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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on April 2, 2012
Really good first book or even tenth book. This is a story as well as a good guide to making bread. I found it to be complete and detailed. I just love a recipe and trying it out. A fun read for bread lovers.
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on October 20, 2003
Cookbook author/humorist Ann Hodgman once wrote, of Rose Levy Berenbaum's masterpiece The Cake Bible, that perhaps The Gideons should leave this "bible" in hotel bedrooms instead of that other, better-known one. Hodgman has a point. I have baked extensively from both of Berenbaum's previous "bibles," on cake and on pastry, and have yet to come up with a dud.
Since we're talking about bibles here, clearly Berenbaum finds that God is in the details. She gives clear, concise explanations of the "whys" of baking without ever getting tedious. I have been baking regularly for nearly thirty years, and yet in my first read-through of The Bread Bible, I learned at least a dozen facts that I hadn't previously known, and yet made perfect sense. For example, the inclusion of Wondra bleached, granulated flour (not a typical staple among serious bakers) in her Butter Popovers eliminate the resting period that the batter typically must undergo before baking.
Her books also inspire: A round, Gruyere-spiked cheese bread baked in a souffle dish--which Berenbaum whimsically names, "The Stud Muffin"--will send me out today on a quick trip for a couple of necessary, missing ingredients.
Berenbaum's recipes run the gamut from simple "quick" breads to more time-consuming (but hardly more difficult) artisanal loaves. She also provides sources for ingredients and equipment. This tome, with its gorgeous photographs and numerous line drawings, might intimidate some fledgling bakers, but don't let it! If it does, I suggest The King Arthur Flour's Baker's Companion. However, true breadheads are justified in wanting both.
Rose Levy Berenbaum's passion both for detail and for routinely spectacular results reminds me of Maida Heatter, whose equally comprehensive and delightful baking books inspired beginning bakers like me more than twenty years ago. Heatter's books have withstood the test of time. I'm sure Berenbaum's Bread Bible will become as annotated and batter-spattered as Heatter's books are in my kitchen. There's no higher praise than that!
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on March 27, 2004
I have been baking bread for over 10 years and sourdough for 3 years. My sourdough bread is my families favorite and I can make it without throwing out 3/4 of the starter. She is always throwing out the starter and it just isn't necessary. I didn't even try her sourdough's because the directions were so complicated they made my head spin.
I tried four recipes. Two were the best I have ever tasted and two were inedible. I have never had to throw out bread before, but I did with this book. The good recipes are worth the price of this book. However, I can't but think there must be an easier way to make those as well. I can't even do some of things she requires, like but a cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven to throw ice in. That's where the heating coils are! Twice, I miss the place where she said to add the salt because it's in such an odd place(which explains why ONE of the recipes came out badly) I think I will return this book and keep looking for that perfect bread book.
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on May 2, 2004
My husband, Bob, who makes the best breads I've ever consumed, told me: "If I could have only one book on bread baking, The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum would be that book." This, coming from a guy who has over 500 culinary books in his home library, got my attention. "Is it really that good?" I asked. "YES! It is," was his reply." I asked him what, in his opinion, makes this book better than others. He explained that the author, an internationally known and highly respected baker, offers, in her book, all the facts necessary for a person to aquire an adequate foundation of bread baking knowledge including instructions to aid beginners in developing their skills (skills developed thorugh practice...making doughs and baking breads). This book is thorough, but not to the point it will bore or confuse a beginner or the occasional bread baker, and if a person likes good recipes, those contained in this book work.
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on February 3, 2004
I got this book for the white bread recipe. It is perfect! None better. I tried the recipe using the maximum and minimum times and preferred the minimum (8 hours). I also appreicate the extensive preparation details and recommendations.
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on March 2, 2004
I have learned so much about bread making. She includes all the little tips that a recipe usually leaves out. I use this book every week and haven't bought a loaf of bread from the store since it arrived.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 5, 2013
The book has great recipes and easy to follow instructions. Everything came out picture perfect! Try this if you are inot baking bread you will not be sorry!
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on December 9, 2012
Love the book. It is like cooking with a friend in my kitchen who knows all the stuff I don't
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on June 21, 2004
I was disappointed because the baguettes beginning on page 335 failed to rise enough and when baked they were what you might call mini-baguettes. One possible source of my problem is that I used a Canadian high-gluten bread flour instead of the specific brands of unbleached all-purpose flour insisted upon on p.338 of "The Bread Bible".
ARE THE FLOUR QUANTITIES FOR THE "DOUGH" ON PAGE 338 CORRECT?
The bread flour I used is described as "White Bread Flour" at:
[...]
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on June 30, 2014
Wow what a great book! Certainly not for someone looking for quick and simple recipes but for anyone looking to learn more advanced techniques this book is great. The rye bread recipe was amazing, but we also loved the bagels, English muffins, pumpernickel, grain bread and wheat bread.
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