6 cookbooks you need for baking the best bread
These books make dreamy loaves easy.
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I’ve always thought that bread baking required more time and patience in the kitchen than I was capable of. This pandemic has taught me that the truth to this thought process is that really good bread requires time, patience, and practice, but just about anyone can produce a loaf or two with the right ingredients and proper tools.
According to King Arthur Baking Company’s year in review, sourdough recipes saw a 460% increase, the Baker’s Hotline experienced a 43% increase in customer calls, and in the first nine months of 2020 King Arthur sold more than 111 million pounds of flour. Cleary, this was the year of bread.
We’ve rounded up six of the best cookbooks for baking all kinds of bread, from sourdough to sweet loaves, to keep the carb party going strong in the new year.
For sourdough bread
My sourdough starter is somehow still going strong despite my neglect. Back in March when I was baking my first sourdough bread, these are a few of the cookbooks I turned to.
1. Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More by Sarah Owens
Sarah Owens is basically the modern-day queen of sourdough. She cares deeply about the origins and history behind every grain she works with, so consider this cookbook a bread baking 101 master class.
2. Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery by Apollonia Poilâne
This cookbook is for intermediate bread bakers, or those looking for a bit of a challenge. The original Poilâne bakery opened in 1932 in Paris, and continues to be the flagship location for this prolific patisserie.
For sweet bread
Sweet breads are super festive, and relatively easy as far as bread baking goes. These cookbooks include recipes for everything from banana bread to cinnamon rolls.
3. A Good Bake: The Art and Science of Making Perfect Pastries, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Breads at Home by Melissa Weller
Melissa Weller explains the science behind baking the sweet, doughy things we love most. This cookbook is great for kitchen nerds looking to dive a bit deeper into the world of baked goods.
4. The Good Book of Southern Baking: A Revival of Biscuits, Cakes, and Cornbread by Kelly Fields
The chef-owner of New Orleans-based restaurant Willa Jean, Kelly Fields made her cookbook debut with this beauty, a celebration of Southern baking. Inside you’ll find recipes for Fields’ Mom’s Zucchini Bread along with items she serves at her restaurant, like the Willa Jean Cornbread.
For international bread
Since international travel is off the table for now, why not bake some international bread instead? These cookbooks will act as your tour guide to faraway bakeries, boulangeries, and more.
5. The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen
Co-authors Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen have divided their cookbook by bread type: unleavened flatbreads, leavened flatbreads, tortillas, challah, and beyond. If you’ve been curious about making any of these international staples at home, then this is the cookbook for you.
6. In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen
Somali-born, Brooklyn-based Hawa Hassan shares recipes from eight Eastern African countries, including treats like Date Bread paired with Eritrean Coffee. Hassan’s recipes will transport you to Mozambique, Madagascar, and many other African nations you probably haven’t explored.
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