HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Looking for recs. for the best bread cookbook

I was at the bookstore looking through "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Berenbaum. It's gorgeous and made me want a good cookbook that focuses on bread. Is this the one to get? If not, which would you recommmend for the novice bread baker?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Yes, "The Bread Bible" is a great bread book, for beginner and advanced bakers alike. I also like "the Secrets of Jesuit Bread Baking" by Brother Rick Curry. It has some easy recipes, and lots of good stories.

    1. I have that book and it is great. Also, I always tell bread making beginners to really look into the hows and whys of bread making such as why you knead, how it rises etc. I find when you understand that you will have a better knowledge and confidence to experiment.


      1. The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz.

        4 Replies
        1. re: laguera

          This is my favorite book too, but I'm not sure if it's good for novice bakers. I also like Peter Reinhart's The Breadbaker's Apprentice a lot.

          1. re: cheryl_h

            I like BBA, but I don't think it's a good choice for a novice baker.

            1. re: cheryl_h

              I agree that Ortiz' book is for people who are already accomplished. But it isn't clear to me where the OP is with this.

              1. re: rainey

                I'm a pretty decent cook but rarely bake. I've made some decent baguettes using Julia Child's recipe but that's about it for me and bread. I want to make decent rustic loaves, ciabattas, sour dough loaves, etc.

          2. amy's bread, by amy scherber (of amy's bread in nyc). clear, detailed, but not at all too complex--lots of different types of recipes, and the use of the autolyse process to aid the kneading and development of the dough. a great, great book.

            1. When I saw the headline in the post, I was going to recommend Bread Bible, by Berenbaum. Then I read your message, and that was what you were asking about anyways... so, anyhow, I think it is a great book for the folks just starting out.

              Once you've gotten the hang of it and want to step up to a new level, I'd recommend Nancy Silverton's La Brea breads book, which is all about naturally leavened (sourdough) breads. But The Bread Bible is a better book for those starting out (and also experienced bakers too... lots of stuff in there).

              - adam

                1. 2 recs: "The Tassajara Bread Book" (SF Zen Center/Greens restaurant) and the "King Arthur" bread cookbooks. King Arthur Flour has a great free catalog you can get them to send you listing several excellent baking cookbooks. I would imagine you might find these books on amazon.com too.

                  1. Where are you with bread? What are your goals?

                    "Rustic European Breads" from Your Bread Machine by Diana Collingsworth and Nancy Eckhardt (I may be mixing up their first names) is an excellent place to a get started with using a machine to make your levains and the doughs you will hand shape and oven bake with wonderful results.

                    Amy Schreiber's "Amy's Bread" has lots of very do-able recipes for some very flavorful and breads that move past basic white, sourdough and country.

                    Daniel Lederer's "Daily Bread" has more information about bread from exceptional sources than most of us can absorb and it's highly readable.

                    And the King Arthur website has online tutorials and a huge variety of great recipes. Their Bakers' Hotline will connect you with a master baker who will answer any question you've got and help diagnose more advanced issues. You'll find the phone # on the website as well.

                    I'll check my library and see what other books I've got but those are the ones I use all the time.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: rainey

                      I'm going to be working with my oven, not a bread machine. As mentioned above, my goal is to start producing the occasional rustic loaf, ciabatta, sourdough, that sort of thing. I'd also love to be able to do some flatbreads: pita, paratha, kulcha, etc. A homemade rye or pumpernickel loaf would be nice, too. And if I could produce a decent challah it'd make my mom happy, so there's also that. I guess my goals are mildly diverse.

                      1. re: Tom M of Durham NC

                        Check out www.irvprem.com

                        Irving makes the best challahs here in SF. (They are sold in the Mollie Stone markets - a bit upscale)He did a class for our synagogue in challah making and gave us recipes with detailed instructions for making challah. It was easy to make (well, Irving DID have to braid mine for me after several abortions). DE-licious! If you ask him, I bet he would send you a recipe or email it to you. He and his wife are wonderful people. So, where does he live in SF? On Irving Street, of course.

                      2. re: rainey

                        I second the King Arthur website recommendation. Good recipes, good discussion, on-line videos. The only thing left is to feel the dough yourself! Somehow, I've not been a fan of RLB's Bread Bible, and I'm not sure why!

                      3. Ya know: If you are just starting out, get "Beard on Bread" (conventional breads), and "Laurel's Bread Book" (Whole-grain breads). Both are terrific and will take you a long way into home baking.

                        1. I have always been disappointed in most contemporary bread baking books. They proscribe too much yeast and warm rising places. I go for a tiny amount of yeast and a long, cool rising, which helps develop better flavor and prolongs freshness. For my money, the Elizabeth David book, "English Bread and Yeast Cookery," is the best of the best, not necessarily for the recipes, but for the exploration of everything that goes into making the perfect loaf. This may be far too detailed for most hobbyists, but I am tossing it out there for those who are interested. Also the Chez Panisse Cookbook has a great section on starting and using sour dough.

                          For flatbreads, check out "Flatbreads and Flavors" by Alford and Daguid. This book also has great spreads and other accompaniments.

                          1. Check out this blog:


                            She's cooking every bread in that book. I don't care about bread but if I did, this would make me want to try The Bread Bible.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: traceybell

                              Thanks so much for this! The blog also links to Rose Levy Beranbaum's blog on baking--two great online resources for the price of one!

                            2. Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. It is not the newest book, but does include all types of bread. I have owned my copy for at least 15 years, and I still enjoy it.

                              1. For those who might be curious. I picked up Beranbaum's book and so far am loving it. First effort was a basic hearth bread, which was quite delicious.

                                Pictures linked below:



                                Then came the Jewish rye bread, which was a little more challenging. Despite what I thought was careful attention to the recipe, the dough was very gluey and needed to have lots of extra flour added carefully, a bit at a time, before it could achieve breadness.

                                Pictures linked below.



                                Thanks to everyone for the help. Y'all want popovers, I'm making 'em tomorrow. Come on by, bring coffee. ;-)