The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Italian Baker, Revised

Floydm's picture

The Italian Baker, Revised

Folks here will be interested to know that Ten Speed Press is rereleasing a revised version of Carol Field's classic bread book The Italian Baker.  It looks like The Italian Baker, Revised comes out in November.

I've never read Carol Field's book but I know it has been hugely influential.  I'm looking forward to finally having a chance to check it out.

freerk's picture

Wonderful! Great tip Floyd, thanks.

dmsnyder's picture

I initially based my order on the book's reputation too. Since then, I've seen some of Field's other Italian cookbooks, and they are wonderful. I bought "Italy in Small Bites" which has lots of recipes for bread and other baked goods. The biscotti about which I blogged a few months ago are from that book.

I'm looking forward to getting "The Italian Baker" too!


HMerlitti's picture

I just bought both books Dave after reading your comments.

hilo_kawika's picture

For those of you who don't mind used books, there are more than 20 copies of the original for sale on the website :

That's how I got my copy a year or so ago when it was mentioned in TFL...


Dave Hurd, Hilo, Hawaii


Cyberider's picture

I've had the original book since it was first published. Excellent! I wonder what's been revised?

Floydm's picture

The press release says "The Italian Baker, Revised has been updated with four-color photography, plus new equipment sections, sources guides, weights and measurements, and instructions for the natural yeast method."  It doesn't sound like a huge revision to me, just more of a refresh.  

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I have the original and it has been very useful and enjoyable.

We could use more Italian baking books.

Rosalie's picture

I have the original book, too.  Love it.  I'm curious as to what changes there might be.  If there's anyone here who will be in a position to compare when the time comes, please report.


SylviaH's picture

can't have to many great Italian cook books :)


Caperchick's picture

I agree with Sylvia, can't have too many Italian cookbooks. I didn't realize Carol had other Italian cookbooks. I'm going searching now! I have the Italian Baker and am looking forward to the new one. I wonder if she still uses her beloved Hammarblast bowl! It's where I first heard about that bowl. Thanks to a fellow Fresh Loaf blogger, I now have one too!

highmtnpam's picture

It was a gift from my wonderful sister-in-law.  It gives the weights of all ingredients with the exception of  liquids. I, too, am curious about what the changes will be (maybe weights of liquids?).  In 1988,  Carol Fields was saying that the three most essential things for bread baking were a scale, a stone, and a bread scraper. I had to order a dough scraper never having seen one.   She taught me almost everything I know about European style breads. King Arthur and the "Bakers Companion",  Carol Field and "The Italian Baker", were the only two cookbooks ( I added Raymond Claval) that weighted even some ingredients .  It also is one of those books that gives instructions for food processor, mixer and hand kneading. There were some great bread books out...George Greenstein and "The Jewish Baker," James Beard and "Bread" and Beatrice Ojakangas and "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book" .  There was also Julia Child and "Baking with Julia" but these last books used cups and tsp.   KA used the bastardized American system of using tsp and Tbsps for small amounts and weighing heavier ingredients like flour.  When BBA came out I was really doing the happy dance. I immediately bought a tiny scale and haven't looked back.  I stopped using all my older cookbooks, with the exception of The Italian Baker.  I think this book will make a great addition to any baker's  library. 


teketeke's picture

 Thank you for this information, Floyd. I am going to check it out.



Petek's picture

Here's a link to an article about the revised edition of The Italian Baker:

From the article:

The 2011 version includes a few key additions - notably color photographs, a second ciabatta recipe, a natural yeast recipe and both metric and U.S. customary units - but the content is almost identical, even as the state of Italian bread, both in Italy and in America, has changed.
dablues's picture

of the book.  Also received my copy of Inside The Jewish Bakery.  Can't wait to get started on "reading"

Jessica Weissman's picture
Jessica Weissman

I've worked from the original for many years, and bought the revised version largely to help support Ms. Field.   As others have said, not all that much has changed.  A few oddities from the original are gone, and there are a few new recipes, and the weight measurements are everywhere.  There's a revised and extensive list of mail order sources, including a couple I had not been aware of. 

The color photos are nice, but I miss the old cover with a zillion different breads on it.  The drawings showing technique are gone - there were only a few of them to begin with.

It's still an inspiring book.  I am spending today on two of the recipes - her ciabatta and the rye rounds.   I will probably have a container of her biga in my refrigerator for the next few months as I work through old favorites and find some new ones.

If you can find a copy of her book on Focaccia it is a worthy supplement to this one.  


Later:  I have found a few differences in the recipes, notably the Terni bread which has triple the amount of biga and half the water that it had in the old version.  There are probably more such differences and I'll note them here as I find them.

eatrustic's picture

 I agree that this is a very modest update. I would have thought that Ten Speed with their great reputation for publishing excellent baking books would have nudged Carol Field a bit more to take this to the next level -with recipes that were originally based on naturally yeasted doughs to be portrayed as such.

Perhaps it's the fact that she is not a professional baker that keeps her from wanting to go "natural"?

Jessica, you mentioned that the Pane di Terni was very different from the original book. In fact it is the identical recipe. Perhaps you were looking at another recipe?

One of the recipes I've found missing is for the Garibaldis  (raisin bars). These looked amazing on the cover of the old book but were almost impossible to make using the recipe. (I remember speaking to her at the time the first book came out and she admitted there were problems.)

The only other thing that I don't like about the new book is the fact that the recipes themselves are printed in a tiny font! -much smaller than the rest of the text. Most of her fans are getting older and I personally found it much harder (even with reading glasses) to read the recipes. Too bad, but all in all this is a great resource from a groundbreaking author and deserves to be reprinted.