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The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Making Classic Breads with the Cutting-edge Techniques of a Bread Master Hardcover – 18 Sep 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (18 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580082688
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580082686
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 2.7 x 26.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
After messing around with other less-than-perfect books on Bread Making (particularly the very disappointing "Rustic European Breads: From Your Bread Machine" by Eckhardt & Butts) I took the chance and ordered this book.
Like the other reviewer, I can't stress enough how great the author's simple and consistent approach to bread making is, and especially the sections on starters, making, keeping and feeding them!
I'm also often a little suspicious of American books, citing ingredients, measurements and methods which just don't seem to work, but having tried at least 50% of the recipes in this book, I'm yet to experience a failure!
This book has truly allowed me to indulge a passion which has been lurking in me for many many years. I've now been able to embody it in the creation of some truly wonderful bread!
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Format: Hardcover
The author provides a clear discussion of how to make excellent bread. He gave step-by-step instructions, he also explain the chemistry and mechanics of breadmaking.
Most of the other baking books describe the starter making and keeping processes as an odd combination of science and sorcery. This author makes it easy to understand.
The most valuable part is the discussion of starters. Making really good bread generally requires use of some form of prefermenation or starter. Beside, the section on shaping dough is photographed, clear and easy understand.
The book is well written and very readable. The author does a great job of leading you through the steps of making great bread.
If you want to experiment with artisan bread baking and various starters, I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
In common with other reviewers of this book I mostly agree on its thorough and inclusive content. It is comprehensive, in what it sets out to do and anyone wishing to know more about the 'hows and whys' of bread making would gain insight from reading this book. The author clearly has a vast working knowledge of his subject and obviously enjoys trying to communicate this to his audience. Be aware however this an American book with an American audience in mind, in more ways than measurement. I will confine my comments to four areas you may wish to consider before buying:
a) If you don't already have them you will need to buy a set of American measuring cups as the ounce measurements are, bizarrely, converted as decimals ( 0.39 ounces of Yeast for example or 2.67 ounces of Honey), rendering precision a little redundant. Although one reviewer clearly does not have a problem with doing their own conversion from cups and ounces to grams - suggesting that it is so easy to do - it does rather beg the question, if it is so easy why has it not been given here?
b) The lay-out is at times a little confusing eg the Pre-ferments (Biga ,Poolish , Balm etc) are not all in one place. This requires a certain amount of going backwards and forwards through the book. The referencing is however excellent so this doesn't pose too much of a problem.
c) The recipes are almost exclusively from French, American and Italian recipes. Those wishing for a comprehensive review of world breads would do better looking elsewhere. Indian breads are completely absent as are, with one exception from each, Scandinavian, English and German breads.
Finally, d) The writing style of the Author is at times little bloated, to say the least.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although the author has a considerable reputation and the book is very good in places I found it less comprehensive than I had hoped.
I have tried 10 of the recipes since owning the book (just a couple of weeks). I have baked about 8 loaves a week for the past decade so I have a moderate amount of experience in home bread making.

I have three issues:

The recipes appear to be authentic and the explanations are clear but that does not mean you are going to like all the different kinds of bread. I found the bagels (extremely time consuming to make) a real dissapointment. They looked great but tasted nothing like any bagel I had ever tasted. To be fair the author does say this is a traditional water bagel and not a commercial bagel. But in a book that champions tasty bread I found this unimpressive. The explanations of why different ingredients effect the outcome and flavour are very good.

The author is very keen on long fermentation to improve the flavour and the are lots of two stage two day recipes. Dissapointingly I have not yet been able to detect the flavour enhancement that deserves all this extra preparation (nor has my family). I would have been happier if the book had contained more angles on bread making. I feel that the author has collected lots of lengthy recipes because he believes this is the best way to make bread. I had expected a greater variety of approaches.

And last but not least. Why only imperial measurements? What happened to metric?

This is not a book for a beginner. If you want to purchase a single book on bread making I would not recommend it. As part of a library it is a very good reference book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is quite informative and interesting but suffers from the drawback of having been written for a US audience only. Most of the cultural references will simply be meaningless to a british or european audience but that isnt really a problem. The problem is the units.
Being British I am just about comfortable weighing things out in pounds and ounces, though my scales being non-antique have kilograms as the larger markings. To the authors credit the recipes are weight based but those who use the volume conversions in the book may find themselves scuppered by the difference in volume between a US "cup" and those found in other countries that use the term. The biggest gripe however is that all temperatures are in Fahrenheit. I have never in my 29 years seen an oven that is calibrated in Fahrenheit outside the US. It is possible in the UK to purchase oven thermometers graded in Fahrenheit on the secondary scale but they are harder to find and the secondary scale is much harder to read without taking the thermomenter out of the oven.
It seems to me that if a publisher has any intention of releasing a book outside the US then they ought to take the trouble of changing the parochial units to ones in common use.
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