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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intermediate-to-advanced book
Peter Reinhart outstrips his previous works in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It is, in one volume, a guide to the science and art of great bread, an account of Reinhart's journeys and experiences in the professional baking world, and finally, a collection of some very good bread formulae.
The book's greatest successes are in European-style hearth loaves. His whole...
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by Lawrence Strauss

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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book for bakers
Ever want to make a braid bread that didn't look like three worms in love? Wonder why your rye bread was hard as a rock? This book is full of tips and insights that will help you be a better baker.
Published on Aug. 4 2003 by C. McManis


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intermediate-to-advanced book, Aug. 5 2003
By 
Lawrence Strauss (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
Peter Reinhart outstrips his previous works in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It is, in one volume, a guide to the science and art of great bread, an account of Reinhart's journeys and experiences in the professional baking world, and finally, a collection of some very good bread formulae.
The book's greatest successes are in European-style hearth loaves. His whole wheat bread is great, to be sure, and his cinnamon buns deliver, but for truly excellent work turn to the ciabatta, French bread, pain de campagne, and other lean-dough recipes. (Also worth a rave is his foccacia, which left me wondering why they hadn't had anything this good when I was in Italy.)
A few things to be aware of:
1. As has been true with all of Reinhart's work since Brother Juniper, patience is the key to these wonderful loaves. His delicious rendition of Pane Siciliano, not even a sourdough, takes three days from start to finish! The majority of the recipes in the book require work on at least two separate days, and rising times are longer than in many other books due to smaller amounts of yeast.
2. While many of the ethnic-style breads are very good, they are often Reinhart's personal renditions and are not what I would call "authentic." The most obvious oddity, to me, is the presence of milk in the dough of his New York Deli Rye. Reinhart reminisces about eating roast beef on this bread in several of New York's kosher delis, where Jewish dietary laws prohibit the admixture of dairy and meat products in a single meal. On a less urgent note, I'm surprised that this recipe doesn't call for first-clear flour, also called common flour, which is usually considered essential for good Jewish rye.
3. This is not a beginner's book. Unless you already have an electric mixer with a dough hook, you'll want to know how to knead dough by hand, and Reinhart does not explain this rather basic skill. In addition, the formulae can be a bit on the intimidating side, and may confuse people who are not inclined to read through the rather scientific introduction to the process of bread baking. Many books are available which can give you the basic tools to make perfectly good bread before you tackle some of this material.
Despite these obstacles -- one cannot really call them faults -- this book is an invaluable part of my collection, and I use it regularly to great praise from my family and friends. Highly recommended.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love good bread, this is worth every penny and more, July 15 2004
By 
DNP "waterlily525" (Framingham, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
This book is a real education in bread baking. You'll learn the science behind the process; as another reviewer stated, you'll feel like you are sitting in one of the author's classes at Johnson & Wales University. You'll learn various dough-shaping techniques, including tips that I otherwise would never have known, like how to create surface tension so that the loaf will rise up and not just out. Basically, you will learn everything you need to know to create really great bread and you'll learn it in an engaging, easy-to-read manner from a person who obviously has a real (and contagious) love for good food.
You may find as I did that to begin with you will have to do a lot of flipping back and forth in the book, to review particular processes. However, once you learn how to shape a baguette or how to judge the dough's gluten development, as examples, you won't have to keep going back to review that information and you'll be able to follow the recipes with more flow.
The Poolish Baguettes are to die for. I often make a batch when I have company (since a good deal of the work is done the day before) and let me tell you, if you want to see people REALLY SAVOR their food, give them a warm loaf of this bread!
Of the other recipes I've tried so far, my other favorite is the foccacia.
Another reviewer felt like you had to have a state-of-the-art kitchen to use this book. I must disagree, as I felt Mr. Reinhart went out of his way to teach the user how to recreate (to a reasonable degree) the commercial baking process, including steaming the loaves to create that delectable crunchy crust.
If you love good bread and want to know how to achieve superior results baking it yourself, don't hesitate a moment to buy this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tremendous resource for all levels of bread bakers, Feb. 14 2009
This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
There are a lot of good bread books out there but only a few get to move up to the top of the pile and The Bread Baker's Apprentice is decidedly one of them. If you haunt bread baking websites, you'll likely have seen this book referenced a huge number of times, likely more than any other book in the last eight or so years. And considering there are some other excellent bread making books available, that's no small feat.

With plenty of instructional text and photographs to follow along, this book will help anyone from the very beginner to the more advanced bread enthusiast as they experiment (and yes, you should play with your food) with the several different styles of bread included in this collection. Well written and clearly explained, Reinhart's stint as an instructor at Johnson & Wales University shows through in the way he presents his information and helps you to understand what's happening to the dough under your hand.

I have but two qualms with this book. The first is that Reinhart offered only US volume and weight measures (cups and ounces) and did not also offer the gram measurements which are the more universal and accurate method of measuring your ingredients. It should be noted right away, however, that his forthcoming new book does include gram weights. Perhaps in a future revised edition, the editors will see that grams are added to the recipes included here.

The second is his instruction for creating a sourdough starter. To begin, he refers to it here as "barm" and although he has since retracted this and agreed it was incorrect, this could be overlooked. This starter is generally referred to as a "mother" or "chief" starter. I'm also not in agreement with the size of this "mother" or Chief" starter he has the reader create; it could just as well be 1/4 the size he makes and would make for less waste in regular feeding and use a smaller container in your refrigerator.

Yet none of this is so serious as to make the book undesirable nor detract from the otherwise valuable information so well presented in this book. I do (and have) very strongly recommend this book as a staple in any bread maker's arsenal and it will likely be a top go-to resource for many.

If you want to make bread and are looking to make more than just "sliced white" a mere step above the store bought stuff or if you know anyone who is interested in artisanal breads, this book is a must on your (or their) bookshelf, whether it's there alone or in company of other good bread books. It's high reputation with novice to serious home bakers' circles is not unwarranted in the least.

Lastly, I want to pick up a point brought up by another reviewer, stating that this book is not for "average home bakers" and that the recipes take too long. I'm afraid I'll disagree on both counts. Yes, you can mix some dough and pop it into the oven in a matter of a couple of hours and you'll have bread. But it won't be excellent bread. You won't have developed the flavours from your ingredients that are there to coax out although not in just an hour or two. Slow and patient gives you excellent bread, "In a hurry bread" is not what this book is about.

And yes, this is absolutely a good book for the "average home baker" there's little in here that an average baker cannot do. Again, bread baking is not a fast art, not if you want great bread. Good bread is a "slow food", not a "fast food". But it's also not horribly complex or requires a ton of special items or ingredients. If you have a dependable oven and some flour, water, salt and some form of yeast, you have all you need to make bread. Throw in time and care and these exact same ingredients can make GREAT bread.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bread Baker's Apprentice, May 25 2009
By 
R. Mah (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
After many years of baking yeasted goods by the direct method, I thought is that is all there is to bread? My inclination to go back to the basics lead me to this book. Peter Reinhart, as an instructor of baking, displayed his pride and passion with a no nonsense approach. The Bread Baker's Apprentice is well written, is easy to read, and follow. Inspite of the 2 day preparation of most doughs, you will be intrigued at how a small quantity of yeast, and simply proofing at room temperature brings out the flavor of a bread that is hard to find elsewhere. The formulas and percentages is also helpful to do variations where you could add another kind of grain, liquid, or oil to create your own signature bread. For those with some baking experience, you will not be disappointed with this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Breadman", a new Superhero, is Born!, March 27 2002
By 
wife of Breadman (Winchester, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
--My husband recently took up breadmaking as a hobby. I bought this book for him as a birthday gift, and it has transformed him! Peter Reinhart's explanations of the principles behind bread have enabled hubby (a.k.a. "Breadman")to understand the outcomes of his efforts, as well as produce professional-quality breads (well, "professional" at least to the rest of us common-folk in the family who are enjoying the results!). No more grumpiness over lumpy loaves! Hooray for crispy crusts with the perfect crumb to go with a steaming bowl of soup!
If I could, I would like to thank the author for helping "Breadman" to overcome frustration and setting him on his way to becoming a "Breadmaster"!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, May 29 2011
This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
Before I bought this book I saw lots of reviews suggesting it was only for those more experienced bakers. That's just not the case. Before buying this book I had never made a loaf of bread in my life, now I make 3 - 5 a week. They're ALL delicious. I'm slowly making my through the recipes and they get better every time. As Peter mentions at the beginning of the book, the Pain a L'ancienne is truly extraordinary. I try to make it every time I have company now.

Buy this book! You won't regret it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book but recipe are too long to make, Oct. 5 2009
By 
Gi (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
I loved this book ... until the day I decided to make my first bread using the Reinhart method... and I could not: either I had not prepared the proper barm, sponge etc...the day before or I did not have the proper ingredients.
Thus, I recommand this book for understanding how breads are made but, if you are working (as I do) and want to make a good bread or two during the week end, use another book1!
But I still look upon the day I retire and hope, at that time, I will be able to cook a true Reinhart bread!
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85 of 102 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars just too long to make. . ., Feb. 13 2004
By 
M. Turloiu (Westland, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
I want to state my point asap: these breads take to long to make, up to 2 days, and some even longer. My grandmother could have made a dozen breads in that amount of time.
I understand perfectly well that these recepies are proffesional baker's "formulas", but it's not meant for the ordinary home baker (unless you're rich with a very big and proffesional kitchen). I was tricked into buying this book because i trust the reviews from other people to tell me what's inside a book and common complaints, yet no one mentioned these things. My oven is tiny, i have limited counter space , and i'll die of hunger before i get one lousy crumb.
I've had this book for a year now and frankly i've run out of "waiting" patience, not to mention the fear that runs down my spine every time i use the 'hearth baking' technique. Also if you don't have a 'special' place in your kitchen to place the book you just might have to do what i did in order to keep it nice and clean. Either memorize the formulas or scan, print, and pin them to the fridge with a magnet.
Now, about the good things about this book.
YES. The recepies are clear and easy to understand. (Warning: the pictures can make you drool.)
YES. The breads do come out tasty.
YES. You can learn many things about ingredients, tools, techniques. I wouldn't be surprised if this book is being used in schools and if not should be.
But once again i do not believe this book to be for home bakers (not the average ones at least).
If you decide to get this book consider these things first:
Do you have: Counter space? A wide, trusty (gas) oven? And patience? Free weekends? Or at the very least an interest in the science of bread.
Now that you know the positive AND the negative of this book. . .Unlike some reviews, all of you people before me \_/
I have one last request i whish all people would take in consideration. Please state the positive and the negative of a book in your review. There are people like me who trust you and believe what you say. Thank you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most used book in my collection, Nov. 1 2013
This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
I love this book. The recipes are clear and have a great summary at the top of each page so you can choose a bread that fits in your time frame. All techniques and the science behind them are covered in the first half of the book, helping you understand how each of the recipes work so after mastering the recipe you can become creative.
I no longer buy bread; instead I bake it all at home using this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good starter to bread making, March 5 2013
By 
terry minnis (cranbrook, b.c., canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover)
excellent for the novice and experienced bread maker. Good pictures and explanatuions. many varied recipes to explore with helpful hints
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