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News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advanced Bread and Pastry

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SteveB's picture
SteveB

Advanced Bread and Pastry

Having just finished reading the chapters pertaining to bread in Advanced Bread and Pastry by Michel Suas, I have to say that this book has already become my favorite from among all the bread books in my collection. 

While those who bake by 'feel' might not appreciate the detail into which the book delves, I believe those who take a 'scientific' approach to bread baking will find the book invaluable.  The discussion of short, improved and intensive mixing protocols and their relationship to bulk fermentation times and yeast quantities is, in itself, worth the price of the book.  

The book is not so much a collection of recipes (although it does contain a large number of them) as it is a complete education in bread and pastry baking, thus providing a jumping-off point for the baker to create his/her own recipes.  It almost seems as if the book was written to serve as the text for the Bread and Pastry Professional Training Program taught at the SFBI, of which Suas is the founder.  Although the book seems to be written with the professional baker in mind, I think that home bakers, like myself, will find a wealth of information which will serve them well in the family kitchen.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Thanks for the review!  Having met Michel nad having been at SFBI for Camp Bread, I found both Michel and SFBI very impressive.

 

Also... does he talk about the impact of water quality on bread dough?

 

Mike

 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

He does to the extent that he describes the effect hard and soft water have on dough strength, though no specific fixes for overly soft or hard water are mentioned. 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

In reviewing the text once again, I noticed a short paragraph that suggests the use of commercial yeast nutrients, the option I originally mentioned, to overcome the problems associated with overly soft water. 

holds99's picture
holds99

SteveB,

Appreciate your posting.  I'll check out the book.  It sounds like the kind of information in which I would be very interested.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

saintdennis's picture
saintdennis

 The book "Advanced Bread and Pastry" is very good book,read it slowly and try make some recipes from it and you will love it.I made a few recipe from it and I love the book very much.

                                             Saintdennis

holds99's picture
holds99

SteveB and Saintdennis,

Thanks for your reviews and comments re: Advanced Bread and Pastry by Michel Suas.   Well, I did it.  I just ordered it from Amazon (not cheap at US $53.56).  I rationalized buying it, by saying to myself it's cheaper than filling up my car at the gas station.  Yeah, I know---pretty convoluted logic.  Anyway, I'm really looking forward to receiving the book, begin reading and doing some serious baking using Suas' recipes. 

I already have a large collection of baking and cook books but, I swear, baking is addictive...in a very positive sort of way---can't get enough; books, couches, bannetons, gadgets, pans, etc.  Still haven't sprung for the salt scale that Trish found on-line from England...but who knows, with all those yeast spores floating around in my kitchen I may get crazy one day and order a salt scale to complement my sterling silver truffle shaver and gold sommelier cup, both of which are kept in a large Mosler safe...NOT!  :-)

Anyway, I'll let you know about the book after I've had a chance to read and do some baking from it.

 Howard - St. Augustine, FL

holds99's picture
holds99

Steveb and Saintdennis,

Thanks to you both for encouraging me to purchase the book.  I just received it and have only looked through it, but it's an incredible book.  Can't wait to really begin reading it and baking some of the recipes  More later.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

audra36274's picture
audra36274

Amazon did you well! Let us know what goodness comes out of it- by way of your oven!

                                                                                     Audra

holds99's picture
holds99

Audra,

I was really surprised.  To top it off it came with free shipping.  Maybe someone at Amazon made a mistake and sent it "next day".  They didn't bill me for shipping so I'm happy as a clam.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

kanin's picture
kanin

Is there an online place where I can do a preview of inside of the book? I'm really interested and the local bookstores don't have any copies.

 

http://www.applepiepatispate.com

holds99's picture
holds99

Kanin,

It's a beautiful, thick, hardback book, 8 1/2" X 11", containing 22 chapters, 1,041 pages (including: Appendix, Glossary, Subject Index and Formula Index) with lots of color photos, including photos showing some step-by-step procedures.  At some point, unless someone else does it first, I will try to post a summary of its contents.  It's going to take me a while to get through it though.  At first glance it reminds me of a Gastronomique for bakers.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Kanin, Amazon has a long review of the book which includes a content list.

The reviewer includes a couple of minor typos found.

 

 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Good review.  I read it and mostly agree with his/her critique.  Only problem with the reviewer is he/she states: "Some recipes (not many) use shortening, a blasphemy against both health and taste."  Don't know how anyone is going to make croissants, pain au chocolat and brioche without butter.  Maybe the reviewer is, as Julia Child used to say, a closet food terrorist :-)

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

audra36274's picture
audra36274

It makes me want the book right now!

                                                             Audra

kanin's picture
kanin

Gastronomique for bakers huh? Sounds good to me...

Can you please tell me what types of measurements for the ingredients are inside? Can't find any info anywhere. 

Thanks,

 

 

http://www.applepiepatispate.com

holds99's picture
holds99

The author, Suas, gives the measurements for ingredients for each recipe/formula in the following:

1. Bakers percentage
2. Kilograms
3. U.S. decimal
4. Pounds and ounces

This book covers many things; history of baking, food safety & sanitation in the bakery, etc. along with a detail explanation of the 10 basic steps in the systematic process of bread baking, detailed instructions and many recipes and many color photos.   As I said, I have only begun to read it but, as Saintdennis said, it is a book for professionals and serious home bakers.  Although it covers numerous baking techniques it also appears, as does gastonomique, to assume that the user understands what they're doing when it comes to baking.  There are certainly more fundamental and more detailed books for entry level bakers available than this one.  However, for many of the bread bakers on TFL this book would not cause problems baking the bread recipes/formulas found here. 

However, with pastry, well, that's a whole different ball game.  As part of my curriculum I studied pastry when I was in school in France and it is a very specialized field, which I am out of touch with and am not really competent to comment on.  I would have to "check" to a pastry chef, like Saintdennis, on that section of the book.  Having said that, I quickly checked the Pastry Section and over half the book (approximately  600 pages) are devoted to pastry.  Looks like Part 4: Pastry gets the Full Monty :-)  Everything from cookies to Red Velvet Opera Cake.  Amazing stuff.  "Garcon, encore 250 Gateau l'Opera, avec cafe au lait, pour mon TFL amis, s'il vous plait."  I'll probably get a note from Jane or David on my French :-(

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

saintdennis's picture
saintdennis

 Kanin,

 this book is for professional bakers and Pastry chefs not for beginers. The measurements are in ounces and pounds.Second the very good book is "The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg.This two books are very good investment.Read them slow and you will learn to bake the breads and pastry. I'm the Pastry Chef.

                           Saintdennis

kanin's picture
kanin

Thanks for the reviews and information guys. I just wanted to make sure that there was both metric and lb measurements since I tend to lean on one or the other depending on what I'm measuring. I use grams for sal/yeast and lbs-ounces for flour, for example.

I also had my eye on the Friberg book, but Suas' book seems like the better deal if I had to pick one. I do have some experience with breads and a smidgen with pastries but want to take it to the next level.

Thanks! Will be placing my order soon. Hope to compare notes with everyone.

http://www.applepiepatispate.com

saintdennis's picture
saintdennis

 Kanin,

  if you buy Friber book,buy volume 1 & 2. I have both and is it very good reference, but you must study them.Some people they buy the books just colect them.I think those two books are best.

 

                              Saintdennis

kanin's picture
kanin

Just received the book from Amazon. The book is simply amazing. The photography is excellent. The amount of detail in the subjects covered is a bit much right now, but I know it will eventually become useful as I get more experience.

 

http://www.applepiepatispate.com

holds99's picture
holds99

I am so glad that you really like the Advanced Bread and Pastry book.  I have always been reluctant to recommend restaurants, movies or books because one person's delight may be another person's misfortune.  Anyway, I collect cook books and baking books and literally own a hundred cook books and about a dozen or so baking books and this book by Michel Suas is a world class book that a serious home or professional baker can use for a lifetime. 

Incidentally, for more than 20 years I searched for a copy of the cookbook THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING (1962) by the contemporary masters of the cuisine (created by some of  the great chefs of France).  This book contains 3,760 recipes, nearly the entire repertoire of haute cuisine and is a collectors item.  The reason I mention this cook book is because Michel Suas book reminds me, (with its illustrations, formulas and completeness) very much of this classic book of French cuisine.

Good luck and have fun with your new book.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Desert Baker's picture
Desert Baker

This excellent book has one serious flaw.  It's too big and too heavy to read in bed.  In fact, it's almost too heavy to read just sitting in a chair.  It's quite massive.


 


I've had it for a week or two and I've just flipped through it, reading bits here and there.  It's a beautiful book with very high production values and I think I'm going to really enjoy it.  I've read enough to swear that I'm going to make my own puff pastry one of these days.


 


Desert Baker - Lancaster, CA

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I also finally got a copy of the book, and I have finished reading the bread part of it. It's a quite heavy tome, and it packs lots of useful information about the bread baking process. Similar to Steve, I also found the parts about mixing very interesting to read. In addition, it covers various pre-ferments very well, it has a great part about scoring bread, and the layout and illustrations are all helpful. There's also a decent section on sourdough. This part of the book is probably very similar to the content of a new book by Daniel DiMuzio (Bread Baking), so those unwilling to splurge might want to hold out for that one instead.


I was pretty disappointed about the bread recipe selection in Suas' book. There are lots of creative, nice looking breads, but most of them are very heavy on wheat flour, and precious few of them are based on wholewheat, rye, spelt or semolina. Is this related to the American bread market? I'm curious, since the book seems aimed towards the budding bakery professional? Or perhaps it's due to the author's French origin? Personally, I think the recipe section could benefit greatly from more diversity, with more wholegrain, wholewheat and rye breads included, especially since there's also a growing interest in more healthy bread varieties.


To conclude, I think the bread baking theory was neatly presented, with lots of useful information for pros and home bakers alike, but the recipe selection left a lot to be desired.

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Hans, I tend to agree with your evaluation of the book.  I find it more valuable for the theory and technique content than for the recipes.  At least for the section on bread, I think the book was meant more as a "How to..." than a "What to...".


SteveB


http://www.breadcetera.com