Nothing stirs the appetite more than the smell of freshly baked bread. And for some of us, the whiff of it alone will bring about an intense nostalgic memory of childhood kitchens and sunny mornings.
If only it were easy to do. But making a simple loaf of warm crusty bread can be challenging enough for kitchen newbies. From measuring exact quantities of ingredients to knowing the right kneading technique, it’s both an art and a science.
Which is why it’s a good thing that there are lots of bread cookbooks in the market today. From making the simplest bread in a bread machine to creating artisanal loaves in a dutch oven, these cookbooks will show you how it’s done right in order to get the best tasting fresh loaves.
But how to separate the wheat from the chaff?
A standout bread cookbook should have these three elements: mastery, engagement, and usefulness.
It should show a level of mastery in breadcraft as well as accuracy in the formulas and recipes. Because baking is a science, the quantities of ingredients should accurate and the techniques must be precise. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lousy loaf of bread.
It should also engage your senses. More than just showing the master formulas, breadcraft is also a piece of culinary culture that comes with its own stories and traditions. The most interesting cookbooks show you the history behind each type of bread through anecdotes or header notes.
Finally, it should be useful and practical for the home cook. The recipes should be clear and detailed, with photos that show the process step-by-step. It should also use ingredients that are easy to source and the recipes should not require expensive kitchen equipment.
Most important of all, the recipes should be reliable and fool-proof. Because nothing can disappoint more than slaving for a day over prep work only to have a bad loaf of bread the next morning.
In this list, I’ve gathered ten of the best ones in Amazon. These bread cookbooks will show you that making home-made bread can be easy and pleasurable, once you know how to do it right.
Table of Contents
- Best Bread Cookbooks
- 1. The Bread Baker's Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread [A Baking Book] Hardcover – Illustrated
- 2. Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method Hardcover – Illustrated
- 3. The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World Hardcover – Illustrated
- 4. The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking Hardcover
- 5. Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza [A Cookbook] Hardcover –Illustrated
- 6. Bread Illustrated: A Step-By-Step Guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results At Home Paperback -Illustrated
- 7. Paul Hollywood's Bread Hardcover
- 8. The No-Fuss Bread Machine Cookbook: Hands-Off Recipes for Perfect Homemade Bread Paperback
- 9. Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading Paperback
- 10. Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
- Top Pick
Best Bread Cookbooks
- The Bread Baker's Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread [A Baking Book] Hardcover – Illustrated
- Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method Hardcover – Illustrated,
- The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World Hardcover – Illustrated
- The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking Hardcover
- Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza [A Cookbook] Hardcover –Illustrated
- Bread Illustrated: A Step-By-Step Guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results At Home Paperback -Illustrated
- Paul Hollywood's Bread Hardcover
- The No-Fuss Bread Machine Cookbook: Hands-Off Recipes for Perfect Homemade Bread Paperback
- Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading Paperback
- Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
1. The Bread Baker's Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread [A Baking Book] Hardcover – Illustrated
This is an updated edition that now features metrics and temperature conversion charts and updates recipes to include comprehensive baker’s percentages.
This book will show you how to use the classic 12 stages of building white bread using clear instructions and more than 100 step-by-step photographs There are 50 master recipes here for classic breads like rustic ciabatta, hearty pain de champagne, and old-school New York bagels.
All the recipes require the use of a pre-ferment that must be made a day before making the bread. There are no quick fixes here; this cookbook uses older, slower methods in making bread. In general, the formulas require a day of making, shaping and baking the bread.
Readers liked the comprehensive information in this book; one called it a master class approach to breadmaking. Another liked how the book discusses what aspects of professional baking can be adapted to a small-batch baking in a home kitchen. This is a cookbook for serious practitioners of breadcraft.
2. Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method Hardcover – Illustrated
This cookbook highlights Lahey’s “no-knead” method of making bread. It’s basically a process that relies on slow-rise fermentation of the dough, which is then baked in a Dutch oven as a cloche. There are 68 master recipes here, including its numerous variations.
The recipes are written very clearly with step-by-step instructions that are accompanied by lots of detailed color photos. Measurements are given in weight and volume. There’s also a section that features recipes for your leftover bread.
Readers liked the reliability of Lahey's master no-knead recipe since it always produces a chewy round thickly crusted bread loaf. One raved about the section on sandwiches because the recipes are accessible and fun to do. Another recommended this book for newbies who don’t want to go through the hassle of kneading dough.
3. The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World Hardcover – Illustrated
The Hot Bread Kitchen is a bakery in New York that trains immigrant women to be bakers so that they can have a livelihood. This book features the different bread recipes from their homelands. Samples of the recipes include unleavened and yeasted flatbreads, masa (cornmeal), yeasted breads, and Indian naan.
Recipes are easy to follow but since this is a book on ethnic breads, newbie bakers might be daunted by some of the unfamiliar techniques. Still, there is enough variety here to keep one interested and the recipes are not too challenging for someone with minimal experience with making bread.
Readers like the book because it is user-friendly. One appreciated how the recipes and relevant tips are organized for easy reference. Another also liked reading the cultural stories that accompany the recipes. If you’re looking for a reliable multicultural bread cookbook, this is a good read.
4. The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking Hardcover
This is an updated edition that now includes a chapter on gluten-free breads and expanded sections on Tips and Techniques and Ingredients. There are also more than 30 additional recipes and 40 new color photos.
Using the no-knead approach, this book will teach you how to make a big batch of wet dough so that you can store it in your fridge for days. So whenever you need bread, you can just pull off the dough from the big batch in five minutes and bake it in your oven.
The recipe instructions are easy to understand and come with measurements in U.S. units, metric, and also by weight. There’s also a FAQ section to make the book easier for newbie cooks.
Readers like this cookbook because the recipes have a very wide margin for error. One said that the process is very hands-off and hard to botch it up. Another liked how easy it is to modify the recipes according to your preferred taste.
5. Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza [A Cookbook] Hardcover –Illustrated
This cookbook teaches you how to make fermented breads from commercial yeast, in particular, the slack-dough (high hydration) country rustic boule and Neapolitan-style pizza. It also features a tutorial on baker’s percentages and a chapter on demystifying the levain-making process.
Recipes are written with step-by-step directions and are accompanied by gorgeous food photography. Some of them may be fussier than most but there’s enough variety to satisfy even the newbie bakers.
Readers enjoyed the book’s focus on just using four ingredients and using variations in time and temperature to make the best artisanal breads. One liked that the book equips you with the knowledge and tools for creating your personal percentages. This is a good reference cookbook for anyone willing to put in some work in making delicious rustic breads regularly.
6. Bread Illustrated: A Step-By-Step Guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results At Home Paperback -Illustrated
In typical American’s Test Kitchen (ATK) mode, this book shows how the art and science of bread baking can be made accessible and easy by anyone able to read and follow a cookbook. There are more than 100 kitchen-tested recipes here for making basic breads, rolls, flatbreads as well as ethnic breads like Lahmacun, Panettone, and Fig and Fennel Bread.
It’s the most user-friendly of all the books in this list. Recipes are laid out from easiest to most advanced and are accompanied by color photos of the food and the techniques. There are also useful tips and tricks and recipe-specific sidebars that anyone will find helpful. Measurements are both the standard cup, half cup, but it also has weights based on the American scale.
Readers liked that the recipes have been tested in kitchen. One liked the troubleshooting guide at the end of most of the recipes in the book. Another liked the thoroughness of the directions.
7. Paul Hollywood's Bread Hardcover
This cookbook will not only show you how to make a variety of breads but also features spin-off recipes that show you how to make a meal out of the bread you bake.
Great for beginners, this book features step-by-step instructions that are accompanied by “How-To” illustrations. There’s also a section on the essential equipment and advice about flour. Measurements are in metric since this book was first published in the UK.
Readers liked that the recipes are straightforward and easy to do. One said that it was successful in bringing home key techniques for ensuring a successful bake. Another liked the conversational tone of the book.
8. The No-Fuss Bread Machine Cookbook: Hands-Off Recipes for Perfect Homemade Bread Paperback
This is a cookbook that features more than 150 bread recipes for a bread machine. It has options for 1-pound, 1.5-pound, or 2-pound bread machines and includes troubleshooting tips for solving common problems like sunken tops and gummy texture.
The recipes are well organized and easy to follow. Each bread comes with three to four recipes which include suggestions on how to make it work and substitutions for ingredients. And they all use ingredients that are easily available.
Readers liked that the book provides bread recipes in three sizes. One found the section which discussed the cycles and settings of popular bread machine models very useful. If you’re looking to make use of your bread machine very well, this book would be an essential companion.
9. Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading Paperback
Written for the beginner, this cookbook provides a selection of 65 sourdough recipes that are easy to make. Examples of the recipes include Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Bread, Golden Sesame Semolina Bread, Blistered Asiago Rolls with Sweet Apples and Rosemary, and No-Knead Tomato Basil Focaccia.
The recipes are broken down into primary steps, with recommendations on the timeline needed to accomplish it. For example, she suggests mixing the dough in the evening, letting it rest, and then giving it a few folds before leaving it to rest overnight until 10 am the next day when it's ready to be baked. Each recipe also comes with a color photo of the finished product for easy reference.
Readers found the recipes to be reliable and trustworthy. One noted that the tone of the book is engaging and chatty and yet full of practical advice as well tips and tricks of the trade.
10. Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
This book is a follow-up to the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The authors adapted their stored-dough method to yeasted and unleavened breads made without wheat, barley, or rye. The result is 90 gluten-free bread recipes that use the no-kneading method.
Some of these recipes are no-gluten versions of the recipes featured in their previous book on artisanal breads but there are also new recipes here like Caraway “Rye” Bread, Challah, and even dessert breads like Brioche, Doughnuts, and Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls. There are 100 black-and-white instructional photos and 40 gorgeous color images that accompany these recipes.
Readers liked that the book allows one to go beyond the recipes, based on the knowledge presented in this book. One recommended for anyone who wants to get comfortable with gluten-free baking.
THE BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE, 15TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION: MASTERING THE ART OF EXTRAORDINARY BREAD [A BAKING BOOK] HARDCOVER – ILLUSTRATED by Peter Reinhart
If you’re looking for a bible on breadmaking, this is the book to have. It will show you how to make bread the right way, as if you were in a master class.
The first 100 pages all deal with the science and math of breadmaking and the recipes are thoroughly written and are illustrated with instructive photos. There are no shortcuts in this book; you need to dive into this wholeheartedly. There is so much useful information here that you can’t skip a chapter because you will miss something important.
One reviewer noted that this book does a great job of showing how a step would be done in a professional bakery and how it can be translated into a home kitchen. The cookbook is realistic about what can be done with a home oven but is also clear about what effects on the texture and flavor of the bread the changes will have. Overall, a great book to have if one is serious and passionate about making bread.