain breads without using his complex methods. I've done it using the recipes in both the King Arthur Flour Company's "Whole Grain Baking", and "Secrets of a Jewish Baker". If you are the aforementioned casual baker then I highly recommend picking up one (or preferably both) of those books instead.

However, this is the perfect book for the cook who's always fiddling with their recipes trying to make them Just Right. It's the ideal companion for the home baker who's willing to go the extra distance to get not just delicious and enjoyable whole grain bread, but perfect whole grain bread. It isn't the right book for everyone, but for the right audience I can't imagine a better read.

Do be sure to read the first few chapters, which explain the history and science behind Reinhart's methods. Not only is it fascinating stuff, but it's necessary to give you the understanding you'll need to make the most of the recipes. Unlike simple recipes where you can just follow a few steps and be done with it, these methods require you to have a feel for the doughs. The amount of kneading required, for example, can vary so much depending on which grains you've used, how you've kneaded them, and so on.
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Format: Hardcover
As others have said before, this may not be the right book for beginners.

As most regular home bakers know, practice is the best teacher; no one book has taught any of us how to get the best oven spring, to know when the bread is finished rising, etc. Great bread books only serve as great "Teaching Assistants" to our own paths towards learning how to make great bread at home. And Reinhart's earlier books were some of the best TA's I had.

But this book is really something different. My family consumes a lot of bread, and I prefer to make sure that it's whole grain, organic and healthful. So while I still turn to a variety of bread recipe books for making authentic-ish French baguette, or an Italian corn/rye bread, this is the one I've turned to week after week to make the staple bread on our table.

The formula used in the book really creates an outstanding, high-quality loaf of bread - in texture, taste and beauty - while capitalizing on the hard work of enzymes and the natural yeast, and yes instant yeast, and minimizing my time in the kitchen.

Here's how it works for me. Before and after work on Thursday and Friday, I refresh my starter (5 min each time). On Saturday, I mix the soaker and the wild yeast starter (15 minutes). On Sunday afternoon I assemble the bread (15 min), do the usual two risings and bake. I never feel like I have to hover over the bread. So other than needing to be around the house (happily doing other things) on Sunday afternoon, the only real time commitment is the actual baking.

This book is not without some problems (like somewhat strange measurements (5/8 teaspoon, 501 grams, etc.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not for anyone and unless you appreciate the art and the science of baking, you might find this book too complicated. This book would be the right one if you:

-are a whole grain lover, or thinking of exploring whole grain baking
-loves artisan baking and not satisfied with "quick-and-easy" bread machine bread recipes
-have tried wholegrain baking before but failed miserably because you weren't sure what you were doing
-don't mind going extra mile for the greatest tasting whole grain bread you ever had
-loves to tweak and make your own recipes

Just as the title says, it is "Whole Grain Bread" book. You will not see any recipe with less than 50% whole wheat in it. If you are not sure how you would like whole grain breads, you should try another Peter Reinhart's book "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" and try his whole grain bread recipe first. "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" book will provide you with great artisan bread recipes around the world and most of his recipes are not whole grain, so it will give you a good place to get started with the art of bread baking.

I got this book just a week ago and as a serious bread baker who likes to bake more whole grain, I just LOVE this book. I tried out a couple of recipes, and it is AMAZING how great the bread taste. It is worth your effort and this book will make you not want to go back to your regular loaf of bread at supermarket.

Some people wrote his recipes are too long and tedious in their reviews, but this is what makes his recipes fool-proof. If you follow his recipes, it is very hard to mess up your bread. Again, this is not a casual bread cook book. You should consider this more like a text book.
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