Reader Comments: Bread Science

Reader Comments: Bread Science

A number of excellent bread books have been published in recent years that offer bits and pieces of the science that underlies the craft, but none that focus specifically on that science. Emily Buehler has brought bread science and technique together for us in an easy to comprehend manual, based on her work and study at one of America’s finest artisan bakeries. This book will be an important addition to every bread lover’s library, whether professional or serious home baker.

—Peter Reinhart, author, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

I find Emily’s book to be just about perfect in scope, quality of information, and know-how on the science of bread. A subject that is extremely complex for a food that is made up of four seemingly simple ingredients, it is easily understood with Emily’s clear text and explanations that have not been dumbed down for us. This book needs to be on the shelf for every bread enthusiast that wants to know how things work.

—Francisco Migoya, Head Chef of Modernist Cuisine and co-author of Modernist Bread

Both thoughtful and interesting, Bread Science has utility and a voice of knowledge and authority. It is truly user-oriented and has genuine character. Emily Buehler’s book appears to be a one-of-a-kind contribution that may well take its place along with the standards in the field.

—Nach Waxman, co-founder, Kitchen Arts and Letters

Unlike soups, pates, or salads, baking is the part of cooking where precision matters. Emily’s book Bread Science hits that lovely spot where science leads to art. You shouldn’t need to ask any questions if you follow her clear instructions.

—Bill Smith, author, Seasoned in the South

Your book has changed my life!!!! I love it! I’ve been baking for over 10 years now and, while there are some types of bread I think I do well, there were other types that I’d assumed I could never make. Not that I didn’t try. Over the years I’ve attempted various recipes and techniques, but none quite got the “crunchy, crackly, crisp crust” I wanted at the same time as a “light and airy crumb”. With your book, however, I finally made the bread I thought was impossible to bake at home.

Anyway, thanks a lot for writing your book. It was a pleasure to read (I enjoyed finally finding out what was really going on in my dough) and I’m looking forward to the next chance I have to bake.

—Josh in Raleigh, North Carolina

I just want to let you know that I enjoyed reading your book very much, and parts of it I have read already a few times over. You have made it possible to understand very clearly what is going on and very importantly (for me at least) to recognize signs that let me know when to move onto the next step. I still need a lot of practice in some areas but at least I’m headed in the right direction and I see that just a few things have made a big difference so far. For starters, I was not kneading enough and also not leaving the dough long enough for the final proofing. Your details of what to look for in the window pane made me realize that I was stopping too soon and now I can see that the dough looks, feels and behaves differently after sufficient kneading.

—Leslie in Israel

Really enjoyed your book. You did a good job…. Since reading your book, I have baked some of the best bread I have ever made.

—Anonymous reader

I received the book yesterday. I love this book and enjoyed reading it very much. Every detail [was] discussed and this book is going to be an asset in my library.

—Juat in Singapore

The book is very very good, very simple to read and understand. I baked the French bread and it was exceedingly good.

—George in the UK

Thank you for writing this book, it’s just what I looked for.

—Anonymous reader

As a chemical engineer and sourdough baker I really appreciate the effort and quality you put into your bread book! Bravo!

I haven’t read the whole book yet but what I have read is well presented to be comprehensible to those less chemically and biologically knowledgable, while maintaining accuracy. Nicely done!

—Jay, location unknown

I keep reading through your great book. It is really very very good and at the same time very simple to read and understand.

—Anonymous reader

The wonderful tradition of bread making is seldom passed down from generation to generation anymore. Here in Emily’s book are the formulas needed for a successful loaf. Emily gives all the secrets and details that have been lost and are now back – alive as yeast, in her book. So before you bake again, read Bread Science by Emily Buehler.

—Roxanne Brown in Virginia

Your book is already helping my bread making! There are detailed descriptions of processes that no other books I’ve read explain.

—Ben in Australia

…thanks for the book. The section on cuts and proving changed my life….

—Brian in Los Angeles

Just wanted to say how much I am loving your book! I’m a PhD student in neurobiology at the university of washington and I’ve recently become enamored with bread making. The first section of Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice got me wondering more about the (“hard”) science behind fermentation and the bread baking process as a whole. Well your book is exactly what I was looking for, with the added bonus of being designed to improve one’s baking skills (in addition to elucidating the science). I simply love it and I wanted to thank you for your efforts in generating this wonderful resource.

—Talley in Seattle

I was lucky to find your book in one bookstore in Toronto. So lucky!!! I loved every bit of it and finally learned to knead by hand and shape loaves properly. This is after 40 years of baking yeast doughs. Better later than never, [sigh] Thank you so much! I also liked your thorough discussion of starters and sponges and exceptionally well done summary of scientific research. The book was so interesting, I couldn’t sleep until I finished it at 5 am.

—Liudmila in Toronto

I just wanted to let you know that your wonderful book arrived today and has already solved a huge problem I was having. I mistakenly thought that sugar would feed the yeast and so I was using a lot of sugar and was barely getting a rise. I have never read before that too much sugar dehydrates the yeast cells and kills them. Your book has been a godsend!

—Mary in Rochester Hills, Michigan

The book just arrived this morning in the mail and I have read the first chapter, and I must say, that this is probably one of the easier and quicker ways to get started! I like the formatting of the book, which makes it easy to read and to progress, and the pictures help as well. I also like how you have a summary at the end of each chapter as to what you’ve just read—for when you read and forget a few important things like I do.

—Ryan in Longmont, Colorado

Your book was my first on bread baking (received it as a very thoughtful gift), and I’m so glad I started at the right place. I’d become increasingly interested in the scientific aspects of bread making after trying recipes from other cookbooks but not fully understanding the process. Your book made all the difference in the world. My baguettes look and taste fantastic (using the French bread recipe), even after a power failure here in Toronto once forced me to leave an already-shaped loaf in the garage overnight and suspend baking until the next day.

—Amy in Toronto, Canada

Your book is so helpful to me- love reading about how all of the bread ingredients work. I made my best bread to date because of your great instructional Bread Science book. Thanks for all of your research & for writing a book that is truly helpful among so many other bread books that are all show and no substance.

—Carol in Indiana

I just received my copy of Bread Science today. It came fast, and the book and packaging are in perfect condition. Thank you for writing this book! I’ve been attempting bread baking for about a year now and in the process of improving my bread I have read many a book that professes to dive deep into the inner workings. In the end, though, they just skim the top, thinking that matters of protein and the life stages of yeast are best left behind the curtain. Not so says this engineer!

—Dean in El Dorado, Kansas

Your book arrived today…. It’s great, better even than I expected, and I like your style and humour. It’s good to have a method based on science rather than anecdote. Now I get to sink my teeth into the famous Chapter 2.

—Steve in Australia

I am enjoying your Bread Science book, and so are the other members of our bread club. Our bread club is a group of chemists… we meet each month to discuss our bread recipes, experiments, ingredients and tools (and, of course, taste the experiments). Your book is helping us better understand and improve our techniques. Thank you.

—Christine in Wappingers Falls, NY

Thank you for writing back so quickly and I didn’t just like your book, I truly loved it. I refer to it often, suggest it to people regularly, and feel grateful always to have it on my shelf.

—Ellen in Mendham, NJ

Since I discovered your Bread Science book last September, it has become my go-to reference for bread-baking problem solving. To me the text feels lovingly articulated, with the coziness of a lab notebook and the rigor of a literature review. My copy is peppered with floury fingerprints and on its way to becoming dog-eared.

—Jacqueline, organizer of Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers

I received the book … and could not put it down. It was a fascinating read. All the things that you need to know but could never have found out for yourself. As a scientist I really liked the presentation of theory rather than fact and also providing much needed chemical detail to help understanding rather than assuming readers won’t understand!

I have dabbled in starters etc before but not understanding enough about them I gave up after little success – I thought perhaps our house was just too cold. The books I had read didn’t really offer enough scientific information.

I didn’t make any bread until I had finished the book but with my new armed knowledge I embarked on a simple recipe from “Bread Matters” by Andrew Whitley and was amazed when it actually worked! Even the scoring, which I had never managed to get right before, worked! Since then I have had mostly successes and have not stopped baking!

Just to say thanks for publishing this amazing little book. It has really transformed my bread making for ever! I will certainly recommend it to friends.

—Rebecca in the UK

I just wanted to thank you for writing your book. I’m not exagerating when I say it has been a real life-changer for me (well, a baking-life-changer, at least).

Thanks especially for the pre-shaping and shaping instructions and for giving permission to knock out the gas over and over again without fear of ruining it.

—Jonathan in New Zealand

If you hadn’t written Bread Science, baking would have remained all the more frustrating to me; and not just due to failed loaves, but due to vague and incomplete explanations of the process on the part of other bakers (nothing against them; they got the itch started)…. I think it’s the linear, causal manner in which the book is written that helps me the most.

In any case, I hope to pass on the joy of home-made loaves to my future family. Your book is a treasure.

—Karl in State College, PA

I got your book last week and am amazed by the wealth of knowledge and information just by flipping through a few pages! I had begun reading it in detail last weekend and had just finished chapter 1 (I’m a slow reader).

Thanks for the excellent book!

—Patrick in Singapore

I just wanted to send a note of thanks. I read Bread Science over the holiday weekend and I found it helpful and fascinating. Finally, after more than three years of intently baking artisan sourdough bread, I found a reference book that is clear, concise and precise. It provides the perfect blend of science for this careful, new, amateur baker with practical info on how the science relates to actually baking bread. One read answered many questions and confirmed assumptions that I have made over the years while refining my technique. THANK YOU.

—Doug, location unknown

Just wanting to let you know that your book arrived last week, and it has been keeping me up late reading! Excellent book, I am thoroughly enjoying getting a better scientific understanding toward the behaviour of bread. It’s what I love about bread, although I have been baking for over 30 years, there is always something new to learn. Thank you for writing such a great book readable in layman’s terms!

—Tia in Australia

I wanted to thank you for your book. I have been trying for YEARS to make my own sourdough starter with no success. After reading your book, I finally got it to work!! That alone makes your book entirely worthwhile. I look forward to studying the other chapters in detail.

—Lyn, location unknown

I have a copy of the book, and I can’t speak highly enough about it. My bread-making skills (such as they are) have improved dramatically because of your book, and I want all my bread-baking friends to have a copy of it. It’s incredibly helpful.

Thanks for a very good, very useful book.

—Gordon, upon buying a book for a friend in San Francisco, CA