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holidays are coming... which peter reinhart book should I ask for?

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Right now I don't have any of them. I'd call myself an advanced-beginner baker with limited ambitions: I'd like to make good bread and to learn about the process. I've made lots of no-knead bread, some recipes from Cooks Illustrated, and I've done some demoralizing experimentation with whole wheat sourdough.

Reinhart seems like to man to look to, but should I ask for Bread Bakers Apprentice or the new book? Some people suggest the newer one has clearer and better instructions; others that it's just BBA "lite". Or should I go straight to the whole grain book, because good advice on baking whole grain breads is so hard to find? Any thoughts? Thanks!

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  1. I have all three, and I think you would be safe to ask for any of them. If yu really want to understand baking, BBA is probably your best bet. If you are really drawn to whole grain breads, that books is a must have. If you would rather simply start baking and then decide how technical and theoretical you want to get, the new book is a winner. In fact, I think that for many home bakers, it will prove to be an all-around favorite.

    1. I'd recommend Peter Reihnart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice". If covers a lot of bread making basics in the first 107 pages before it gets you involved with bread making formulas. Then it takes you through an adventure in bread making that covers virtually every type of bread, including whole grain bread, that you are likely to ever want to make. What you end up with is a better foundation about bread making and an understanding of how certain types of bread dough behave, why the bread tastes like it does (not all are the same) and how to use baker's percentages in calculating your own break dough formulas so you can adjust any recipe in any publication with full knowledge of what to expect.

      1. I have American Pie which has transformed my pizza and calzone making to new heights. Just got crust and crumb. I'll let you know what I think, but it's pretty good to start. Problem is that in the SF Bay Area, there is absolutely no way to equal the bread we get from fine bakers. Unless you buy a professional bread oven....

        1. thanks so much for the thoughtful replies everyone! i am definitely limited by my small, poorly insulated oven, but i'm gonna go with BBA.

          1 Reply
          1. re: curiousinthekitchen

            Curious, I can recommend one thing that really helps in the oven, a good baking stone. There are non-glazed quarry tiles that you can get at Home Depot like stores (I say like stores, since I went to HD and they didn't have it but Loews did). Don't buy the retail stones from places like Bed Bath etc. They break and are really overpriced. The quarry tiles are less than $1 and you can usually fit 4-6 in your oven. Buy 10-12 in case some break.

            The best thing I've found is this commercial stone, it's pricey but I think superior:

            http://www.bakingstone.com/