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Artisan Breads at Home (at Home with The Culinary Institute of America) Hardcover – January 12, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An illustrated guide for anyone who wants to master the art of baking delicious artisan breads at home

This addition to The Culinary Institute of America's "At Home" series is perfect for home bakers who want to go beyond the basics to create delicious artisan breads. Backed by the CIA's expertise, Eric Kastel leads readers through simple and challenging recipes from Baguettes, Peasant Bread, and Ciabatta to Cheddar Onion Rye Rolls, Coffee, Cake, and even Sourdough.

In addition, Artisan Breads at Home provides thorough explanations of ingredients-including flour breakdowns and chemical reactions-easy-to-understand terminology and definitions, and a detailed equipment guide.

  • Includes tips, troubleshooting answers, and nearly170 full-color photos of techniques and finished breads
  • Covers the basics of bread making as well as advanced techniques-from lean dough breads and rolls to flat breads and enriched doughs
  • Author Eric Kastel, CMB, CHE is now Senior Manager of Bakery Projects at Panera Bread and a former associate professor of baking and pastry arts at The CIA. He has also been the head baker for Whole Foods and Bread Alone.

Artisan Breads at Home is the ideal resource for home bakers who want to take their baking to the next level of complexity and taste.

Recipe Excerpts from Artisan Breads at Home


Baguette with Poolish

Flatbread with Sun-Dried Tomato and Asiago Cheese

Rustic Rye Bread

From the Inside Flap

There are few joys in life as simple yet profound as taking that first bite from a lovingly baked loaf of bread, the crust crackling between your teeth. Maybe you've dreamed of baking a boule, a baguette, or a brioche yourself, but assumed it would be too difficult. Well, fear not. You do not need to be a baking expert to make fine artisan breads at home. All it takes is the knowledge of ingredients, equipment, and techniques found inside this book.

Backed by The Culinary Institute of America's expertise, Certified Master Baker Eric Kastel takes you by the hand and gently guides you through the mysteries of bread baking. Beginning with a thorough discussion of ingredients and equipment, Chef Kastel explains everything from how to shop for flour to how to use a shower cap during the dough's rise. From there, he outlines the twelve steps of bread baking, describing each one in detail. With these steps in mind, you'll be set to mix, shape, and bake anything from ciabatta to rye bread, challah to pizza dough. And once you've mastered these basic breads and are inspired to try something more complex, Chef Kastel will demonstrate advanced techniques such as how to build a sourdough starter from scratch, which you can then use to create more than a dozen varieties of sourdough.

Packed with tips, troubleshooting advice, and step-by-step photographs, the chapters include:

  • Basic breads and rolls: Using little more than flour, water, yeast, and salt, you can bake Kaiser Rolls, Rustic Rye Bread, Whole Wheat Bread, and the most deliciously simple White Bread you'll ever taste.

  • Enriched breads and rolls: Made with butter, eggs, sugar, or other additions for a softer crust and a more tender crumb, these recipes include Ham & Provolone Rolls, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread, Cottage Dill Buns, and even several coffee cakes.

  • Flatbreads: Lightly leavened with yeast, puffed up with steam, or rolled as thin as parchment, these old-world favorites include Lavash, Paratha, Grissini Breadsticks, Pita, and Tortillas.

  • Advanced artisanal breads: Learn to make and use starters like pâte fermentée, sponge, biga, poolish, and sours to bake Peasant Bread, Apple Cinnamon Epi, Fougasse, Bagels, and more than a dozen varieties of sourdough.

  • Advanced enriched breads: These rich, complex breads include Panettone, Focaccia, Hot Cross Buns, Gugelhopf, and a spectacular six-braid Challah.

Whether you're a beginner or already an accomplished baker, Artisan Breads at Home with The Culinary Institute of America provides everything you need to bake a perfect loaf of artisan bread.

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Product Details

  • Series: at Home with The Culinary Institute of America (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (December 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470182601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470182604
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Grandma TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is my original review. It is a rare thing that I change a review, but this time I'll eat my words. Please read my update below!

************************

Whether you are just beginning to explore the craft of bread baking or, like me, have been baking bread for more than forty years, you will find a lot to like in the pages of Artisan Breads at Home. Nearly identical in size to Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, Eric Kastel's new book is much lighter on theory and offers a wider selection of recipes. Wherever you happen to be in the world, this will be a book that you can easily put into immediate use. All recipe measurements are given in grams, ounces, US volumetric (measuring cups) and baker's percentages. (See my update!)

Kastel teaches at the Culinary Institute of America and that comes shining through in the pages of Artisan Bread. You'll find lots of explanatory notes, helpful pictures and an invaluable section in the back that illustrates a number of braids and knots useful for specialty breads like Kaiser Rolls and Challah. If you're looking for a gift for a beginning bread baker, you would not go wrong with Artisan Breads at Home - and I suspect that my youngest daughter will find one on her doorstep quite soon.

So, why did I give this book 4 stars instead of 5? (Now reduced to 1 star - and it should be no stars!)

* The typeface is too small for my older eyes.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kate on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I will give this book props for nice photography and mouth-watering sounding recipes. I really, really wanted to enjoy some of the recipes from it. However, actually trying to bake from it is a different story. I'm a fairly reasonably skilled home baker, and was expecting this book to improve my skill level. Instead, actually trying to cook from it was a most frustrating experience. Integrated recipes that weren't at the same scale, lack of definition of terms and use of non-standard terms, bad math, missing ingredients - this book has it all. After three strikes in three at-bats, I decided to call it quits on this one. I'm afraid it has just missed the mark in terms of home kitchen usability.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By AbeFromanSausageKing on January 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have to totally disagree with "Grandma Robin." I have been baking my own bread for years, and this book has already proved a great asset. The recipes are fantastic, and I'm sure I will continue to revisit this book for years to come.

Given that weight is the most accurate way to measure when baking, I tried the recipes using Kastel's weight measurements, and everything worked out beautifully. I'm not an expert, and my Day of the Dead bread came out looking EXACTLY like the photo (p304). The directions are clear and easy to follow, and I found the type to be more than adequate---even with my 67 year-old eyes.

I highly recommend this book and will be on the look-out for other "At Home" books from the CIA.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kim Garland on February 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have never baked bread prior to using this book. I was so motivated by the pictures that I really wanted to give it a try. I took a leap and invested in all the right equipment, making the average cost of my first loaves very pricy. I was willing to make the investment in time and money if it yielded fine quality bread from my oven.

I started with the BAGUETTE WITH POOLISH - my husband is from Poland so I thought this would be a great start. As a beginner I did exactly what Kastel recommended - I read and re-read before starting. Then I followed the instructions exactly - using grams since this seemed to be the most accurate measurement. The result, not very tasty - my father-in-law (visiting from Poland) said it needed more salt. I think he was being kind - it needed more flavor over all.

But I was not to be deterred. So I made the STICKY BUNS - as the reviewer above already noted, I was super surprised on how many they made and had to find a second pan to make them in. And as the other reviewer found, the quantities were not proportional for the pan smear or the filling so I ended up with extra. The other potential pitfall is it doesn't forewarn you to make the cinnamon filling a day ahead since it needs an overnight in the refrigerator. Aside from the minor issues, these turned out fantastic! OMG, they were great.

With a renewed sense of confidence I plowed forward and made the KAISER ROLLS - I may have a more recent version of the book than the above reviewer, but the instructions were perfect on how to knot the roll - however, it does refer you to the appendix to see how it is done. These also turned out perfect and very delicious.

I was feeling like a master baker at this point!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This treasure is part of the "At Home" series from the Culinary Institute of America. If you like to cook and want to bake a variety of fine breads and pastries, this is the resource for you. The book is carefully laid out so home cooks (like me) can get started with basic breads and rolls with lean and then enriched dough. We are taught how basic dough can be used, adapted and transformed for a variety of baked goods.

Before we get baking though, the authors, Eric Kastel and Cathy Charles, explain to us what Artisan Bread means, the ingredients we will be using, the basic terminology, and the kinds of equipment we will need to have the best chances for success. I love their encouragement to learn by doing and to not be discouraged if things don't work out at first. As the book notes, dough is a living thing and only experience will teach the baker how to understand what is happening to the dough and how to handle it properly to get the kind of bread we want under varying conditions.

We then get a VERY helpful chapter on the basics of bread baking. We are shown how to weigh ingredients, mix them, ferment (proof) them, fold them, divide the dough, pre-shape the bread, what bench rest is about, final shaping, how to do things like add seeds to the outside of the bread or wash it with egg, final fermentation, scoring the bread, baking the bread, cooling it and then the technique for slicing it. We also are giving instructions on how to best store the bread we have spent so much effort to make. Of course, if your house is like mine, fresh bread is devoured before it gets much of a chance to get old. One pages 4 & 5 he discusses using malted barely, but he states the properties of diastatic and non-diastatic malted barley exactly the opposite of what those who sell it say.
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