This spring, social media feeds filled with photos of sourdough starters and crusty home-baked breads. For many, extra time at home meant being extra adventurous in the kitchen. There’s something healing about working your hands through a ball of dough. It can be fun for the whole family to watch yeasted loaves rise and double in size. And a slice of warm bread, slathered in butter makes any endeavor worth all the work.
Whether you’re wanting to try your hand at baking bread, hoping to master the craft of sourdough starters, or looking to dress up pre-made slices, these books will be your guide.
For simple, no-frills advice on baking bread choose Bread on the Table by David Norman. Even if you’re too intimidated to try the recipes, you’ll be inspired by the gorgeous photography featuring professionally made loaves. Bread on the Table includes personal stories at the start of every section and recipes arranged by region. Learn to bake French pain de mie, Scandinavian sourdough, German loaves rich with rye, Italian ciabatta and panini, and birotes from Central Texas. You’ll also find recipes for full meals at the end of each region. Best photography.
Ten Speed Press
Wanting to show off your sourdough skills on social media? Check out Super Sourdough: The Foolproof Guide to Making World-Class Bread at Home by James Morton. This guide reads like a book and includes plenty of troubleshooting advice. You’ll find traditional recipes for white and dark breads, bars, buns, and pizza as well as lesser-known standouts like the ancient einkorn batard. Best for sourdough loaves.
You’ll learn more about wheat than you ever imagined in Flour Lab: An At Home Guide to Baking with Freshly Milled Grains by Adam Leonti and Katie Parla. Flour Lab features a detailed introduction (recipes start on page 71) that includes an overview of useful tools and equipment. Glossy, magazine-style photos complement every page. You’ll find recipes for all your favorite breads including yeasted loaves, puff pastries, crumbs, cakes, and pizza dough. You’ll also learn how to make homemade pasta including tagliatelle, pappardelle, and gnocchi. This book is by far the most informative on our list. Most informative.
You’ll find recipes for every bread imaginable in Crusts: The Ultimate Baker’s Book by Barbara Elisi Caracciolo. This thick compendium offers nearly 1000 pages of recipes, instructions, and full-color photos. Baguettes, pizza, scones, sourdough, bagels, if you can think of it, it’s probably in here. Most comprehensive.
Cider Mill Press
Want to turn your perfectly formed dough into a meal? Craft Pizza by Maxine Clark is a little book with a lot to offer. You’ll find recipes for basic, sourdough, and Sicilian crusts followed by sauce and topping combinations to please any palate. You’ll also learn how to make calzones, dough balls, focaccia, and small bites. Best pick for pizza and party lovers.
Ryland Peters & Small
Those with dietary restrictions need not feel left out. Gluten Free Baking at Home: 102 Foolproof Recipes for Delicious Breads, Cakes, Cookies, and More by Jeffrey Larsen has all you need to make your table allergy friendly. The introduction offers lots of practical information on choosing gluten free flours, making substitutes for dairy allergies, and using tools of the trade. You’ll find recipes for all the traditional loaves including yeasted breads, sourdough, pumpernickel, and brioche. There are plenty of sweet treats like banana bread, muffins, scones, pies, tarts, crisps, and cobblers. And since this book is all about baking, you’ll also find recipes for cookies, cakes, bars, frostings, and glazes. Best allergy friendly.
Ten Speed Press
Whether you’re looking for a way to use your day-old bread or just wanting to whip up something sweet French Toast by Donna Kelly is a great book to have on hand. Small and square like a piece of perfectly fried French toast, this book includes plenty of variations on an old favorite and photos to accompany each recipe. Try chai latte, orange sunshine, or surprise inside French toast. Serve up some holiday-themed sliders like New Year’s Day shrimp bites, and red, white, and blueberry stacks. Have breakfast for dinner with casseroles and entrees like the French onion baked Monte Cristo. Most fun for non-bakers.