Modernist Bread Case

What is Modernist Bread?

Making good bread is both an art and a science—Modernist Bread is a 2,642-page celebration of that and more, including bread’s future. The culmination of over four years of nonstop research, photography, experiments, writing, and baking, Modernist Bread isn’t just about new recipes, though—it’s about the way we think of bread from the ground up.

In the space of five volumes plus a recipe manual, this groundbreaking set tells the story of one of the world’s most important foods in new and different ways. Inside this book you’ll discover the science, history, cultures, and personalities behind bread, along with tools you can use to shape its future. Learn what really happens when dough is mixed, new techniques for working with preferments, strategies for making bread in any kind of oven, and innovative approaches to developing flavor—all through more than 1,200 recipes and variations to master and inspire.

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2018 James Beard Award in the Restaurants and Professionals Book Category.

Table of Contents

Modernist Bread is a book for anyone who is passionate and curious about bread, whether they are a professional baker, restaurant chef, home baker or cook, industry expert, scientist, or foodie. The ultimate resource for any baker, its pages are packed with new discoveries, insights, innovative techniques, and recipes for breads from around the world. Here’s a taste of what’s covered.

Winner of the 2018 International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Depth of Research in Cookbooks.

“Above all, the book [Modernist Bread] is a call for cooks to rethink one of the world’s oldest foods—to understand how bread is made, using more than their instinct and intuition, so they can push the craft forward.”
-The New York Times

New Discoveries and Techniques

A faster panettone. A sweet-and-sour levain. An aha moment that transformed our ryes. Modernist Bread is the culmination of over four years of nonstop research, photography, experiments, writing, and baking. These are just some of the new insights and techniques that will surprise and delight you—and help you make better bread.


  • Bread is lighter than whipped cream
  • How to optimize levain for sweet breads
  • The sad tale of North American rye
  • How many bubbles are in a loaf of bread
  • The real reason steam makes bread crispy
  • How to rescue overproofed dough

New Techniques

  • Bread in a jar
  • Easy high-hydration doughs
  • Sweet-and-sour levain
  • 55°F sourdough
  • Challah braiding made easy with fruit juice
  • Compleat Wheat


  • What bread looked like through the ages
  • Which came first, bread or beer?
  • Reconstructing bread from Pompeii
  • The history of industrialized bread
  • The modern invention of baguettes
  • The artisanal bread movement


  • Weird stuff in starters
  • How long does bread last in the freezer?
  • How much water is too much?
  • What is the best temperature for baking?
  • How much payload can dough handle?
  • Our take on autolyse


  • Do you need to make dough with purified water?
  • Do you really need to knead?
  • Is whole-grain bread better for you than white bread?
  • To age or not age flour?
  • Is NYC tap water the key to making good bagels?
  • What’s really in Grandma’s starter?

Winner of the 2018 Gourmand Awards for Best Food Book of the Year in the U.S. as well as Best Cookbook Publisher in the U.S.

Foreign Language Editions

The French, German, and Spanish translations of Modernist Bread are set to arrive in fall 2019. Preorders are now available Amazon in North America and Europe.

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The Story of Modernist Bread

Nathan reveals the story behind Modernist Bread in this excerpt from the book.

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“Each recipe in Modernist Bread includes the basic ingredients by weight, volume and percentage, with additional tables for purees, fruits or other added ingredients. The result looks like a clinical lab experiment, but ultimately hands control of the final product over to the baker, with unexpectedly freeing results.”

Modernist Bread Volumes

Tour the Volumes

Discover the complete story of bread across five volumes. The first three volumes of Modernist Bread provide an in-depth look at bread’s history and fundamentals, ingredients, techniques, and equipment—they’re followed by two full volumes of recipes and a portable recipe manual.

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  • 2,600 pages
  • 1,200 recipes
  • 1,000,000 words
  • 5,000 photos

“Advancing the state of food technology is what the ‘modernist’ in ‘Modernist Bread’ is all about.”

The Cooking Lab

The Cooking Lab is Modernist Cuisine’s in-house publishing division. In addition to publishing, The Cooking Lab provides consulting, R&D, and invention services to food companies and culinary equipment makers, both large and small. Their new research laboratory, operated by Intellectual Ventures, provides one of the best-equipped kitchens in the world and includes access to a full set of machining, analytical, and computational facilities. Equipped with a state-of-the-art photography studio, the team uses groundbreaking photography techniques, including in-house SEM, micro, and macro imagery.

Learn more about our culinary wonderland

Order Modernist Bread today

Modernist Bread by Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya arrives November 7.

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