Book Reviews - Bread Making

If you're a fan of your bread making machine, I think you'll find these books worth reading. They're all in the Ottawa Public Library.

300 Best Canadian Bread Machine Recipes
Washburn & Butt 2010
This book combines the results of ten years of professional work by the authors that were published previously. Lots of solid tips and techniques, and by far the best for showing you how to adapt recipes from one size machine to another. If you're going to buy a book, this should be it.

The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking
Better Homes & Gardens 1999
An amusing book - the type and cover style are retro from the 50's and they claim that bread machines have just been invented! However, inside is an eclectic range of well presented recipes that should work reliably with American ingredients. The trouble shooting section is too short and poorly explained for a book of this calibre, especially for a baker living outside the USA, and there's no mention of old dough or autolysing. If you live in the USA however, this looks like an excellent book.

Canadian Bread Machine Baking
McQuilkin, Roxanne 1996
A solid book - lots of tasty recipes and helpful notes. She uses more yeast than necessary, and specifies instant yeast which is hard to find compared to active dried, but active dried works in her recipes. Flour quantities will have to be adjusted for post-2004 changes in Canada, but she tells you how to check flours.

The Bread Machine Magic Book of Helpful Hints: Dozens of Problem-solving Hints and Troubleshooting Techniques for Getting the Most Out of your Bread Machine : Now with 55 Recipes
Rehberg, Linda 1995
The first quarter of the book is a list of features of bread machines that were never available in Canada, and are well out of date in the USA too. But the rest contains lots of useful tips and notes for those who want to know what they are doing, although again some are inapplicable to Canadian products. Not worth buying, but useful to read.

Rustic European Breads from your Bread Machine
Eckhardt, Linda West 1995
Lots of traditional bread lore here. Most recipes are actually for a mixer with dough hook, a bread machine isn't needed. She puts yeast on the bottom of the pan, backwards to everyone else; I recommend putting it on top, especially if you use time delay.

Betty Crocker's Bread Machine Cookbook
General Mills 1995
A low-priced book of basic recipes with some unusual pre-prepared ingredients: baby food and canned salsa for example. It uses odd units such as 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp instead of 7 fl.oz., and calls for a lot of salt and yeast for most. The third quarter of the book is devoted to shaped breads using solely the dough cycle, the last quarter bread spreads, mostly based on cream cheese, with lots of neat flavours.

The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook
Tom Lacalamita 1993
The earliest book I've found for bread machines, written by a salesman for them, it spends a lot of time convincing the reader that bread is good for you and includes nutrition charts for each recipe. Half the book is for the dough cycle only. A competent collection of recipes, with interesting options and hints scattered throughout. The colour photographs made it an expensive book for the time.

Beard on Bread
Beard, James 1973
If you love sinking your fingers into wet dough, and love the variety of textures and delicate shades of taste you can get out of simple ingredients, this is your book. Many of his techniques can be adapted to a bread machine.

My Canadian Bread Machine Recipes is on the web.

I don't recommend these ones:

The Big Book of Bread - 365 Recipes for Bread Machines and Home-baking
Sheasby, Anne 2004
Very little of this book has anything to do with bread machines, and the rest is confusing, such as her insistence on "strong flour", a term not used anywhere else, and on malted flour, unavailable in most of Canada. She also claims that "active dried" yeast must be activated in water prior to use - simply not true for bread making.

Easy Bread Machine Baking: More than 100 New Recipes for Sweet and Savory Loaves and Shaped Breads
Holmes, Shirley Ann 2000
Just another collection of recipes you can get on the web any time. Apart from the large colour photos that might qualify it for a coffee table, there are far better books available.

The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook: A Master Baker's 300 Favorite Recipes for Perfect-every-time Bread, from Every Kind of Machine
Hensperger, Beth 2000
A massive tome that assumes you've lost the manual that came with your machine and repeats the most basic steps over and over. Many of the recipes demand hand shaping and baking, others need complex use of the dough cycle, they're not really for a bread machine. Many are for a specific balance of ingredients attributed to other famous bakers; almost all specify extra gluten to make up for the low protein content of American flours. This is a book for people who like to follow precise instructions rather than to experiment, but it's OK for that as long as you have American ingredients to hand. Canadians should definitely stick with Washburn & Butt.

The Best Low-fat, No Sugar Bread Machine Cookbook Ever
Rosenberg, Madge 1995
The title is misleading - yeast absolutely requires sugars to leaven bread. Rosenberg just gets them from processed fruits such as dried prunes or apple butter rather than from sugar cane or beets. These sweeteners require 2-3x the normal amount of yeast to get bread to rise in the time set by bread machines, and many of her recipes overload the flour resulting in dense to flat loaves. Also, her recipes using mashed banana won't work post 2004.

Smart Bread Machine Recipes: Healthy, Whole Grain & Delicious
Woodruff, Sandra L. 1994
All the ideas are in the dough-setting sections, the baked-in-the-machine recipes are virtually identical. The author is obviously unaware that supermarket "whole wheat" is white with bran added back; true whole grain is rarely found other than at health food stores, always refrigerated or fresh-ground. She insists that "vital wheat gluten" is different from "gluten flour", when all references I checked agree that it isn't, in the US as well as in Canada.

Sourdough Baking: Fabulous Recipes for Bread Machines and Traditional Methods
Draudt, Susan Brown 1994
What the author calls "dense but tasty" I call a doorstop. Her method of producing a starter with sugar produces a very heavy and unpleasant taste. Quality sourdough starts with just stone-ground flour and the natural yeasts in it, but she doesn't even mention that. Plus, her recipes for bread machines that I tried failed to rise properly.

Favorite Bread Machine Recipes
Garrett, Norman A. 1994
This book has so many errors it's hard to know where to start. Rye flour is low in gluten: false, it just doesn't have the kind of glutens that make good bread. Liquids have to be preheated above room temperature: I've never done that, that's what preheat is for. Egg substitutes equal eggs: I've tried every one available and in bread none of them come close... There are much more reliable books than this one.

The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book: Use your Bread Machine to Make More than 100 Delicious, Wholesome Breads
Burnett, George 1991
A preachy self-righteous book that assumes that only natural products are healthy, then puts lecithin in everything. (Clearly, the author has never checked the chemicals used to manufacture it from soy beans.) And, the machines covered are 2 decades out of date.