For the past few weeks, I’ve been reviewing books in my quest to find the best “true beginner breadbaking book.” That is to say, one that would give the true beginner all the information they would need to know to get a good start, but would not be overwhelming or too technical. It would explain the whys and hows of bread in a way that was easy to absorb. I checked out all the books on breadbaking at the library, giving particular attention to ones I’d heard about on The Fresh Loaf.
I had heard Rose Levy Beranbaum’s name around, so I decided to check out her bread book. I quickly realized this was quite a tome. To start, it’s over 600 pages long. This is not a beginner’s book; it’s one that you could spend a lifetime baking from.
It goes through each part of the baking process in great detail.
I did like the illustrations; it reminded me of the pictures in the Joy of Cooking.
I thought these instructions for a single-strand braid were fascinating. I’ve never seen that before!
She has a few sections of full-color pictures that are lovely.
We are drowning in sweet potatoes so I’ll definitely be using this recipe.
One disappointment was that her potato bread uses potato flour instead of mashed potatoes or potato water. Who does that? Where does one find potato flour???
This page on baguettes made me laugh. Apparently dough doesn’t rise for expert bakers either!
Another aspect I really appreciated was each recipe included a ‘pointers for success’ and an ‘understanding’ section at the end, with tips and advice. It allows you to do a deep dive into the science behind the recipe, if you want.
Beranbaum also includes sections at the end for ingredients and equipment. I tagged several recipes to test, including her baguettes. So look for those soon!