I was wondering if anyone has this and could offer a recommendation / review for a regular and very interested home baker?
It's an interesting book and it's well worth reading, but I am not at all sure it is worth the insane $100+ they ask for it nowadays.
.... and it IS an interesting book (especially how Calvel finds pointy ends on baguettes "particularly irksome"), but I didn't find toooooo much in there applicable to the home baker. I didn't mind spending the extra bucks to have a "classic" as part of my bread book collection.
Still, if I had a chance, I'd get it autographed by the translator (since Dr. C. is no longer with us) :)
I knew someone would have it on this forum. Thank you for your comments.
I think I will buy it and have found it cheaper on line - I agree that it is expensive but am very curious about it. Are you glad you bought it? I like the pointy ends...
My curiosity was piqued when I found the second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia Child et al) had a bread making section in it to which Calvel contributed substantially.
I’m not so much after recipes as a better understanding of what occurs in the bread making process.
Then you'd be much better off with Advanced Bread and Pastry.
Are you glad you bought it? I like the pointy ends...
I'm glad I have it as a historical piece, but if I didn't have it, I wouldn't miss it from a day-to-day baking experience. And I, too, like the pointy ends (in spite of Dr. Calvel's "irkedness" with same").
If that's the case, in addition to the previous recommendation (which is a pretty hard-core, inf0-dense and textbooky kind of book), you might find DiMuzio's "Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective" useful too. DiMuzio's book does just as much teaching, but I found it a bit more accessible - he even talks you through the thought process to go through when developing your own formulas when you're ready.
Calvel was Julia Child's teacher for Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Thank you for these recommendations, I very much like the idea of the thought process you describe, so am intrigued,
A lot of the Calvel book is aimed at commercial french bakers who went through a period of additives, adulterated flour, and intensive (long) machine mixing, all of which he argues against as being detrimental to flavor (hence the title). The concept that transfers best to home baking is the autolyse. It reads like a text book, somewhat dry and very technical. Some of the best bits are McGuire's footnotes. Given that only parts of it are applicable to home or artisan baking, and that is has a high price, you may want to request it from a Library before taking the plunge. I found a copy through a local academic library.
Very good advice. I have so far only been able to glimpse small sections and consequently haven't been able tobut this work into context. Your observations help enormously.
Many people refer to the process of autolyse ocourse and I am curious to read more about it.Particularly about the structure of flours and alignment and development of gluten in sourdoughs. Harold mcgees work has been helpful here.
I will explore my local library. This has been flooded recently and is closed, so I will ave to e patient. (Cambridge floods)
Thanks for your considered thoughts,
I wanted to get back to this discussion to thank contributors; I have been as a result, reading and learning from DiMuzio's Bread baking, an artisans perspective. It explores the questions I have had about the theory behind my bread making.
Thank you for the recommendation. It is clear and well laid out and while It does read as a text book, it is exactly what I wanted.
I have a copy of Dr. Carvel's book; it is interesting but, I feel over-priced... If you are interested in the basic science of bread in a easily written format you might be interested in reading "Two Blue Books" by Emily Buehler. Here is the link to her web-site: http://www.twobluebooks.com/index.php where you can order a copy of her book. Also, you can read the "Excerpts & Errata" from her book plus reader reviews.
Don't get me wrong I enjoyed Dr. Carvel's book but, I feel that I gained far more insight reading "Two Blue Books" by Emily Buehler... I was looking how to improve flavor and crumb: this was the book that provided me with that "Aha" moment! I recommend Emily Buehler's book highly; it provide the home-baker reading her book with a wealth of information...
I mistakenly typed the name of Emily Bueler's bread book wrong; I re-typed the name of her website. The book title for her book is simply "Bread Science"
sorry about that...
We all have our favourite books; the ones we return to again and again. Thank you for your recommendation.
My favourite is ChadRobertson's Tartine bread book. I read and reread until I was ready to start making.
Its a joy to compare my process with this book to see how I'm developing as a bread maker. The DiMuzio works well in conjunction with that book. They both have helped me to retry some of Carol Fields Italian breads, notably the chocolate one, using levain.
I find that the more I understand, and this takes time, the more tuned my judgement becomes.
I am also very curious about Peter Reinhart's new whole grain bread book andparticularly about the soaking of the grains as a mash. However, I'm only about a third of the way through DiMuzios book and have found my crust improved and my crumb better.
I will have a close look at bread science.