Recipe from the book: Chocolate Indulgence Cookie
Advanced Bread and Pastry
It is rare for a book to come along of such importance, a book that is a great gift to a generation of culinary professionals, students, and dedicated amateurs. Not since the release of Bo Friberg's books The Professional Pastry Chef, and The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef, do I recall a release on the subject of Bread and Pastry that is so destined to become an enduring resource that inspires and educates a generation of bakers.
I must admit, I have often had thoughts of stopping the world for a little while and attending the San Francisco Baking Institute, a premier school of baking that has an outstanding reputation for leading the way in artisan bread baking.  It's a school that welcomes both pros and serious hobbyists, and offers five-day intensive courses, as well as longer professional programs. I've known people who have attended their bread courses and have given them rave reviews. SFBI also has an excellent reputation as expert on-site bakery consultants, helping turn struggling bakeries into outstanding bakeries.
And so, I was excited to read that SFBI was releasing a book, and rushed off to order a copy, expecting it to contain a few choice formulas and some interesting information about bread baking.  Well, the book that arrived far exceeded my expectations (which weren't exactly low to begin with).  The book is a 1043 page text, filled with a bazillion color photographs, of finished products and "how to" process photographs.  It is a superb teaching text, and every culinary student and instructor should get a copy immediately.
I was expecting a book mainly about bread, but with its full thirteen chapters on pastry, including everything from cookies to advanced chocolate and sugar work, this book is a comprehensive resource on both bread and pastry.  This is wonderful to see, as one of my pet peeves about the way pastry courses often teach bread baking, is that there are a few outdated and mediocre bread formulas with too much commercial yeast and a fast rise, as though bread was just about gluten and air, and flavor is an irrelevant part of the equation. Advanced Bread and Pastry devotes a full thirty five pages to the subject of fermentation alone, delving deeply into the wonders that can develop from the fermentation of the simple and humble ingredients of flour, water and salt, using natural yeast or commercial yeast.
Providing an excellent foundation in all aspects of the breadbaking process, this book will help make a real artisan baker out of the reader.  There are 127 pages of bread formulas, including some with natural leavens.  In addition to bakers' percentages, quantities are given for metric, U.S. Decimal, pounds/ ounces, as well as a small "Test" batch in ounces which makes a convenient size for home use.  The book also goes a little further than most books do in terms of its shaping techniques, introducing a few that are less common, providing a visual array of breads that will delight and sell well in today's marketplace.
The chapter on Viennoiserie is like nothing I've ever seen on the subject (note: in case the hoity toity term is not familiar to all of you, think Vienna, and croissants, brioche, and yeast-raised pastries loaded with butter, sugar, eggs, and all that slimming stuff).  It has excellent in-depth information, including useful examples of production schedules, which for a home baking enthusiast translates to "how to wake up to fresh baked brioche for breakfast."
To give you an idea of the formulas offered by this book's Viennoiserie section, for example, looking at croissants, there is a basic croissant dough recipe, then croissant with poolish, croissant with prefermented dough, croissant made with sponge, croissant with natural yeast starter, croissant dough for hand-mixing, whole wheat croissant dough, and whole wheat croissant made with prefermented dough. Then there's the recipes for the fillings, like fig, or praline- chocolate on the sweet side, and spinach- feta or ham and cheese on the savory.
For brioche, I tried the lightest formula, Brioche with Prefermented Dough, which has only 22% butter, which is quite low fat compared with my usual 50% butter (against the weight of the flour ).  To be perfectly honest, at less than half the butter, I thought they were going to "suck" a little and be rather un-brioche like.  They were fantastic, and were readily inhaled by my visiting family.
The chapter has good information on all the common Viennoiserie, and there are also other nice things in this section, such as various Pannetone, Pan d'oro, Columba di Pasqua.  I loved seeing a recipe for Gibassier, a Provencal specialty with candied orange peel, orange flower water, anise seed, butter, eggs, and olive oil. In addition to a typical Kugelhopf, there is an interesting Savory Kugelhopf, with lardons, walnuts, parsley, sautéed onions and Swiss cheese. I'm eager to try the author's Laminated Brioche, the photograph of them is sensational.
By the way, I must mention another feature of this book, the photography.  No typical food styling or "faking" of the photographs were done.  The photos are exactly as the final products appear. The book is exceptionally well done from a visual point of view, with no stingyness or holding back in terms of color photos. I also feel compelled to mention, in this day and age when publisher after publisher is having their books printed in China, this book is printed in the USA!
But back to the food!
For cookies, I had a request to make the Chocolate Indulgence Cookie.  A stellar formula!  I made them from 70% Lindt Ecuador, and free range organic eggs.  This is a formula with very little flour or butter, just  1 5/8 ounces of each in two pounds of dough. Vaguely reminiscent of a flourless chocolate cake, but without the greasy heaviness from butter.  I love a book where every formula I try becomes a favorite that I'll keep using again and again.  Not to mention the glee that comes from seeing a bakers formula that is 735.29% chocolate!
There is simply not enough space to delve into all the chapters in this review, I will leave you with a section summary, to demonstrate the depth, and a strong recommendation to check out this book:
PART 2 BREAD
Chapter 3: The Baking Process and Dough Mixing
Chapter 4: Fermentation
Chapter 5: Baking Bread
Chapter 6: Advanced Flour Technology and Dough Conditioners
Chapter 7: Alternative Baking Processes
Chapter 8: Bread Formulas
Advanced Bread and Pastry
|Dewey Decimal Number||641|
|Label||Delmar Cengage Learning|
|Manufacturer||Delmar Cengage Learning|
|Number Of Items||1|
|Number Of Pages||1043|
|Product Type Name||ABIS_BOOK|
|Publisher||Delmar Cengage Learning|
|Studio||Delmar Cengage Learning|
|Title||Advanced Bread and Pastry|