Baking maven Beth Hensperger has died

We learned through cookbook author Rick Rodgers that acclaimed San Francisco Bay Area-based food writer, cooking instructor, and bread baking maven Beth Hensperger has died after years of declining health. An editor who worked with Hensperger confirmed her passing although there has not yet been an official announcement.

Hensperger’s long and varied writing career started in March 1985, when she was chosen as the guest cooking instructor for an issue of Bon Appétit Magazine. Since then she has written over twenty cookbooks, including the best-selling Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook series and The Bread Bible, winner of the 2000 James Beard Book Award in Baking. Hensperger was also twice nominated for an IACP Cookbook Award.

In addition to her much-loved cookbooks, Hensperger penned a food column called Baking with the Seasons for the San Jose Mercury News (which was nominated for a James Beard Award in newspaper journalism) for over 12 years until the newspaper downsized. She also wrote for other magazines including Cooking Light, Shape, Bon Appetit, and Family.

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  • SMcCreight  on  March 25, 2021

    Oh, what sad news! She wrote wonderful recipes, was generous with info and was a Facebook friend! I have several of her wonderful books!

  • Rinshin  on  March 25, 2021

    Very sorry to hear this. She lived in my community and used to follow her blog when she was still active.

  • bktravels  on  March 25, 2021

    I was so sorry to see this news. Beth Hensperger’s bread books from Chronicle, especially the beautifully designed and aptly named Bread, have always brought me joy even when I just glimpsed them on the shelf. My daughter became interested in baking a few years ago, and her very first loaf was a seasonal recipe from Breads of the Southwest. These books have been a pleasure we’ve shared, but I will feel a little sadness now whenever we take one down from the bookshelf.

  • ccav  on  March 25, 2021

    This is indeed sad. Her books are fantastic and so reliable. When using her recipes I always know that they will work. Love her bread books, slow cooker and rice cooker books. She made her mark!

  • Skamper  on  March 26, 2021

    This is sad news. When I started baking bread a few years ago her books were indespensable, and still are.

  • demomcook  on  March 26, 2021

    What a great loss to the cookbook community. I have many of her books in my collection, and my daughter has several as well. They are treasures – even more so now.

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