The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Should I add the bread bible (rose levy) to my library?

bakedbaker's picture

Should I add the bread bible (rose levy) to my library?

Hey all, I own

The bread bakers apprentice

Flour water salt yeast 

New artisan bread in 5 minutes


Tartine bread .

I got the itch to add a new book to my collection. I'm not looking for beginner books, but one with new recipes and/or methods. I've been making bread for some time and made just about every thing in these books. I was eye balling The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Would that book be worth $20 to me or would it be redundant knowledge from my other books? Any other book recommendations would be great. 



Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

RLB's "Bread Bible" is a worthwhile addition to my collection of bread baking books. It has solid, fundamental information on ingredients and techniques with some interesting recipes as well. If your cost is only $20 then by all means go ahead and buy a copy.

As far as other books go, "Bread" by Jeff Hamelman should be added to your collection as well. It's a serious book that should be considered a textbook and not a coffee table book. In past years, TFL people have enjoyed semi competitive challenges where they baked a recipe in the book sequentially on a weekly basis and then reported on their results. There aren't very many books that have results like that.

HansB's picture

I was not impressed with it. I would recommend Hamelmans Bread instead.

DanAyo's picture

Hamelman’s book , Bread. In my opinion his Five-Grain Levain recipe/formula alone is worth the price of admission.

My favorite bread book is, The Bread Bakers Apprentice.

bakedbaker's picture

Wow, That's three for three for "Bread" I am going to check that out right now. Thanks! 


bakedbaker's picture

Postal Grunt: Thanks for the feedback. : )  You know how these things work, I'll end up getting both books.

Arjon's picture

I haven't read the book in question so can't comment on it, but fwiw, I haven't ever bought a of bread book before borrowing and reading it first. It helps that my local library has a pretty decent selection; obviously YMMV. 

bindifry's picture

i have been using both tartine books for some time now with consistent excellent results.  i've also learned a ton about technique, flours, hydration etc.  both beginning & advanced stuff.  

i just got "local breads" by daniel leader and i LOVE it.  it has region specific european breads with stories behind the breads & the journey to find it-i just made rosemary filone from tuscany and it was one of the best breads that i have made recently.  the bread baker's apprentice is also an excellent educational guide with a huge amount of diverse breads & explanations.

Angelica Nelson's picture
Angelica Nelson

I'm new to this community but I"ve been reading for a longer time.  I don't know if you have any interest in it, but if you're looking for a new challenge, I've really enjoyed the challenge of baking gluten free breads so far.  If there is a method of baking bread I'm interested in it and if there's a technique or an additive that can help, I'm curious about it.

And gluten free bread baking has so many nonsense guidelines (like only one rise, which is my pet peeve).  At the moment I'm working on using a bread machine which is challenge enough with gluten bread.  But once that's routine, I'll switch to more artisan breads.  If I were more healthy I think I could switch right now. 

Hardly anyone talks about "bringing out the flavor of the grain" in GF baking and nearly all of the advice is geared toward industrial breadmaking processes.  Which is one of the many reasons why I started with a bread machine. Yet the flavor of some of the diverse grains is truly delightful, my favorites for bread are quinoa, buckwheat and almond flours  I expect to branch out into amaranth flour because I have always liked that grain for an oatmeal alternative.    There's no need for GF bread to have no flavor.  And there have been several GF sourdough instructions posted on TFL already. 

I honestly feel like I"m going back in time to a time of injera bread (Ethiopian) and idly (a steamed bread from southern India).  To a time where wheat flour was rare and most people used millet or buckwheat to bake with.  It's actually very interesting. 

Anyway, people like me who are forever bereft of gluten (due to Celiac) could really use the attention of excellent home bakers because ultimately we have to cook and bake at home or run out of money buying GF products. 

Just a note though: if you do decide to accept this challenge, a friend with Celiac won't be able to enjoy it, it wouldn't be safe for them to accept bread baked in a kitchen that also bakes gluten bread.  It's not a reflection on you, just a reality with this illness.  They might be really pleased that you're trying to help and would accept your recipes.

I wish I could offer you a book that satisfies my dreams of what GF baking can be, but it's still a frontier.  Shauna James Ahern is probably my favorite author on it, but she didn't share guidelines of how she made her suggested flour mixes.  She avoids gums if possible, which is rare and wonderful in GF baking.

Another advantage you have over me in this realms is, I can't compare a GF bread to a gluten one anymore.  You can. 

Well I just thought I'd suggest it. Happy baking, of all kinds of bread!

retired baker's picture
retired baker

she isn't a baker.

you cannot learn how to be a baker from a non baker.


pmccool's picture

Some are brand new aspiring bakers. 

Some have decades of experience in a bakery, as you do. 

Some have decades of experience baking at home, like me. 

Whatever the individual’s experience level, this site is dedicated to helping them improve.  You can be a valuable contributor and teacher who treats other members respectfully.  Or you can be a jerk who blasts anyone who doesn’t measure up to your self-imposed standards.  I hope you choose the former because I think you have a lot to offer.  Otherwise, persistent ugly behavior will get you thrown out.

I look forward to a long and valuable correspondence from you.  


retired baker's picture
retired baker

thank you for your opinion.