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This doesn't include collecting the base materials, or smelting, just the actual crafting process itself. For example, a cake requires two steps, as you have to craft three buckets for the milk, then combine with the wheat/eggs/sugar. A minecart with hopper requires 4 steps, as you have to craft the chest, the hopper, the minecart, then the minecart with hopper.

Is this the most complex crafting recipe, in terms of number of steps needed to craft? Or is there a recipe which needs 5 steps, or more?

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    Why the downvotes? This is a question that can be objectively discussed, surely? – Lou Jan 12 '16 at 17:11
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    I don't completely agree with the closing, but the title makes the question sound fairly subjective. Would probably be better to re-ask with the title "Which item requires the most discrete crafting steps to make?" or "Which crafting recipe requires the most unique items?". You may also want to define steps from what (what are the base materials?), if you're counting the shortest or longest possible crafting route to the item (for items that have more than one crafting recipe), and what counts as a "step" (crafting? smelting? breaking? planting then harvesting? trading?) – SirBenet Jan 12 '16 at 17:26
  • I've edited the title and question body to focus on just crafting steps required to create a recipe. Hopefully this is more answerable. – Lou Jan 12 '16 at 17:37
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    Better, though there's still ambiguity. Take the new boat recipe for example; how many "steps" would you count that as? Tree diagram. From what I'm seeing, you could count as many as 6 or as few as 3 steps. What counts as a "base material" is what I mainly mean. Are sticks a base material because they can be found in chests (and thus also most tools and armor)? – SirBenet Jan 12 '16 at 17:56
  • Hm, that's true... I didn't realise there was such ambiguity over terms. I'm not sure how best to proceed with this question then. – Lou Jan 12 '16 at 22:46
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As of 1.8.9 I strongly believe that the minecart with hopper is the longest recipe. Unless you count banners. There are banners with all kinds of designs and depending on the design will depend on the steps. Although for this you are adding on to the same item to create a better or worse one.

The book and quill takes 3 steps -The enchanting table takes 3 steps

but no other 4 step items

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    Hopper Minecarts are 5 steps: Planks, Chest, Hopper, Minecart, Hopper Minecart. – MrLemon Feb 14 '16 at 11:24
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    @MrLemon True, it appears I forgot that step. – Jason_ Feb 15 '16 at 1:55
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As of 1.14, Lectern beats Hopper Minecart. Lectern takes 6 steps:

  1. Log to planks
  2. Sugar Cane to Paper
  3. Paper and leather to book
  4. book and planks to bookshelf
  5. Planks to Slabs
  6. slabs and Bookshelf to Lectern

I'm not sure it's fair, but you could add rabbit hide to leather to make it 7.

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i think lodestone is one of the crafts that requires many steps

  1. in a crafting table, put 4 stones in a 2x2 manner to craft stone bricks
  2. make stone brick slabs
  3. make chiseled stone bricks
  4. make netherite ingot
  5. craft lodestone with 8 chiseled bricks and the netherite ingot

(you can also mine nether gold and craft gold ingots using gold nuggets)

(if you consider crafting furnace to cook items, that would add to another step) (if you are using wood planks as fuel, that would add to another step)

there's another that you may like to consider: arrow of invisibility

  1. use glass to make bottles (go to the end to get dragon's breath, and water bottles for brewing)
  2. make fermented spider eye and make potion of invisibility (then use dragon's breath to make lingering potion of invisibility) 3.chop wood and make planks
  3. make sticks
  4. make arrows
  5. craft arrow of invisibility

( if you consider crafting furnaces, eye of ender, blaze powder, pickaxes, crafting tables, armour, bow, fuel[coal blocks or wood planks], food or maybe golden apples to get to the end, that would be many crafting steps)

if you get sticks from dead bush, crafting of sticks won't count.

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