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Jan 7, 2008 05:05 AM

I got a pizza / baking what? - Need a cookbook

I got the stone as a Christmas gift. I've never baked anything other than a box of brownies or an occasional apple pie. I really want to learn to make some good, hearty, crusty breads (baguettes, italian, tuscan, cibatta, etc...). Can anyone recommend a beginners book for me? Thanks!

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  1. "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart. One of the best.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JoanN

      I agree . Anything but peter Reinhart is great for novice bread bakers. The King Arthur books have great recipes, but Peter explains the theory that all bakers should know.

    2. My husband has unsuccessfully been trying to perfect pizza and bread cooking for around 15 years now. At least that was until I got him the King Arthur cookbook and now we bake pizza and/or bread at least once a week with the results he has always been looking for.

      1. I'm sure many will disagree with me since you're asking for a beginner's book, but I'll still go ahead and recommend Rose Levy Barenbaum's Bread Bible. If you have the patience to read her techniques and recommendations and to follow her recipes you'll be rewarded with excellent bread from your home oven. Once you've got her techniques down you can pretty much imagine your own flour/fruit/nut combinations and get pretty creative with your bread baking.That said, you might want to scan her style before purchasing to see if it suits you-- she's pretty detailed. I also love to use my baking stone for pies-- setting the pie plate on a pre-heated stone gets the bottom crust nicely browned which used to be a problem for me. Have fun with your new toy!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Procrastibaker

          I cannot recommend American Pie by Peter Reinhart highly enough! It is fantastic for every kind of pizza dough, sauce, or complete pizzas. It is also a very entertaining read.

          As for breads: I second Bread Baker's Apprentice. I am right in the middle of a BBA baking frenzy. If you click on the Bread Baker's Apprentice category on my blog you can see what I have done so far.

          1. re: Becca Porter

            I third the American Pie rec. Very entertaining, and informative. Gives a great overview of what makes good pizza.

            I need to get BBA!

        2. I really like Bernard Claytons' book The New Complete Book of Breads. His recipes run the gamut from simple to complex, with lots of information about ingredients, techniques, etc. I think there's even a set of instrutions for building your own woodfired oven!

          1 Reply
          1. re: nofunlatte

            Piggybacking on my own post here Anyway, the Clayton book is comprehensive and not necessarily geared toward the baking stone (many recipes call for tins, plus he includes quick breads). So, that may or may not fit your criteria.

            FWIW, I semi-regularly bake homemade crackers on my pizza stone. They come out fantastic (I use the recipe in Bittman's How to Cook Everything).

          2. You might enjoy Crust by Richard Bertinet. The recipes are fully illustrated (step by step) and easy to follow. In addition the book includes a dvd which highlights techniques that are beneficial for novice bakers.