Modernist Bread provides a revolutionary new understanding of one of the most important staples of the human diet. This James Beard Award–winning encyclopedia of practical knowledge and groundbreaking techniques captures over four years of independent research and collaborations with leading industry professionals. The result is the most in-depth look at bread to date. Stunning photography brings the complete story of bread to life across five volumes―uncover its incredible history, loaves from every corner of the world, and the breath-taking beauty of scientific phenomena at work above and below the crust.

 

By the Numbers

5

Volumes + Kitchen Manual

50lbs

Weight

24

Chapters

+1,600

Experiments

+1,200

Recipes

5,689

Photos

4

Languages

40 Tons

Flour Used

 
 

“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

Modernist Bread…(The Cooking Lab), Nathan Myhrvold’s and Francisco Migoya’s five-volume set that goes where few single-subject cookbooks have dared to stir. Full props for their stunning work . . .it is in a league all its own.”

The Washington Post

“This is not yet another beautiful book about the bakery, but truly a Bible for lovers of good bread. A must have!”

Eric Kayser
 
 

In Modernist Bread, you will discover innovative recipes and techniques developed by the Modernist Cuisine team that have not been published anywhere else. Housed in a sleek stainless-steel case, this five-volume set contains more than 1,500 traditional and avant-garde recipes, as well as a wire-bound kitchen manual so that you can easily bring all the recipes into the kitchen in one compact collection. Spanning over 2,600 pages, Modernist Bread will become an invaluable resource for anyone who has a thirst for knowledge about bread or wants to advance their craft. This book is a call to arms for any baker―whether you are a strict traditionalist, avid Modernist, home baker, restaurant chef, or artisanal baker―to embrace the possibilities of invention and follow your inspiration to make breads in your own way.

 
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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.

Discoveries

  • 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

History

  • 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

Experiments

  • 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

Debunking

  • 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?

Awards

Winner, James Beard Cookbook Awards, Restaurant and Professional category (2018)

James Beard

Winner, International Association of Culinary Professionals Awards, Jane Grigson Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Depth of Research in Cookbooks (2018)

IACP

Winner, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Best Food Book of the Year and Best Cookbook Publisher categories (2018)

Gourmand

Winner, PubWest Design Awards, Reference Book (Gold) and Special Edition (Silver) categories (2018)

PubWest

Winner, Book Excellence Awards, Cookbook category (2018)

Book Excellence
 

“This book will awake your curiosity and bring so much knowledge to your life. It’s the ultimate encyclopedia.”

Dominique Crenn

“This unparalleled collection explores bread and dough from every angle, upending long-held beliefs and inspiring with a cauldron of science, history, recipes, and cutting-edge photography. A must-have resource for every serious baker.”

Maria Speck
 
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Bread As You’ve Never Seen It Before

Now at Modernist Cuisine Gallery

Nathan Myhrvold continually pushes the boundaries of food photography. His artwork is available in larger-than-life sizes exclusively at Modernist Cuisine Gallery. The collection features brand-new images that can’t be found anywhere else, alongside some of the most iconic photographs from his books, including Modernist Bread.

 
Editions étrangères • Ausländische Ausgaben • Ediciones extranjeras

Foreign Editions

Modernist Bread is available in French, German, and Spanish. Foreign language editions are available online or wherever fine cookbooks are sold.

 
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Explore the Series

Ready for more? Discover all of the award-winning books from the Modernist Cuisine team.