Best Books for Home Breadmaking

Breadmaking has become popular during quarantine; as bread becomes harder to find on grocery store shelves, more people are making their own. These resources will help both new and experienced bakers get started.

Bread was one of the first items people stocked up on at the onset of the coronavirus, according to the Washington Post, which also noted a subsequent increase in breadmaking; as Eater points out, "unlike eggs or milk...if the bread runs out, you can just make your own." Both outlets continue to describe grocery stores temporarily running out of flour and yeast as a result, or limiting quantities per customer. Breadmaking has become one of the micro-trends of quarantine, according to Vox, and new and experienced bakers may be looking for additional resources to help. These titles, all of which are digitally available, will help new and experienced bakers achieve worthwhile results.

GETTING STARTED
Bread IllustratedAmerica's Test Kitchen. Bread Illustrated: A Step-By-Step Guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results At Home. America's Test Kitchen. 2016. pap. ISBN 9781940352602. $32.99.
America’s Test Kitchen brings its expertise to helping bakers of all levels better understand bread—Besides the detailed how-to throughout each chapter, the step-by-step photographs of mastering size and shape of dough set this work apart, and will help home bakers make everything from bagels to boules, pitas to pizza.

Bread BibleBeranbaum, Rose Levy. The Bread Bible. Norton. 2013. ISBN 9780393057942. $35.
Still a definitive resource, this collection by acclaimed baker Beranbaum moves from loaves to brioche, with detailed instructions that will help new bakers as they begin working with sponges or a sourdough starter. Detailed, yet approachable chapters shed insight into the science of bread, and why we’re drawn to it.

How to Bake EverythingBittman, Mark. How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking. Houghton Harcourt. 2016. ISBN 9780470526880. $35.
This all-encompassing collection by veteran cookbook author Bittman features everything from cookies to muffins to pies. The detailed chapter on yeast breads, however, offers plenty of helpful advice on making baguettes, brioche, challah, ciabatta, flatbreads, and much more. Tips on nine uses for a sourdough starter is an added bonus.

Gluten-Free Bread BakingEllgen, Pamela. No-Fail Gluten-Free Bread Baking: Classic Bread Recipes for the Texture and Flavor You Love. Rockridge Press. 2018. pap. ISBN 9781641520195. $15.99
Food writer and cooking instructor Ellgen presents a variety of gluten-free offerings in this collection which will allow bakers to practice and perfect biscuits, focaccia, rolls, scones, tortillas, and more. With insight into the specifications of gluten-free baking, along with substitutions when necessary, this is a solid entry for beginners.

Bread Baking for BeginnersOhara, Bonnie. Bread Baking for Beginners: The Essential Guide to Baking Kneaded Breads, No-Knead Breads, and Enriched Breads. Rockridge Press. 2018. pap. ISBN 9781641521192. $17.99.
Featuring step-by-step photographs alongside recipes for knead and no-knead breads, along with enriched breads and ones with pre-ferments, this one-stop resource by self-taught bread baker Ohara is essential for anyone looking to get started, but unsure where to begin. In a conversational tone, she also explains the history of breadmaking.

HONING THE CRAFT
Roses Baking BasicsBeranbaum, Rose Levy. Rose's Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes, with More Than 600 Step-By-Step. Houghton Harcourt. 2018. ISBN 9780544816220. $35.
Beranbaum returns with an elegant collection that will help intermediate and advanced home bakers make biga, and master the skill of working with baking pearls. Similar to her previous books, this one features precise photographs that will aid in making delicacies such as Japanese milk bread and babka swirl loaf.

No Gluten No ProblemBronski, Kelli & Peter Bronski. No Gluten, No Problem Pizza: 75+ Recipes for Every CravingFrom Thin Crust to Deep Dish, New York to Naples. 2019. Experiment. IBSN 9781615195411. $24.95.
Specializing in gluten-free pizza crusts, this guide is a welcome resource. Keeping in mind allergens and dietary restrictions, the Bronskis have created recipes for thin crust, deep-dish, and grain-free pizzas, among others, and offer advice for troubleshooting along the way. A chapter on focaccia and flatbread is also a highlight.

Gluten-Free Baking at HomeLarsen, Jeffrey. Gluten-Free Baking At Home: 102 Foolproof Recipes for Delicious Breads, Cakes, Cookies, and More. 2019. Ten Speed. ISBN 9780399582790. $30.
Though Larsen includes plenty of cookies and cobblers in this vibrant collection, quick breads and yeasted breads are real stars here—Readers will be drawn to the author’s honesty, especially when admitting that baking can be frustrating, and will be encouraged by his approachable gluten-free seeded breads and classic loaves.

Bread on the TableNorman, David. Bread on the Table: Recipes for Making and Enjoying Europe's Most Beloved Breads. 2019. Ten Speed. ISBN 9781607749257. $35.
This debut by chef Norman features French, Scandinavian, Italian, and German breads before bringing the focus back to his native Texas with takes on boules, batard, ciabatta, and miche. With most recipes using a starter, these are ideal for bakers looking for more variety without being overwhelmed.

PoilanePoilâne, Apollonia. Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery. 2019. Rux Martin. ISBN 9781328810786. $35.
The owner and chef of the noteworthy Parisian bakery Poilâne allows readers to replicate her creations with this impressive guide. Recipes require dedication and are geared toward experienced bakers; however, they will find treats such as sweet corn brioche, dukkah croutons, and French country bread worth the effort.

BEYOND BREAD

The following resources feature bread-related sections, and will inspire further baking.
BakeritaConners, Rachel. Bakerita: 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker. 2020. Houghton Harcourt. ISBN 9780358116677. $24.99.
Expanding on the treats on her popular blog Bakerita, Conner's impressive debut includes her classic chocolate-hazlenut banana bread along with several other options—including muffins, cookies, brownies scones, and rolls—that are free of gluten, dairy, and sugar. This is a great overview of baking with dietary restrictions in mind.

Baking With KimJoyKim-Joy. Baking with Kim-Joy: Cute and Creative Bakes to Make You Smile. 2019. Quadrille. ISBN 9781787134584. $24.99
Great British Bake-Off finalist Kim-Joy impressed judges and audiences with her colorful creations. Fans of the show, and anyone looking to take their baking to the next level, can recreate treats such as caraway bread and a honey wreath along with whimsical cakes, macarons, and more. Her personality shines throughout.

Cardamon TrailMakan, Chetna. The Cardamom Trail: Chetna Bakes with Flavours of the East. 2016. Octopus Books. ISBN 9781784721299. $29.99.
Makan, a fan favorite on the Great British Bake-Off, has written several cookbooks since appearing on the show. This one highlights several treats, such as saffron brioche buns, while also introducing bakers to her favorite spices—including cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon—as well as her showstopping her cakes and pies.

Bigger Bolder BakingStafford, Gemma. Bigger Bolder Baking: A Fearless Approach to Baking Anytime, Anywhere. 2019. Houghton Harcourt. ISBN 9781328546326. $30.
With the same relatable style as her popular YouTube and Facebook Live videos, this cookbook by Stafford touches on breads before moving onto the desserts she is best-known for: blondies, cookies, and cake. This is a must for bakers looking to improve their confidence, guided along by a trusted friend.

Milk and CardamonVasavada, Hetel. Milk & Cardamom: Spectacular Cakes, Custards and More, Inspired by the Flavors of India. 2019. Page Street. pap. ISBN 9781624147746. $21.99.
Proving that she is more than desserts, MasterChef contestant and popular Milk & Cardamom blogger Vasavada serves recipes for breads, such as cinnamon and jaggery monkey bread or pear and cardamom scones, along with her noteworthy cakes and custards. Her friendly style will engage fans and draw in new ones.

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Stephanie Sendaula

Stephanie Sendaula (ssendaula@mediasourceinc.com) is an Associate Editor at Library Journal.

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