Modernist Bread

So the authors of the giant tome, Modernist Cuisine, have been working on a bread book/cookbook. I preordered it over a year ago. And after many delays it has apparently shipped.

I’m excited to get it. In all honesty I rarely pull out one of the huge volumes of M. Cuisine (they are very interesting but overwhelming) so I’m not sure how often I will use the bread book but I still can’t wait to flip through and see what they’ve done.

Anyone else getting it? Seen a copy yet?

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I’ve had a copy in my “saved for later” cart on Amazon. haven’t decided yet. I do have both Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home. Not sure if I want to spend $550. That said, I think that for me personally the original Modernist Cuisine is fantastic. I have to re-read the Home one, because I can’t remember anything.

Well it showed up today. Clearly haven’t read it yet - but it is gorgeous.

Somehow I’ve missed the Modernist books. Without any frame of reference I need to ask two questions:

  1. What is covered in 5 full volumes all about bread?
  2. How would anyone familiar with it substantiate a $550 price tag?

I’m not trying to disparage this as I’ve no basis for that. I’m really curious.

I would like to know that too. And it is curiosity as well.

Would like also to know if Modernist Bread includes cakes / pastries?

I will wait probably for the “At home” edition, which will be at least 1/5 or 1/10 or the price if At Home mini edition, but it will be several years wait. I got the Modernist Cuisine At Home hard cover edition, the 2 books set, find it an interesting read.

No offense taken . . . i completely understand why anyone would ask, so I’ll do my best to answer from my perspective (a real reviewer may have other perspectives).

First - it is absolutely not worth the price at face value. There are far less expensive ways to get recipes about bread baking that will satisfy 99% of the people out there.

So why on earth would I spend that kind of money . . . . .

  1. I love really beautify printed books. I’m the person who will spend $100 for that table top art book that you see in the museum gift shop. And these are beautiful books, in a beautiful metal container, with beautiful paper, and gorgeous images. So it speaks to me on that level.

  2. I’m a research scientist (earlier in my career much more hardcore). So I love esoteric research and the level of scientific detail that makes most people’s eyes roll back in the heads. This is about as geeky as it gets. If you not only need to hear about gluten development, but also want to see the electron microscope images of the gluten and starch molecules . . . then you’ll get it. So I love it for its scientific take on every detail.

  3. I loved encyclopedias as a kid. I could spend hours flipping through them to just find random stuff and read about them in detail. So it speaks to me on that level. These are more of a reference like an encyclopedia than an actual cookbook - and having that type of a reference resource gives me the warm fuzzy feelings (I still have all my neuroscience books from grad school because sometimes I just like going through them again, even though I’m so far removed from neuro at this point . . . ).

  4. This has 2 (of the 5) volumes dedicated to recipes. I don’t know how many recipes that is - but flipping through it has a recipe for just about any type of bread - across cultures - that I can think about and many I don’t even know about (including gluten free breads), including trouble shooting tips. It is just bread (not pastry).

So, why did I buy them . . . . they speak to me in a way that it is as if they were custom made for me, though I know they are overkill for 99% of the population.

Thats the best I can do to explain. They are just beautiful (I keep them in a separate space from the rest of my cookbooks too).


Thanks for that. I get the compulsion for quality and how satisfaction. I’m still curious, though, about what’s in the 3 volumes that aren’t recipes.

I think this is one of those things you have to hold in your hands and browse through. See if any local libraries or bookstores have it to look at. I know that when I got a chance to spend time with the original Modernist cuisine, a few weeks before it went on sale, I spent three hours with it and couldn’t be dragged away. And then put it in my cart on Amazon, and waited two months until it went on sale for 30+% discount. I would have paid full price if I had to.

It is one of those things that I pick up every few weeks and read for 20-30 minutes. Then take a week to think it over. I have read through it cover to cover four times now over the past 6 1/2 years. Plus pick it up for research a lot. The Home version I have only read through once, and have to again, soon.

The books are large format. The photography in Modernist Cuisine is so amazing that they ended up putting out a separate book just of the photos.

I am not a baker, but I will still have to get of copy of Modernist Bread, as soon as it goes on sale in a month or two.

For me, food and beverages are my life. I’m a chef, food/beverage production consultant, guess you could say I’m a food scientist. I do have a full food/beverage laboratory. So at least I can write off the expense as a business expense.

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Book 1 - history and fundamentals
Book 2 - ingredients
Book 3 - techniques and equipment
Book 4-5 recipes

Oh there is also a “kitchen reference” volume that is coated paper (can wide down the pages) and just has the recipe basic and outlined instructions.

Again they are huge, content dense volumes and I’ve only had them for less than 24 hours , so what’s in each volume - I’ll have to have time to read them first.

I agree, you kind of have to see them to understand them. They are so different from any other type of technique or cook books.

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For those interested - there are also several threads on egullet covering these books - one about what is in the books, one about first recipes used etc.


The books talks about all types of yeast or only concentrate mainly on leaven ? Thanks.