Book Review: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart

The Bread Baker's Apprentice, 15th Anniversary EditionThose who know me well know that I love grains. A lot. Rice, pasta, and bread are staples in the Durough home, and we don’t necessarily need anything else with them. So, I actually got a little giddy when I saw Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread was being published (my wife can affirm), and I’m pretty sure I immediately said a quick prayer that there would still be at least one review copy remaining by the time I was able to get it. Sure enough, two were available and I snagged it as fast as I could.

Honestly, given that Reinhart has published several bread books since this one was first published in 2001, I assumed this 15th anniversary edition would be much more than a virtual reprint. I don’t much care for Reinhart’s writing and storytelling, but am appreciative of the details and information specific to bread making. This is certainly beautiful with both helpful and appetizing full-color photographs, but I did expect more in the way of formulas (the term used in lieu of “recipes” because they are quite literally treated as scalable formulas for both home and large scale bakery use). Perhaps the author doesn’t consider them proper breads, but an entire category is missing that, I believe, should be included in any thorough bread book: unleavened. Again, with a book as great and popular as it is, I assumed there would be more additions to this edition. I’d also like to have seen an appendix that included all the helpful charts and such found throughout the book, which are otherwise not quickly found.

Just two years after The Bread Baker’s Apprentice was first published, Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible came out in 2003. That massive tome is a must-have bread book, useful for both homes and bakeries. It doesn’t have glossy photos, but the sketches are just as good and helpful. Since Reinhart’s update isn’t much of an update, I’d still go with The Bread Bible. That does not, however, mean the book at hand is undeserving of praise—it is, but at twice the price I’m not sure it’s worth it.

 

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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