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Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor

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4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  682 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
We know whole grain breads are better for us, but will we actually eat them, much less take time to bake them?

Yes, says beloved baking instructor Peter Reinhart, but only if they are very, very good. So Reinhart, with his decades of experience crafting amazing artisanal breads, has made it his mission to create whole grain breads that are nothing short of incredible.

In th
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ebook, 320 pages
Published May 18th 2011 by Ten Speed Press (first published August 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,569)
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Greta Fisher
Jun 05, 2013 Greta Fisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite breads are all in there! The recipes are detailed and often takes several days to complete - which is all right. This will be a book that will change the way I make bread - for the better.
Jennifer
Mar 10, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: KoL clannie
wow, I can make bread from scratch!

My first loaf, a rushed attempt without reading directions, hints, and tips was (to borrow an expression from Gordon Ramsey) "f*cking ghastly". It smelled of feet, had the consistency of a brick, and was awful. It got chopped up and dumped into the compost bin. Let's hope the worms like it.

I was about to give up, but then noticed the book said "don't give up unless you try at least three times." Ok, fair enough. Back to the book I went. I took my time, I read
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Allison
Apr 04, 2009 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book on whole grain bread baking that I have read. Ever. For more than one reason. He explains his method of delayed fermentation as a way to the best taste and texture for whole grain loaves. But from my studies, it is also the best for nutritional reasons as well. Whole grains should always be soaked for 7 hours or more to activate enzymes and deactivate enzyme inhibitors and phytates present in all seeds - these enzyme inhibitors and phytates, if not deactivated, cause proble ...more
Trish
May 12, 2011 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, cooking
If I was to choose a book that taught me more about bread-making than any other, it would have to be this one. It insisted, it seemed to me, to begin with a wild yeast starter which I did, and kept going for over a year. The starter forced me to prepare bread at least once a week over that period and as a result, I became knowledgeable about textures and stages of readiness that over the many previous years of preparing breads I had never really understood, nor mastered.

But I grew fat over that
...more
Marie
Mar 18, 2016 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The beginning is a very good and readable introductions to wheat, enzymes, and how bread ferments, develops taste, and rises. I've made the master recipe with a biga twice to good results. It's definitely whole wheat bread that tastes like whole wheat, but my 18 month old scarfs it down happily.
Sean
Sep 17, 2009 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
I have a sneaking suspicion that Peter Reinhart's method is too complex, at least for lazy old me, and I'm sure if I do incorporate his techniques into my baking in the long term that I'll be simplifying and paring them down. But still: some of the best whole-wheat bread I've ever baked has come from the recipes in this book. I recommend it to anyone who really wants to learn more about the potential of whole grains to make a rich, complex artisan loaf.
Laura Conrad
Feb 17, 2014 Laura Conrad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
Of course, "finished" is a silly term to apply to a cookbook that you liked and intend to continue using. But I have flipped through it all and baked one recipe.

The recipe was not a total success, but it's what I'm eating (with pleasure) for breakfast. It's the all sprouted grain recipe. I'm going to try it again and wait longer for the sprouts to do their thing, and maybe add less water to the dough. It didn't rise as high as I hoped. But for how little sprouts put through a meat grinder look l
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Debra
Feb 25, 2016 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
I picked this up in my quest for a loaf of true whole wheat bread (no white flour at all) that actually rises and tastes like something other than a slightly edible brick of bread. My first experience with the "Beginner's loaf" was a little tentative. It was very tasty, but the second rise did not go well. Never say die, I am soldiering on and have produced a wonderful loaf of crusty outside, soft inside. I want to cheer.

Take the time to read the book before you dash into the baking. This is a v
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Michelle
Feb 15, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly thorough, scientifically researched book with a wealth of valuable information. I do not, however, recommend it as a guide for a first, or even second, attempt at making bread with starter. This man has decades of experience baking bread, and this is his method for making perfect whole-grain breads. I have baked bread with yeast and with starter before, and I was not employed so had lots of time and energy to devote to this--yet I was still overwhelmed by the number of comp ...more
Heidi
Jan 22, 2009 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this cookbook so much that I bought it. I checked it out from the library to see if I would like a few of the recipes out of it. There are many recipes that I have used and continue to use. I love the theory that he presents at the beginning of the book. There is a lot of information there that I found to be useful in my career and here at home. I make a lot of bread and most of it is wheat bread. His ideas of making a soaker and a biga then putting them together to get the best flavor i ...more
Vernon
Apr 26, 2008 Vernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keepers
When I came across Peter Reinharts's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor, I just had to try it out. I had already read his Bread Baker's Apprentice book and really enjoyed it. Wow! Does he ever deliver. I love the science of bread that he puts into his books. Not being a chemist, I think the actual chemistry behind all the reactions in the dough is a little beyond me, bit the deconstruction of the bread, the nitty-gritty how it works is what really intrigues me. I am an engi ...more
Keith
I've had a lot of success with Reinhart's earlier bread baking book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. This book is similar, but with an emphasis (as the title suggests) on whole grain breads. It begins with a lengthly explanation of the baking process, including background on Reinhart's innovative techniques for working with whole grain doughs. The recipes seem well organized and easy to follow.

I've only baked one recipe from this book, so far---a "Transitional" Country Hearth Bread. "Transitional
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Elise
Jan 10, 2009 Elise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
Wow - this man is a true bread master, a finding corroborated by quite a bit of web research (bread aficionados not yet familiar with thefreshloaf.com should check it out). I appreciated the in-depth description of bread chemistry, which while not essential to my own bread-making experience was interesting though not likely something I'll remember.

I don't know how many years it would take me to make all the breads I want to try in this book, but I did find one that has become a staple at our ho
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Lena
Apr 27, 2014 Lena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a cookbook - or rather, a bread baking book - and thus it was rather hard to rate. The first hundred pages are about the theory of bread baking, and while much was a bit beyond my highly limited knowledge of organic chemistry, I did read it and found much of it both surprising and interesting. I then tried to bake some whole wheat bread, according to his methodology and following his recipe. The first - I guess I lost patience, and did not follow the steps exactly. The second - closer .. ...more
David
Sep 30, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baking
This is a great book but definitely NOT for the beginning baker. If you have some bread baking experience and want to move to the next level, and be guided by one of the best in the business, this is a great place to start. Not for the timid.
Chris
Dec 12, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding book explaining the science of bread dough, offering innovative methods of manipulating yeast and enzyme activity! An overload of information for the more experienced bread baker; an excellent reference book!
P.
Nov 04, 2010 P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I'm most interested in is parlaying the techniques I've picked up from Reinhart into grain - whole, partial, mixed, - breads. I didn't find many of interest in the two books that I own but I'm hoping to find something in this one. Along with a lot of repetition. I am making better and more consistent bread than ever. My sponge [which was fascinating to make:] has been going strong since April and produces tasty, light [not reliably crisp tho' - after the first few hours:] and quite presenta ...more
Heather
Sep 10, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bread Enthusiasts, Bakers, Foodies, Cooks & Ducks
I am attempting to make whole wheat sourdough and this book was suggested on one of the bread forums I visited. Reinhart's book is geared towards those who have more advanced baking skills but he does a good job of including thorough explanations that a novice can understand. Many of the artisan breads featured in the book are not ones I would attempt, but they do sound wonderful and would be of great interest to those who know how to get around the kitchen or bakery. Although the book covers th ...more
Jkanz
Nov 02, 2013 Jkanz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not read a lot of books on whole-grain baking, but in my opinion this is probably one of the best. It is certainly the best one that I've read. Reinhart not only provides a number of recipes for the cook to try, but he also explains his technique in detail. I am particularly fond of the recipe for Struan. I would also say that the pizza dough recipe in this book made the finest pizza I have ever eaten. Surprisingly, it contained all whole-grain flour. If you are interested in adding more ...more
Blurp
Sep 23, 2013 Blurp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Learn how to make bread good. With a focus on whole grains and Reinhart's 'double fermentation' method (two-day refrigerated fermentation of a wild yeast starter or commercial yeast biga and a soaker). Lots of 'transitional' recipes as well (i.e. ways to incorporate white flour and serve as a gateway to pure wheat or whole grain breads). I've been making bread and other baked goods from this book for a year or so and it tastes good when you eat it.
Thing One
Nov 16, 2012 Thing One rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking
Another textbook/reference for the dedicated baker, this is a studied exploration on how to develope the rustic style of whole grain bread into something with great flavour. Often delving into the science of baking, Reinhart guides the reader through his evolving process of creating a better way to integrate whole grains into our diet. This book is NOT for the novice baker, but for the passionate & creative seeker.
Kirsten Ross


It's a good book but I wish I'd chosen one with a simpler approach. I found a video on youtube from delectable planet for making whole wheat bread that taught me to make an equally tasty loaf without all of the starters, biga, or soakers. For me, a lazy (but crunchy) home cook, this book is overkill. I think the video, combined with something more like the classic "Wings of Life", would have been a better choice.
Mikhaela
Feb 10, 2014 Mikhaela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, cookbooks
So far have made the sandwich bread and the whole wheat hearth bread (both with a starter instead of biga) and they were fantastic...
Emily
Apr 03, 2009 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best bread baking book for whole grains I have ever come across. I have tried probably 10 different recipes from this book with great success. I bake bread every week now and love how it turns out. His method of bread baking also maximizes the nutrition in each loaf by allowing the enzymes in wheat to do their work before baking. I own this book and use it several times a week.
Clare K. R.
I haven't actually baked any bread from this book yet, but I can't wait to start.
Nicole Handy
Jul 04, 2012 Nicole Handy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic whole wheat bread recipes. This has my new go-to sandwich bread recipe. Lots of pictures and descriptions. If you have never baked whole wheat bread but want to start, pick up this book. The recipes themselves are time consuming because you start the bread the night before, but the end results are great. I like the jump start the night before while my kids are in bed.
Phoebe
Mar 23, 2010 Phoebe marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is hands-down the most difficult cookbook I've ever read. Just making the preparations to create my first loaf of bread took 200 pages of reading and a week of work. So far, I haven't had any success, so I'm retiring Reinhart to the kitchen bookshelf for now. If I ever do succeed at making a loaf, this had better be the best bread I've ever eaten.
Deodand
Wow you have to really, really be into bread to take on this book. Reinhart outlines his multi-decade effort to create flavourful whole grain breads in great detail. I almost found this book creating a barrier to my own inept stumblings, because his techniques are time-consuming and intense. I think I'm too much of a beginner for this one.
Julie
Jun 19, 2009 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am intrigued. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but I think they sound fantastic and the author is very knowledgeable in the "grains" department. Don't know that I will ever give up my Gram's white bread recipe though (its just too good), but I'd love to incorporate Reinhart's whole grain techniques into my bread-making.
Mariko
Jun 24, 2009 Mariko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked reading about the science and "whys" behind the techniques. I've made the master recipe once, and I thought the flavor was quite good (which is nice because I have to cook dairy-free, and most dairy-free recipes I've tried seem bland). It was a little too crumbly to make a good sandwich, though, but I'll keep trying.
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