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Bread Bible: Beth Hensperger's 300 Favourite Recipes [Paperback]

Beth Hensperger
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Oct 2004
The last word on every kind of bread imaginable and now available in a handsome paperback format, The Bread Bible is the one baking book no kitchen should be without. Beth Hensperger has brought together hundreds of time-tested recipes, both classic and intriguingly original. The Bread Bible covers all the traditional favourites, from savoury rye and hearty peasant breads to airy brioches and sourdough baguettes, plus specialties from around the world, including pancakes and crepes, flatbreads, pizza dough, dinner rolls, dessert breads, breakfast buns, and much more. Each recipe is guaranteed to lure you into the kitchen in anticipation of that first delicious bite of warm, homemade bread. With an irresistible selection of recipes, your only dilemma will be deciding where to begin. Will it be a free-form, crusty Italian Olive Oil Bread or a Homestyle White Bread with Poppy Seeds? Are you in the mood to whip up a batch of exquisite Lemon Cream Scones, or are you longing to savor a tantalizing Sweet Vanilla Challah? There is something for everyone and every occasion in The Bread Bible. Throughout, The Bread Bible offers foolproof, step-by-step, easy-to-follow recipes, including instructions on technique and explanations of bakers' terms. Busy cooks will also appreciate the excellent selection of bread machine favourites that make it all so easy. With this essential cookbook, you'll soon fill your kitchen with the wonderful aromas of baking.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; New edition edition (29 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811845265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811845267
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 20.3 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 922,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The Bread Bible Reviews From: Publishers Weekly Booklist Columbus Dispatch Sacramento Bee From: Publishers WeeklyLongtime San Francisco resident, cooking instructor and author ("Bread for All Seasons") Hensperger offers a compelling and innovative collection of bread recipes for contemporary home bakers. With a significant nod to classic yeast breads, her extensive repertoire includes basic white, whole-wheat and rye loaves, sour starters, savory main-dish breads, even dessert and quick breads--just to name a few. Staunchly adhering to her philosophy that "breadmaking is nothing more than a series of sequential steps executed in a predictable order," she presents step-by-step instructions with great finesse and clarity. Where applicable, Hensperger provides useful addendum notes, divulges invaluable "Baker's Wisdom" baking tips and offers creative recipe variations (e.g., Cornmeal Brioche and Basic Pizza Dough). Taking into account busy schedules and state-of-the-art baking equipment, Hensperger devotes two end chapters to breads made with food processors and bread machines. For those who feel daunted by the prospect of baking bread, Hensperger encourages and inspires with a "breadmaking is for everyone" ethos and easy, vibrant prose infused with obvious passion for her craft. From: BooklistThe mark of any good cookbook is its "clippability." How overwhelming is your desire to photocopy or bookmark several recipes? Hensberger's latest cookbook deserves a positive answer to this question. Just waiting for adept (or even amateur) baking fingers are 300 recipes, each meticulously crafted to ensure success. In fact, the entire book is intended to soothe anxious minds. A slew of "baker's wisdom" tips explain techniques: re-heating homemade tortillas, for example, requires only 30 seconds of microwave time. Lead-ins to each recipe also instruct on specifics; in one, the best Yorkshire pudding demands room temperature ingredient --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Beth Hensperger is an acclaimed San Francisco Bay Area-based food writer, cooking instructor, and bread maven who has written articles for Cooking Light, Shape, Bon Appetit, and Family Circle magazines among others and pens a weekly baking column in the San Jose Mercury News.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The simple pleasure of savoring homemade fresh bread reminds us of how wonderful the basic integrity of premium-quality ingredients is. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent all round bread book 2 Mar 2001
By A Customer
I bought this book last year and have great fun trying out the recipes. The hamburger roll recipe makes rolls that are perfect. The Danish pastries, whilst time consuming, are worth every minute. They vanished very quickly! Her recipes seem a bit strange, at first, if you are not used to using American measures, but they are easily converted. A good book for the novice and experienced baker.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good recipes but a bit complicated 21 Dec 2011
By Haznut
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having recently discovered the wonderful world of bread and baking I bought this book to satisfy my kneading urges!! The recipes are fairly okay although they are a little bit hard to follow. This is mainly due to the fact that the recipes include American measurements such as cups, sticks etc. Tablespoons of butter are also mentioned which I admit I find pretty strange! I think I expected this book to be more basic bread recipe based but there are quite a lot of exotic bread recipes included and also lots of recipes for the bread maker machine which hold no interest for me whatsoever! I was a little disappointed overall with this book, unfortunately, and think the book title may be a little misleading:-(
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  94 reviews
124 of 131 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bible for the Home, but not for the Seminary 16 Jan 2004
By B. Marold - Published on
This is the first of two books by the same name `The Bread Bible' written by Beth Hensperger and published by Chronicle Books in 1999. The second book with this title, written by Rose Levy Beranbaum and published by W. W. Norton & Company in 2003 I have reviewed earlier, before I discovered this title.
This occurrence is actually a rare good fortune, as it gives us a chance to compare two essays of exactly the same subject and pick that effort which does the better job on the subject. Both authors appear to have ample credentials for the chuzpah required to write a book with such a pretentious title. Ms. Hensperger has written five other books on bread baking and Ms. Beranbaum has written three other large, well received books on baking, two of which are also `bibles' on their topics.
Ms. Hensperger gives us 473 pages of text and 21 pages of index at $32.50 while Ms. Beranbaum gives us 608 pages of text and 21 pages of index for $35.00. Ms. Hensperger gives us 25 very useful introductory pages on equipment, flour, and general techniques. Ms. Beranbaum gives us 62 pages of what I considered to be a model of culinary writing on the ten essential steps to making bread. This is the first sign that Ms. Beranbaum is aiming at a much more sophisticated audience than Ms. Hensperger.
Ms. Hensperger gives us no color photographs or diagrams illustrating techniques. The few line drawings seem to be primarily for decoration. Ms. Beranbaum's book provides four sections of full color photographs of the baked products essayed in the book. She also provides many pages of expertly done line drawings illustrating baking techniques such as the `business letter fold', layering foccacia with herbs, and making sticky buns. Other line drawings give very good pictures of baking equipment.
Ms. Hensperger's Table of Contents with the name of each and every recipe spelled out is much more to my taste than Ms. Beranbaum's simple chapter headings. Fitting Ms. Hensperger's home baker orientation, she has two whole chapters devoted to using a food processor and a bread machine for bread recipes. Ms. Beranbaum discusses bread machines, finds useful things they can do, but ultimately keeps them on the sidelines due to their small capacity and the tendency of most to heat the dough, causing a too fast rise in the dough for optimum taste. Rose is certainly not a Luddite, as she makes extensive use of the KitchenAid stand mixer and its big brother the Hobart stand mixer. I prefer to not use bread machines. If you are comfortable with them, Ms. Hensperger may have more to offer you.
It is no surprise that both authors deal with brioche. Ms. Hensperger includes four recipes for brioche and three variations. All are embedded in a chapter on egg breads including Challah. Ms. Beranbaum devotes a whole chapter of 45 pages to brioche, including Challah, cinnamon buns, panettone, and a provocatively named `stud muffin'. Lots of variations on each recipe are given. As with all recipes, Ms. Beranbaum's approach is much more detailed and precise. The most obvious sign is that all of Rose's recipes give ingredients in both volume and weight in imperial and metric units. This feature alone would swing my choice in favor of Ms. Beranbaum's work. Another example of Rose's precision is that she specifies the high gluten brands of all-purpose flour rather than simple `all-purpose flour. I am constantly amazed at the variety in recipes for brioche. Like every other authoritative recipe, both recommend an overnight rise, but the two recipes start the sponge in much different ways, with Ms. Beranbaum using a much more finicky approach, being very careful to avoid exposing the yeast in the sponge to salt than Ms. Hensperger. When separating the dough to be put into molds, Ms. Hensperger is unconcerned about differences in size. Ms. Beranbaum is not compulsive about same sizes, but does recommend a scale to achieve uniform amounts of dough in the molds.
Neither author oversimplifies her procedures, but Rose Beranbaum consistently gives a much more professional instruction and a deeper understanding about what is going on along the way. Both have an ample amount of passion and love for what they are doing. If you are a home baker and can find Ms. Hensperger's book at a good discount, you will not go wrong. If you are a baking hobbyist or even aspiring to being a professional baker, then Ms. Beranbaum's book is the one you want. Both are excellent. Ms. Beranbaum and her publishers seem to have invested much more energy, money, and precision into their volume.
Judging from other reviewers comments, some errors have been detected in this book. The same is true of Ms Beranbaum's book. This issue is a wash and I have stopped holding a small number of minor errors like that against cookbooks.
49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful bread baking experience 9 Sep 2007
By Erin O. Clayton - Published on
This book is just wonderful! I have been baking bread by hand for several years now and have thouroughly enjoyed it, but this book has helped me to stretch beyond the recipe and try some new things. In the past 2 weeks, I think I have made 7 recipes out of this book. I just can't seem to stop. The Bulgur Oatmeal bread, I think, is the best bread I have ever tasted. Absolutely AMAZING! I also made the Sesame Burger Buns, Whole Wheat Long Rolls, Vienna Bread, Pain Campagne and Farm-Style White Bread with Cardamom. I have probably 200 cookbooks and this is my new favorite! A must read!
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, versatile book 13 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
I LOVE this book. It has lots and lots of recipes for whole grain breads, white breads, rustic breads, quick breads, flat breads, etc, etc. However, what sets her book apart from other "comprehensive" books is the quality of the recipes. I am constantly picking up my copy of the Bread Bible to try something new, and I haven't been disappointed in the results yet. She also gives great pointers on ingredients and methods, and tells you how to convert "by hand" recipes to recipes for either the food processor or bread machine. The book doesn't have photographs in it like some, but frankly, if they had to make room for photos there wouldn't be so many great recipes, so that suits me just fine. It's beautifully designed and easy to read. It's a pleasure to own this book.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every recipe has come out great! 14 Oct 2007
By Elizabeth Jones - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book. It is by far, the easiest, most delicious bread recipe book I have owned. Without getting overly technical it gives recipes and tips for making wonderful home cooked bread. I don't have a bread maker, but there are plenty of those recipes as well. I made the mountain white bread first and it made wonderful sandwiches for lunch. Next, I made banana bread that was so moist and delicious I've already had requests for more.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars recipe errors or just sloppy? 31 Jan 2011
By Happy Girl - Published on
The book seems to have some errors. I am an experienced bread baker. After having made a black bread by the author (which I got off the internet - and found it delicious) I bought the book. At first I attributed the poor quality doughs to the weather, improperly measuring flour, me in general, but then I used another book for a couple bread recipes and LO the bread turned out well. So back to the drawing board with this book. I weighed the flour this time. Still problems. Too sticky (sourdough). Then I decided to make the Hungarian Nut Rolls and discovered an actual mistake. Apparently you only have to proof the yeast and do not have to actually put it into the bread. I have read it and reread it several times. The yeast addition to the bread is MIA. I did not notice it when I preread (three times) the recipe before embarking. I think my mind assumed it. It almost did as I was making the bread. It was only my wariness of the recipes that forced me to be ever so exacting with her recipes that lead to the discovery.

I hate writing bad reviews especially for cookbooks because I know how hard it must be to edit them, but you cannot publish something called a "bible" of something and have so many errors. I can only imagine a person just starting to bake dealing with these problems. It is untenable. I am not saying all the recipes are faulty (they are not and some are quite good), but this many problems (IMO) are just unacceptable. There are better bread books out there. My go to seems to be Beatrice Ojakangas.
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