The 9 Best Bread Cookbooks of 2020

For the pleasure of eating a well-made bread

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: The Bread Baker's Apprentice at Amazon

“All the recipes are accompanied by a commentary on the side that further guides the baker."

Best for Beginners: Flour Water Salt Yeast at Amazon

“A comprehensive collection of bread and pizza recipes that keep you thoroughly engaged."

Best for Bread Machines: The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook at Amazon

"The recipes work for a wide range of machines with tips from the author on adjustments and more."

Best Sourdough: Tartine Bread at Amazon

"The illustrated recipe for the basic country bread makes it very easy to follow the process."

Best Whole Grain: Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads at Amazon

"The book has 55 small-batch formulas and is interspersed with FAQs that help answer questions about the process."

Best for Experienced Bakers: Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes at Amazon

"There are diagrams and instructions for shaping loaves, scoring, braiding, and other techniques."

Best Gluten-Free: Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day at Amazon

"The book lists out equipment you will need, types of gluten-free flours you can use, and how to make your own master flour recipe."

Best Gluten-Free Bread Machine: The Gluten-Free Bread Machine Cookbook at Amazon

"Whether you want to make hot dog buns or a sandwich bread or want to have a pizza night, this has you covered with 175 recipes."

Best Flatbreads: Flatbreads & Flavors at Amazon

"If you have been looking to venture out and travel around the world through bread baking, this is a book that will take you places."

There are very few aromas that stir the appetite like the smell of freshly baked bread. Fewer still invoke such intense craving and memories. The whiff of fresh bread does it all. You may just be starting your baking journey, or you may have mastered the basics and are looking for new challenges. Or maybe you follow a gluten-free diet and you've been missing that perfect baguette? Regardless of where you are on your journey, this list of bread-baking cookbooks will help you enjoy the bread-baking process.

Below, find our favorite bread cookbooks.

Best Overall: The Bread Baker's Apprentice

The Bread Baker's Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition, Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread
Courtesy of Amazon

Peter Reinhart is a distinguished teacher who is passionate about bread baking. He has written ten books dedicated to the topic and has decades of experience teaching students. This book is divided into sections focused on techniques and recipes. The technique section conversationally takes you on a journey through the science of bread baking, explaining different kinds of yeasts, the importance of delayed fermentation, and the 12 stages of bread.

The recipe section not only has the quintessential French loaves but also varieties of sourdough as well as challah, sticky buns, cornbread, rye, focaccia, and Reinhart's famous pain à l’ancienne. All the recipes are accompanied by commentary that further guides bakers.

Best for Beginners: Flour Water Salt Yeast

Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza
 Courtesy of Amazon

Flour Water Salt Yeast features a comprehensive collection of bread and pizza recipes that keeps you thoroughly engaged. The book is written with the home baker in mind, and the recipe instructions are precise and clear. Whether you want to make a boule or a Neapolitan-style pizza, the step-by-step instructions make it easy to follow.

Ken Forkish helps beginner bakers understand baker’s percentages and creates a workable timeline for making bread. Throughout the book, he explains the reasoning behind tips like using warm water, folding dough, and fermenting in the refrigerator. This is not simply a recipe book; it's a thorough introduction to bread baking, helping anyone make exceptional loaves at home.

Best for Bread Machines: The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook: A Master Baker's 300 Favorite Recipes for Perfect-Every-Time Bread-From Every Kind of Machine
Courtesy of Amazon 

A bread machine is an incredibly versatile tool in your kitchen. Just load the machine with ingredients, set it, and walk away. A few hours later, you'll have a warm, freshly baked loaf of bread.

With 300 recipes for making great breads ranging from white breads, whole-grain, quick breads, sourdough, buns, and rolls, The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook will keep you and your bread machine busy. The recipes work for a wide range of bread machines with tips from the author on individual machines, high-altitude adjustment, information about various flours, and tips on troubleshooting in case a bread doesn’t turn out the way it was supposed to.

Best Sourdough: Tartine Bread

Tartine Bread
 Courtesy of Amazon

The spirit and purpose of sourdough bread-making come through in all pages of Tartine Bread. Outlined with Chad Robertson’s personal experiences baking sourdough, the book has a reassuring and encouraging tone that's complemented with artistic and useful photos. The illustrated recipe for the basic country bread makes it very easy to follow the process.

If you want to learn or perfect your sourdough bread, this is the book for you. Each step of the sourdough-making process is told in great detail. The book excels at explaining the alternative way of managing fermentation and how any variance in it greatly affects the outcome. This a great resource to create a tangy, open-crumb, blistered-crust loaf of bread in your home kitchen.

Best Whole-Grain Breads: Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads

Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor
 Courtesy of Amazon

We all know that whole grains are nutrient-dense foods, and if baking breads with them is your goal, then Whole Grain Breads is the book to get you started on the journey. The book has 55 small-batch formulas and is interspersed with FAQs that help answer questions about the recipe and the process.

With choices ranging from the foundational whole wheat sandwich loaf, rye sandwich meteil, whole wheat challah, and focaccia to flatbreads like pita and roti, the book covers a wide range of breads. For whole-grain lovers, this is a book that keeps you interested in the science of baking with delicious results.

Best for Experienced Bakers: Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes

Bread - A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
 Courtesy of Amazon

Jeffrey Hamelman is a certified master baker, and he shares his mastery of bread baking through the aptly named Bread. With 150 recipes (out of which 40 are for sourdough), Bread is a comprehensive book of techniques and formulas that lays out the steps for making perfect bread. Hamelman shares his expertise, and there is a lot of guidance, such as diagrams and instructions for shaping loaves, scoring, and braiding. The book is like a technical manual for bakers wanting to master all aspects of bread making.

Best Gluten-Free: Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Courtesy of Walmart 

Eating gluten-free doesn’t have to mean you can’t have bread or that you have to shell out a hefty sum to buy gluten-free breads from the store. This book helps you make gluten-free breads at home with 90 recipes. The book lists out equipment you will need, types of gluten-free flours you can use, and how to make your own master flour recipe. Whether it's flatbread, sandwich bread, or a crusty loaf, there is a lot of gluten-free bread to be made and had.

Best Gluten-Free Bread Machine: The Gluten-Free Bread Machine Cookbook

The Gluten-Free Bread Machine Cookbook
 Courtesy of Amazon

Indulging in gluten-free bread eating and letting a bread machine do the majority of the work for you is quite possible. Irrespective of what bread machine you own, Jane Bonacci and Shannon Kinsella’s The Gluten-Free Bread Machine Cookbook is an educational and inspiring book. Whether you want to make hot dog buns or a sandwich bread, or you want to have a pizza night, the book has you covered with 175 recipes.

In addition to the varied and practical recipes, there is advice on baking with gluten-free flours, troubleshooting help, high-altitude adjustment guidelines, and the role of each ingredient is explained in recipe headnotes.

Best Flatbreads: Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker's Atlas

Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker's Atlas
Courtesy of Amazon 

Bread is one of the ancient foods and is a staple in many cultures. The texture and process of making bread varies from place to place, and each bread has a unique history. In this book, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid share flatbreads from around the world. If you have been looking to venture out through bread baking, this is a book that will take you places.

There are 60 recipes for flatbreads covering the Armenian matnakash, Uighur and Afghan naans, Ethiopian injera, Mediterranean pita, chappati of the Indian subcontinent, French fougasse, and more.

Final Verdict

For a bread baker who wants to master techniques and bake a variety of breads, we recommend The Bread Baker's Apprentice. If you are gluten-free and want to start baking at home, we recommend Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

As a chef instructor, teaching people to cook delicious and healthy food from scratch is one of Renu Dhar's passions. She believes in equipping people with proper techniques and providing them with the right information to make cooking a joy. She has a keen interest in the anthropology of food, cookbooks, and food as medicine.

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