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Bread Baking Books and Resources

There are many fine baking books on the market. This is a short list of those that we use on a regular basis at Mary G’s Artisan Breads:

Jeffrey Hamelman, Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2004). Primarily aimed at the professional baker, this incredibly thorough book is the best one out there on technique and theory. Recipes are scaled for both large batches and home use. Hamelman’s range is wide, and his formulas do not appear elsewhere.

Carol Field, The Italian Baker (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1985). When you’re making the transition from pizza to bread, Field will guide you through a very large collection of Italian recipes, from Pani to Dolci.

Peter Reinhart, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2001). If we only had one bread book on our shelves, this would be it. Reinhart strikes a fine balance between theory and practicality as he covers a wide range of recipes, from bagels to sourdoughs.

Nancy Silverton, Breads from the LaBrea Bakery (New York: Villard, 1996). Silverton has her own methods and style, both of which are unique and captivating. Her recipes have become standards in artisan bread baking, and she includes directions for using a food processor, as well as hand and mixer kneading.

The number of Internet sites devoted to bread baking and equipment is bewildering, if not overpowering. The links given here are the result of much searching and more frustration until a core list was assembled.

Probably the best website for baking gear is hosted by the San Francisco Baking Institute. Originally started to take the financial sting out of necessary equipment for their students, SFBI’s prices are the most reasonable we’ve found. The selection is limited to such hard to find items as spiral mixers, lame blade holders, Kaiser cutters, couche cloth, long oven gloves and banneton. Visit them at www.sfbi.com/baking_supplies.html. Their service is personal, courteous and fast.

King Arthur flour is widely available, but ordinarily not every type they mill. Visit their on-line shop at www.kingarthurflour.com. There, you’ll find a wide array of specialty flours, graduated dough-doubling tubs, diastatic malt powder, sourdough starters and many other things that will tempt you. Their recipe section is extensive and useful.

Another recipe site that is particularly helpful for troubleshooting problems in bread baking is http://baking911.com. All sorts of baked goods are included, from pies and quick breads to muffins and pan breads.

As mentioned earlier, it is highly recommended that you join the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. Many professionals consult the forums on this site for problem solving, recipes and a general interchange about a wide range of topics, including bread. You’ll find the society at www.egullet.org. Membership is free.

One of the largest recipe sources on the net is www.epicurious.com. You can find and print everything from holiday dinner menus to bread recipes.

If you have a passion for all delights Italian, be sure to visit www.italianfoodforever.com. The site has wonderful depth and includes articles on Italian culture and regions that are very worthwhile.

For excellent streaming video on bread and pizza making techniques, don’t miss Julia Child’s programs with master chefs. You’ll find them at www.pbs.org/juliachild/videos.html.

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