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Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  850 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The warm, complex aroma of a fresh-baked loaf of bread can be utterly tantalizing; the first bite, a revelation. In Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes, award-winning master baker Jeffrey Hamelman presents the definitive, one-stop reference on the art and science of bread baking - a kitchen essential for seasoned home bakers and professionals alike. Hamelman, a ...more
Hardcover, 415 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by John Wiley & Sons
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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Zomick's  Bakery
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
It doesn't require to be baker to love this book. We at Zomick's bakery have this cookbook for many years and must admit we learned many new recipes from it. This goes for the challah bread especially. The cookbook itself has some drawbacks, like the inaccurate indexing of the recipes but if you can overcome that, you'll like it for sure. That is if you like spending time in preparing and baking foods.
Richard Cytowic
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frustrated trying to find a decent loaf of Ryelike my grandmother used to makeI decided to do it myself. I've used the King Arthur whole-grain book, but Jeffrey Hamelman's second edition is far superior.

It gives scale weights and baking percentages. Far better results than measuring by volume. And the taste: delicious! Almost wholly doing whole-wheat sourdough variations.

Highly recommended for the home cook wanting to experiment.
Pamela Hempston
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. If you do nothing else with your life, follow the recipe on page 249--Un-Kneaded, Six Fold French Bread. I guarantee you, you will be making this bread for the rest of your life.
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece of bread information. So helpful in baking!
Granted, this rating of only 2 stars is probably grossly unfair, especially because I hardly read any of the book (public library copy of the 2nd edition: John Wiley & Sons, 2012) and didn't try any of the recipes or outlined techniques.

Over the years, I've heard great things about Jeffrey Hamelman and I was really looking forward to reading his book. But it turns out that Hamelman's idea of "a baker" is one who is running a bakery, not someone like me who has a little kitchen, enough room
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I can't say I've "read" it completely as I'm still trying out new recipes, but as far as techniques for baking go, this is "THE ONE" book. It's amazing and really pushes me to try new things as far as baking bread goes: from shaping to proofing to technical and chemical details about what happens to flour, everything is carefully explained.
Jeffrey Hamelman did an amazing job in explaining how to create sourdough, including your own starter. There are reading groups on the internet who encourage
Bill T.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my go-to bread baking book. I like the simple formulas rather than everything being a full-blown recipe.

Other reviewers have complained about the lack of metric home-baking instructions, but taking the metric formulas for professional bakers and dividing by ten gives reasonably-sized batches. (Measuing flour in pounds and ounces is such a pain!)

Oh, and I suggest you avoid the second edition and try finding the first edition instead -- he switched to a sans-serif font that, in my opinion,
Julie Rose
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: bread-baking
This book is often referred to as the "bible" of bread-baking, and it is written by the head baker at King Arthur Flour, but I found it lacking in many ways. The recipes are all sized for commercial kitchens (22 or so loaves at a time). The column formatted for the home baker is in imperial units (pounds and ounces) instead of metric. Very annoying. Additionally, the beginning of the book (covering ingredients, techniques, etc) was much lighter on the science and in depth "why"s of baking than ...more
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Hands down the best book I've read so far on bread when it comes to technical side of it all (ingredients, shaping, proofing, baking, commercial side, recipes,...). This is a book that most bakers I know have and keep coming back to as their go-to bread book. For a reason. It's great for beginners as is for pros. Something you can always come back to for inspiration. You are only bound by your imagination. Mine is covered in little notes and higlights.
The only thing that I really disliked are
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really, really really good bread. I'm baking ciabatta as I type this. I love you, Jeffrey Hamelman. I'm still too much of a novice to have made my own starter culture, but my experiments with pâte fermentée have been delightful.

The only downside is that it's definitely for an American audience, so the home measures are in freedom units rather than metric. As I'm not going to make a professional baker's worth of bread in one go (even I can't eat THAT much bread in a week), I do need to do some
Mar 09, 2020 added it
This is my go to book for baking - after reading the very large science section you have an insight into what is going on as the dough develops and the bread bakes. This helps the mistakes to be better understood and not left to complete randomness of what happens.
Elizabeth Cramer
I couldn't read this book because it's mainly drawn pictures. Lots of cool techniques, but only needed when actually in the act of baking.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think I maybe could have benefitted from a simpler introduction to bread, but I learned a lot and its much less of a mystery! ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every recipe I read, every technique I tried was superb. My new go to bread book.
Adam E
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book helped me take my baking to a level I thought would take me years to achieve. I could not be happier.
Patrick Beach
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great, I was researching sours and pre-ferments.
Rob Durante
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
Jeffrey Hamelman
An accomplished baker, teacher and entrepreneur, Jeffrey Hamelman brings a variety of experiences and skills to his position as Bakery Director at King Arthur Flour. One of fewer than 100 Certified Master Bakers in the United States, Jeffrey began his training working under French and German bakers at Naegele Bakery in Northampton, Massachusetts.
In 1996, Jeffrey was named captain of Baking Team USA, which competed at the Coupe du

Monde de la Boulangerie, an international Bread
David McCormick
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My bread book. A tool I depend on like my scale. It includes baking percentages so one can download the free baking % calculator ap and there you go. One loaf or 12, large loaves or small: weigh ingredients only once! Miraculous! All the advanced techniques are here, the author includes his lifetime of baking experience and his passion for making and sharing bread. Also, I love the broad range of recipes thoughtfully included which act as starting places for imagination and experimentation, not ...more
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great explanations of the science behind baking bread, which was valuable to me. But definitely geared for professional bakers & people with some specialized bread baking equipment. I could appreciate what this book had to offer but I wish I was further along in my skill level to use its lessons to their true advantage - for intermediate to advanced bakers, not novices. I liked how recipes included side by side instructions for home bakers who did not want to bake in bulk and professional ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
This is an excellent, detailed bread baking book that I absolutely depend on. The recipe for Pretzels is absolutely flawless, and the results are authentic, says my German-born and raised husband. It is the only bread book that I found in the US that has good detail on making and using the lye solution to give the pretzels the shiny brown crust that is needed for an authentic pretzel. The pizza recipe is excellent as well, as are so many of the other recipes. This book lives in my kitchen.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bread
Fabulous book. Hamelman treats you seriously, assumes you have a brain and can work out that things can be varied. His recipes include a conversation with you about the variations. He also informs you in general about what you can expect when you vary things.

The nicest treatment of grain breads I've come across so far. My only mild quibble is that I wish the amounts for the home baker were given in metric as well as imperial.
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
My copy of this book is covered in notes and flour. If you've never made bread before, this book would be completely overwhelming, but once you know the basics, this is invaluable and has made me a much much better baker.

I only wish that the "home" batches were listed in grams instead of ounces. I find myself calculating out a 3#(2 loaves) batch of dough measured in g/ml each time I approach a new recipe.
Dec 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
If you want to learn the basics and even more advanced techniques of baking bread, then this is the ONE book to have on your shelf.

My baker friend, a former Head Baker at Per Se and Bouchon Bakery recommended it to me for the few days I spent working with him and I would say it was the best assigned reading I've had in a long time.
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
I didn't actually read every word of this book, but I gleaned what I wanted to from it, which is to say that I read the first chapter in it's entirety (and read more than I ever want to know about The Bread Process, from Mixing through Baking). Then I skimmed many recipes and decided I may never be a fancy bread baker. ~sigh~
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Very good resource for understanding the science behind breadmaking. The breads I've made from this book, though, have not turned out well. With the sourdough, it was more likely baker's error than a problem with the forumula or method set out in the book! I will continue to use this book to enhance my skills.
Florence Ditlow
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I decided to use this book as a reference for my own writing because a professional baker wrote it. It proved its value over and over, down to the sketches and photographs. If I needed to describe a type of bread or baking, it gave me everything I needed to communicate the inestimable value of bread. It even ispired a chapter about bread in an interpretive dance.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
My only criticism is that the measurements given should also be in metric units not just pounds and ounces. That makes it quite limiting (and provincial, actually) since the US is the ONLY country still using that outmoded system of measurement. In the end, this makes the book very limiting, and not at all useful.
May 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
You basically have to be a hard-core breadmaker to make sense of this book. I'm a home cook that wanted good info on making bread and learned quickly that this book is really intended more for people who are commercially making bread, not for people like me. So, I gave up after the intro.
Mary Beth
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some great advice and insight here -- given me lots of ideas for new stuff at home, as well as why things happen they way they do for bread (homemade or otherwise). Still, it's a little difficult to translate into home baking sometimes.
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it
My rating is from the perspective of wanting a more light hearted bread book with some story, easy recipes and great tips. This is one heavy book - figuratively and by weight! A much more serious bread book than I was after
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