James Beard is, to me, the Gene Logsdon of cooking, freakishly knowledgeable in their fields, a bit cranky and quite no-nonsense.  I guess that when it comes to farming and cooking I don’t really have time to read someone’s opinion, I want the facts and just facts.  Both men just tell it like it is and this cookbook is no different.  If you want to know how to make good bread,  Beard On Bread is the book for you.  
The introduction begins thus;
Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.  However, unless we bake it ourselves, it is hard to come by a loaf of bread these days delicious enough to stir the senses.  We are offered spongy, plasticized, tasteless breads, presliced, doctored with nutrients and preservatives, and with about as much gastronomic importance as cotton wool.  Yet people everywhere seem to go on buying bready no matter how poor its quality, simply because it is unthinkable to live without it.  But there is no excuse for putting up with bad bread.
Well there!  Someone had to say it.  The trouble is that he said this in 1973 and commercial bread has only gotten worse.  So, here is a book that will teach you the basics of making bread and beyond. 
The first recipe, Basic White Bread has the basic recipe with several footnotes if you are beyond the fundamentals and want to be a bit adventurous. The way Beard put it; just learn this recipe because he isn’t going to keep going over the basics with each recipe.  
The book goes on to include some 100 recipes including Scottish Scones, Pain de Mie (Julia Child wouldn’t think of making sandwiches with anything else) Monkey Bread, rolls of all types and several European and Middle Eastern breads. 
There are some, such as Gene with Farming, Elizabeth Zimmerman for knitting, and Julia for anything French, in which you just do what they say.  You’ll never find a better way.  Working on my culinary degree taught me to memorize techniques and when they handed you a recipe that only included the name of the product and ingredients you could still turn out a great product, every time.  That’s the kind of book this is.  Beard teaches techniques for making great bread and assumes you will obey.Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.