Bread Illustrated: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results At Home by America's Test Kitchen Editors

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Southern-style skillet cornbread

    • jzanger on October 30, 2020

      Great cornbread. I liked the new techniques of toasting the cornmeal and then letting it sit for ten minutes with the milk/sour cream mixture, and the resulting cornbread had plenty of moisture and great corn flavor. Next time I will add more salt, maybe as much as 1 1/2 tsp of diamond crystal kosher.

    • stef on October 23, 2016

      This recipe used all cornmeal no flour but was moist.Recipe needed more liquid than indicated. I would add a tablespoon more sugar because I like a little more sweetness in my cornbread. Two finely chopped jalapeños were added

  • Brown soda bread

    • mark515 on March 31, 2019

      I used buttermilk powder and water, and as far as I can see, it turned out fine. It's a wee bit crumbly at times, but otherwise seems fine. It seemed to me to have a bit of an unwanted scent, maybe the leaveners? I considered buying regular wheat germ and toasting it, since I could get a couple or so pounds for under $3 dollars US. Instead, I purchased (from the cereal aisle) the toasted wheat germ in a jar. It was nearly twice the price for the convenience.

    • Shewi128 on August 20, 2021

      This tasted like baking powder/soda and like a large pancake. My sister and I both ate one slice, my kids didn't like it, and we ended up throwing it out. I definitely wouldn't make it again.

  • Quick cheese bread

    • mark515 on March 31, 2019

      I made this a month or so ago. Good structure. I was underwhelmed by the flavor, which is highly cheese dependent. I'll go for some extra-sharp cheddar that really is extra-sharp next time.

    • debkellie on February 12, 2017

      Simple - easy to make. Thought it would turn out like a brick, but very pleasantly surprised. Great texture & flavour. American daughter-in-law said it was very similar to "Mormon biscuits"....

  • Rustic wheat berry bread

    • eliza on April 29, 2018

      This is a high hydration bread (I calculated 79% hydration), and as such I found it a bit too wet and had to add extra flour. I'd say this is a recipe for bakers with some bread baking experience, since handling wet dough can be tricky. The resulting baked loaf tasted good and had an excellent structure so I may make this one again. Made a half recipe to test it out. Edited to add: second time I made this and I made the full amount. Blending the wheat berries created a gummy mess in my food processor so I’m now not planning to make this one again.

  • Pain de campagne

    • twoyolks on January 10, 2017

      The flavor on the bread was good but was a little heavy on the bitter whole wheat taste. The crumb was tighter and less rustic than I'd expect for pain de campagne but was loose enough to be pleasant. The crust was fine.

    • Rebeccajwj on April 07, 2022

      This specific bread is one that uses a lot of salt in the recipe no matter which book you cook from, but my final loaf came out actually too salty. I’m gonna assume this was user error and that I didn’t get the salt mixed in well enough. I cook with a scale so there is no way I used too much of anything or too little. The dough is a rather dry dough so it is a challenge. I will try to make the bread again in a couple of weeks and see if I can’t do a better job. But I’m gonna have to turn the salty version into croutons.

  • Kouign-amann

    • twoyolks on January 30, 2020

      These take a while to make but aren't particularly difficult. The flavor is amazing. It's like the best mix between a croissant and palmiers. They're particularly good with vanilla ice cream and salted butter caramel. Surprisingly for America's Test Kitchen, some of the directions were less than clear. Particularly, there's a section when you soften butter with a rolling pin in folded up parchment but it's not clear why the parchment is folded or what it means to put it in the center. Also, there's a call for melted butter but part of it is used on the first day and part on the second day. But this was still very good.

  • Almost no-knead bread

    • twoyolks on November 29, 2017

      The bread had some yeasty flavor (from the beer) and some tang (from the vinegar) but it wasn't quite the same as actual sourdough. The bread had some crust but it wasn't quite right. The crumb was a lot tighter than I'd expect from a country loaf. This was, however, quite easy.

  • Thin-crust whole-wheat pizza

    • twoyolks on January 10, 2017

      The crust was a good whole wheat crust. The toppings were a bit bland and greasy. Adding the ricotta after baking made the pizza cold.

    • Shewi128 on March 29, 2022

      This turned out surprisingly well. Even though I thought it would be too wet and sticky, but it rolled out great and didn't shrink too much.

  • Rustic dinner rolls

    • twoyolks on April 09, 2018

      These rolls get a nice crust without being too hard. The flavor is good. The crumb was also light enough without being too airy to be a roll. I'd liken these to a nice "ciabatta roll."

  • Parker House rolls

    • twoyolks on April 02, 2018

      I found the rolls to be a bit bland if rich and the crumb was tighter and denser than I'd like.

  • Pain de mie

    • emiliang on December 20, 2021

      The amounts called for in this recipe are actually for a 9-in pan, not a 13-in pan.

  • Parmesan breadsticks

    • JuneHawk on March 15, 2021

      These are not very good. They taste weird and off.

  • Crescent rolls

    • stef on December 21, 2017

      A nice light buttery crescent rool. Successful converted to bread machine

  • Chocolate babka

    • stef on April 15, 2018

      This was had very clear instructions and the babbka turned out nice and moist with the dark chocolate being just the right amount of sweetness

  • English muffins

    • stef on February 28, 2020

      Great English muffin. There is a 12 to 24 hrs wait. You shape the muffin and put a cookie sheet pan on top and refrigerate. I used an all clad pan at first to brown the muffins but the cornmeal started to burn switched to non stick cleaning the pan with paper towel after each set of muffins. They are then baked in the oven for a short time.

    • Tweedles81 on January 13, 2019

      I made this recipe (my first time making English muffins) and it was PERFECTION! My husband went a little overboard with the cornmeal though. I would stick to the amount called for in the recipe - otherwise it ends up being very toothsome. Great flavor and texture. I couldn’t be happier and it makes me very excited to explore this book further!

  • Pitas

    • stef on April 02, 2018

      This worked great. Nice deep pockets

    • Foodiewife on August 18, 2019

      Very easy to make, and it was a total success. I'd definitely make this one again.

  • Monkey bread

    • sarahawker on July 19, 2020

      Beautiful tower of sweet bread. The sugar overwhelmed the cinnamon a bit but the boys loved it and could barely wait.

    • Kinhawaii on July 27, 2020

      Very sweet, made half a recipe & fit perfectly in the small 6 cup bundt pan, took 30 minutes. Easy recipe. Much better warm.

  • Whole-wheat American sandwich bread

    • clawsgirl on November 25, 2016

      Note: made by hand sans stand mixer. Dough seemed a little wet, but was just tacky after a little flour was added. Kneaded for about 20 minutes total. I let it go a little too long with the second rise, as it was more like 2 inches above the pan. Also did not have a spray bottle, so I sprayed a plate that was in front of the loaf pan to mist it. The loaf was absolutely delicious, and made great sandwiches. Seriously awesome flavor.

  • No-knead brioche

    • clawsgirl on November 23, 2016

      Made twice already, super good. Amazingly easy. The bread has a sweet tang to it, although not too sweet. The second loaf I made was at the 48 hr mark and was less sweet and more tangy than the one I made at the 16 hr mark.

  • Honey-wheat dinner rolls

    • clawsgirl on November 25, 2016

      These rolls were really awesome. They were fluffy and flavorful, definitely not your generic white dinner roll. I let them rise for close to 16 hours after shaping, and they weren't sour at all, like some long rise breads come out to be. My only problem was with shaping. The instructions say to "form into rough ball by stretching dough around your thumbs and pinching edges together so that top is smooth." These pieces were rectangular in shape, so I didn't understand what they meant by "stretch dough around your thumbs". Lengthwise? Widthwise? This led to my rolls being oddly shaped and not perfectly smooth. Furthermore, the honey flavor was a bit muted. That could've been due to the long rise or simply because my honey doesn't have a very assertive flavor. Either way, will definitely add more honey next time. Oh, and this dough seemed very wet. I don't have a stand mixer, and so kneading by hand was not fun. Regardless, these were delicious rolls and I'd definitely make them again.

  • Ballpark pretzels

    • SenseiHeidi on February 20, 2021

      I was impressed with these until I made the Brezeln from Classic German Baking. (Use bread flour for best results.)

  • Skillet pizza

    • Foodiewife on August 18, 2019

      Very simple recipe to make. Loved it.

  • Potato dinner rolls

    • bwhip on February 23, 2020

      These were excellent, and easy to make with very detailed instructions. Turned out really fluffy and delicious. Next time I may add a bit more salt, but otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Japanese milk bread

    • Kinhawaii on August 28, 2020

      We really liked this bread- soft & tender. But like cellenly, I have never made this type of bread before & got a really sticky ball of dough. I tried to add a minimum of flour but it still stuck so much to my hands that I ended up dumping it into the bowl for the first rise. When rolling it out I used a minimum amount of flour but it was also easier to handle by then.

    • cellenly on March 26, 2020

      First time making Japanese milk bread or any bread with the tangzhong technique. My paste cooked in 35-seconds in microwave. The butter took longer to incorporate even though softened. The second kneading was hard to tell at what point to stop since it's such a wet dough. I never got "smooth and elastic and clearing sides of bowl but sticking to the bottom"; all I got was sticky high hydration dough. There was one point where it got close, but then I kept on kneading, then I was scared that I overdeveloped the gluten. I never got a smooth ball, but a sticky ball. I literally dumped the sticky ball into bowl and didn't even bother shaping it. I let it rise for 1.5 hrs first rise and 1 hr second rise due to potential overdevelopment of gluten even though it had risen above the pan line. I was not gentle with the rolling out in strips. Yet despite all that, everyone loved it. They asked for it the next day.

  • Sicilian-style thick-crust pizza

    • Kinhawaii on July 17, 2021

      As described made a slightly sweet & fine crumbed base- unfortunately I tried using an upside down sheet pan instead of a baking steel or stone so the middle didn’t develop as crisp a crust in the center. Still prefer Cook’s Country/ Illustrated cast iron skillet or Detroit style pizza for a deep dish version.

  • Spinach-ricotta calzones

    • Kinhawaii on September 21, 2020

      Good- really loved the delicious spinach filling, relatively easy to make. Next time will try & not make the edge too thick because mine got rather bready. We thought it made 4-6 servings with a chunky roasted tomato sauce we had.

  • American sandwich bread

    • Kinhawaii on July 21, 2020

      Great! I have very little bread baking experience - but it was relatively easy with their clear instructions. I am not sure whether it was my warmer kitchen or the yeast - first time I have used SAF instant - but it rose in about 2/3 of the maximum time given. It was very tasty & soft. Would definitely make again.

  • Ultimate cinnamon buns

    • Kinhawaii on August 15, 2020

      These were delicious- but huge, yet worth the calories. A once in awhile treat. Came out like the photo- almost filling the pan. I haven’t made buns like these often before, nor have baked much bread, but after I added the butter, it took much much longer than a few minutes for it to come together in the mixer. Next time I will use my larger mixer. I also don’t have a deep enough space to roll out 18 by 18 inches, so on a piece of parchment it was more like 18 by 16 but it seemed to work out fine.

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  • ISBN 10 1940352606
  • ISBN 13 9781940352602
  • Published Aug 06 2016
  • Format Paperback
  • Page Count 432
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher America's Test Kitchen

Publishers Text

In this comprehensive cookbook, America's Test Kitchen breaks down the often intimidating art and science of bread baking, making it easy for anyone to create foolproof, bakery-quality breads at home.

Many home cooks find bread baking rewarding but intimidating. In Bread Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen shows bakers of all levels how to make foolproof breads, rolls, flatbreads, and more at home. Each master recipe is presented as a hands-on and reassuring tutorial illustrated with six to 16 full-color step-by-step photos. Organized by level of difficulty to make bread baking less daunting, the book progresses from the simplest recipes for the novice baker to artisan-style loaves, breads that use starters, and more complex project recipes. The recipes cover a wide and exciting range of breads from basics and classics like Easy Sandwich Bread and Fluffy Dinner Rolls to interesting breads from around the world including Lahmacun, Panettone, and Fig and Fennel Bread.

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