bread baking on iPad

Baking bread is one of the oldest forms of cooking, fundamental to civilization and satisfying to the individual soul. Is it because baking bread is so powerful that so many fear it, feel that it’s beyond them? Baking bread is easy and and its pleasures are deep, not just for the one baking but for everyone in the house. The smells of baking bread are a natural analgesic and stress reliever, the bread itself nourishing.

This fall, talking with my partner in digital productions Will Turnage (by day, Will is the upstanding VP of Technology and Invention at R/GA, a digital ad agency—I want to be a VP of Invention!; by night he’s a digital Mr. Hyde), about what kind of App to do next, we looked to the iPad because tablets are the future, and the format, so huge relative to smart phones, is so enticing. Our plan would be to create a series of inexpensive basic cooking applications that would encourage more people to cook. Using the basic gears that propel the smart phone app, Ratio, based on the book, the Bread Baking Basics App ($1.99) generates countless personalized recipes for all kinds of bread—white, sourdough, whole wheat, whole wheat sourdough, rye, rye sourdough, multi-grain and multigrain sourdough, ciabattas, baguettes, boules, loafs, and pizza dough.

Select how you mix your dough (with a mixer or by hand—both take the same time, one is more fun, one is more easy), select how you want to measure ingredients (ounces, grams, or cups) and all recipes will be generated in the format you choose. To bake bread, choose the type of bread you want, the shape, the baking surface and how much you want, and the app will generate a personalized recipe for you and your kitchen with step-by-step instructions and photos by Donna.

bread baking app for ipad bread baking on iPad

Each recipe has a step-by-step illustrated guide to that particular bread and shape, what it looks like when it’s risen, how to shape the dough for a boule, for a loaf, for a baguette. The email feature allows you to send specific recipes to friends as well as to print a copy for yourself. (Being able to send exact recipes is an especially good feature for your iPadless friends who also what to use the app!)

bread breaking app for ipad

I’ve written a bread baking basics reference section that spells out all you need to know to bake great bread at home, with notes on technique, ingredients, a discussion of yeast and salt, grains, and various bread baking tools.

We’re very excited and hope you’ll give the app a try. Let us know how you like it. And this is important: if you run into any bugs or problems or have any TECH SUPPORT needs, let us know at We’ve already caught a few typos and memory bugs.  Let us know any you catch and we’ll upload version 1.0.1 on Friday.

Fianlly huge thank yous to Will Turnage, Donna Turner Ruhlman, and Manuel Dilone, who created the visual design.

Happy Baking!

For more posts on bread baking:


40 Wonderful responses to “Bread Baking Basics App For iPad”

  • Dan @ FoodieLawyer

    We just got this app, and it’s really excellent. The amount of information contained in it is remarkable, and the pictures are amazing. Well done! (We have a snow day today in Dallas, and I’m going to make a sourdough boule.)

  • Carri

    So very cool. I downloaded this last night and it’s fun just to flip through all the possibilites, easy to navigate and understand.The design is great, love the clipboard and rolling pin. So far, one of my favorite apps…other than fruit ninja, of course!

  • Lyndsey

    looks cool but I don’t have an iPad and probably never will – so sad to miss out on it!

  • Chris Marcil

    Baking bread is one of the oldest forms of cooking, fundamental to civilization and satisfying to the individual soul. Is it because baking bread is so powerful that so many fear it, feel that it’s beyond them?

    I do wonder if this kind of sacerdotal tone about bread baking — which is easy to fall into, I do it myself all the time — sometimes winds up intimidating rather than inspiring. Bread geeks can make it sound like you have to climb a seven storey mountain in order to produce a loaf.

    I might also add that I frequently use a bread machine which I know is uncool. These are far from my best loaves, but they’re pretty good, and more to the point it makes it easier for home baked bread to be everyday. So it’s worth it.

  • Scott

    Sounds great, but don’t have an iPad. Besides a bigger display, what does the iPad do that an iPhone can’t ? Looks like I’d be much more interested in this app than the Ratio one. I purchased Ratio, but was disappointed in it’s limited ratios and inability to add ratios of your own. For instance would like to add ratios for things like salsa, béchamel, marinara, and remoulade.

    • ruhlman

      kind of missing the point on ratio…you would never have a ratio for salsa, that’s a recipe. though it would be cool to have a way of inputting your own. will develop a version for iphone soon, but won’t be able to have the pix and will require design changes.

  • emilia

    No eggs in these bread recipes. All the breads that were selected for this app are lean.

  • Tracy Barker

    Interesting looking app. I’d like to see it factor in ambient temperature too. Adjusting for summer/winter can be tricky (cooler water, less yeast etc). Can the app be that clever?

    • ruhlman

      this kind of adjustment would be very difficult. temp, humidity, temp of the water you use, temp of the flour, it all affects outcome. better to watch and learn and use common sense, no?

  • ruhlman

    I apologize to those who don’t have an iPad and feel left out. I never anticipated this. I am sorry. Ever since I was six and was kept out of a friend’s “club” I’ve hated clubs and this kind of comes close.

    Please understand that for people developing new products that we have to be early adopters of new technology so that we can stay with the wave. Tablets are the future and it’s exciting to be able to develop cooking tools that make use of the new technology in ways that books, video, photos cannot do; these devices offer whole new ways of thinking about cooking.

    I understand your frustration and irritation that this app is exclusive to people who are willing to pay a lot of money for an iPad, but I hope you will understand our enthusiasm for exploring new territory.

  • Cecilia

    Love the app! It is straightforward and easy to use, and such gorgeous photos. I really like that you have included the option to use a dutch oven for the boule shape. Can’t wait to start using it!

  • Elisabeth

    I am now even more determined to save a little money for an iPad. It’s the apps that really sell the iPad and this is an app I’d love to have! Thanks!

  • Db Sweeney

    I wanted to throw this out there for those interested in an iPad or any new technology in general really.

    You don’t have to pay Apple prices to get an iPad. There are online auctions every day you can look to on the web. Don’t just think eBay either. Search the Net, you can and will find them. People win them every day and don’t want them and put them up for auction.

    I purchased a 64gig iPad (WiFi only, no 3G) for Christmas. It retails on Apple’s site for $699. My auction winning bid was $195.00 + $15 shipping and handling.

    I look forward to trying your new App this weekend, Mr. Ruhlman. I am making lobster bisque and may try a brioche or sourdough to go with it.

    • Griffith

      I cashed in a bunch of American Express points – basically got one for free.

    • C. Clay

      Curious – many of those online auction sites seem kinda scammy. I’d love an iPad, have found limited use for it so far aside from maybe recipes and knitting patterns… regardless, eBay’s prices are ridiculously high, and a cursory look at the penny auctions, etc seems like I’d be opening myself up to a world of fraud. Are there any auction sites you’d specifically recommend?

      Of course, I understand if you would like to keep your secret secret 🙂

  • Mary

    It just occurred to me that posting the link I posted may have been a mistake. I thought you would get a kick out of it but I have realized I may have made a mistake. However I cannot delete it now. I am so sorry! Feel free to delete it if you like. Sorry!

  • Paul C

    Great idea, but why oh why does it have salt and yeast measured by volume ? It would also be great to see proper bakers percentages listed.

    I don’t have an iPAD so I’ll have to wait for the iphone app.

    Have you thought about doing a subscription based website with the same information for the same price?

    • ruhlman

      Good question. The thinking was that was easier to measure salt and yeast by volume if you’re weighing in american units. Otherwise it would be something like .4 ounces salt, .2 ounces yeast. If you want those items by weight, you can always measure in grams. So people have both options.

  • Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    This looks like a very, very cool and useful app. I don’t have an iPad either – yet! – but I have never understood the bitter undertones from iPad-less (or is it iPad averse?) commenters on various blogs. If you don’t like the iPad, don’t get one, but don’t complain about the fun other people are having with it. And if you really want one but can’t afford it, sacrifice, scrimp and save until you can.

  • Carrie

    My mother in law won an iPad in a raffle and gave it to me for Christmas, or I would never have one. I don’t think you need to apologize for anything. I normally would not own something this expensive, but I also wouldn’t begrudge the rest of the world moving forward technologically, whether I can afford to keep up or not.

    I have been so excited for this app!! I’ve been strategically planning a very bready superbowl Sunday this year in anticipation. Bruschetta for everyone!

  • Carol

    An iPad is about the same price as a KitchenAid stand mixer. On a cost/use basis my iPad is much cheaper than my KitchenAid – I use the iPad many times a day, the mixer maybe once a month. Perhaps some people also consider a KitchenAid stand mixer prohibitively expensive, but it may put it in a different perspective for those that have one.

    As a “mature adult” that has moved into the age of requiring reading glasses, I love the larger format of the iPad vs. the iPhone. Especially when trying to follow directions in the kitchen.

  • Luanne Iwan

    Measuring liquids? When you say ounces do you mean by weight, or literally by liquid ounces ie: 30ml=1oz?

  • Winniekimmers

    I don’t have an iPad…but I did spring for a good digital scale and CIA towels as recommended…I will keep cooking and reading your blog until I become obsolete…ad I hope that doesn’t happen too soon a I just last year invested in an iTouch….

  • Etienne

    The app is great. Obviously it is possible to get similar information from books, but an interactive app works very well in the kitchen. I appreciate the photographs for each step.

  • Jonathan

    Ok. Don’t have an Ipad (yet). Still say this is a great ideas and once again shows that you do some pretty great things in the world of food.
    I’d gladly buy an Iphone version if you ever decide to do it. Does the Ipad version have video clips of you giving advice?

  • Doug Wade

    I’ve gotten good use out of this app – I’d never use a laptop in the kitchen but the iPad works well for this. No keyboard to fill with flour! And I’m absolutely delighted that sourdough was an option.

    I did find the choice to do salt by volume a bit odd since different salts vary so much…..

  • Adrian

    I love your work and the app , are you going to expand the bread baking app to show people how to use the Le Creuset pot technique and also include recipes/guidance for making ficelle, bread rolls and focaccia


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