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. Rose Levy Berenbaum's passion both for detail and for routinely spectacular results reminds me of Maida Heatter, whose equally comprehensive and delightful baking books inspired beginning bakers like me more than twenty years ago. Heatter's books have withstood the test of time. I'm sure Berenbaum's Bread Bible will become as annotated and batter-spattered as Heatter's books are in my kitchen. There's no higher praise than that!