The Artisan's Oven Craig Crosby

Craig Crosby of The Artisan's Oven.

Craig Crosby spent more than two decades as a chef before taking over his sister’s bakery, The Artisan’s Oven, in Springfield, Missouri, 10 years ago. The shop is known for its housemade breads and pastries, including the Bordelaise, a country-style sourdough, plus cinnamon rolls, quiche, granola and more. Here, Crosby shares the cookbooks that he returns to often to refine his craft.

What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained

What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained

by Robert L. Wolke (2008)

“[The book shares] the processes in cooking, anything that has to be changed by the chef to create an effect – Chapter One talks about sugar, then salt, fat, heat, tools and technology. In baking, we deal with chemistry more than anything else; when we’re trying to formulate new breads, it really helps the development process to know what’s actually happening. This book helps fill in the blanks in understanding certain ingredients and how you use them.”

Larousse Gastronomique

Larousse Gastronomique

by Prosper Montagné (1938)

“This book is like an encyclopedia of food from way back. It’s got a little bit of history thrown in, and it has recipes and preparations that have been made, some [of them], for hundreds of years. [My] copy is from 1961. It has every region of Europe represented; it has every way that you could think of to prepare anything, plus about 30 more variations that you didn’t know existed. It has a nice old-world perspective on culinary preparations back before some modern appliances and conveniences came around.”

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

by Peter Reinhart (2001)

“[Reinhart] is one of the foremost authorities on artisan bread-baking and seems to have the most know-how. The other day, I had a customer request Kaiser rolls, and I went ahead and got started on them and wasn’t quite getting the results I wanted. I went back and looked at [Reinhart’s] recipes, and the process is so detailed that I knew exactly where I was messing up and was able to fix the problem. [The book] came with the bakery when I took over, and it’s really been a big help; everybody looks to him for inspiration.”

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