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The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking Hardcover – November 1, 2011

24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

For more than 25 years, the renowned French Culinary Institute at the International Culinary Center in New York City has been teaching the fundamentals of Western cuisine through its hands-on Total Immersion curriculum. With a world-class facility, a distinguished faculty, and a celebrated restaurant, the FCI is among the leading schools of its kind.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; First Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158479934X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584799344
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By John W. Graham VINE VOICE on February 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I consider myself an avid home baker. I like to bake breads, cakes and other desserts. Recently, I developed a desire to venture beyond the comforts of Brioche, Challah and basic white bread. I wanted to learn exactly what the title suggests: the fundamental techniques of classic bread baking. I also wanted to explore the breads of France, Italy and beyond in greater detail.

Buying this book and using it to teach yourself the FCI way of baking bread means that you will probably need to update some of your kitchen equipment. For me, I ended up buying a better digital scale, a couche, a dough rising bucket, a baker's peel, a better baking stone, some higher quality IDY yeast, and a several types of flour beyond "bleached all purpose" and "bread" flour. I still want to eventually get a pain de mie (pullman) pan, a La Cloche and other specialty baking items.

Armed with new ingredients and baking implements, I read the first several chapters on prep and theory. While I won't be using the Baker's Percentage any time soon in my home baking, this book did its best to introduce the concept (although I like Rose Levy Beranbaum's "dough percentage" concept better). After digesting all of the theory and technique discussions, I was eager to start baking bread. For full disclosure, I have a standard electric oven which goes up to 500F. I also have a 5 quart stand mixer. Aside from that and the basic equipment outlined in this book, I don't have any special commercial grade equipment.

My first gripe with the book is the usage of fresh yeast which is pretty much inaccessible to the average home baker.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eugen on April 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
After having taken a number of baking courses at Le Cordon Bleu it was wonderful to find this book which provided much of the same information gained from Le Cordon Bleu's bread baking courses but in a beautiful book. The book is actually the book used by the FCI and when reading it you see that it is indeed more textbook than typical cookbook, but that's just what I was looking for. I have many bread and pastry books but wanted something the provided an excellent collection of the practical aspects of bread making. I was relying on my notes from Le Cordon Bleu but my handwriting has only regressed courtesy of using a keyboard most days. So being able to verify a specific comment I left to myself by reviewing the practical aspects of a given type of bread has been most welcome.

I'd recommend this for anyone who's taken a course in the past and wants a more pleasant way to remember what they've been taught or as a great addition to the bread maker wanting to have the knowledge of FCI at their fingertips. The fact the course from FCI aligns so well with the ones I've taken at Le Cordon Bleu is a most welcome bonus.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Joanne on April 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a hefty book complete with a stitched-in satin bookmark, like the family bible has. This is the kind of book this is, massive and impressive for sure, but the pages read like a textbook b/c it is--if you read the full description of this book, it is meant for the culinary student sitting in class and turning pages in tandem w/the professor up front. That cuts both ways. A lot of info here, yes, but perhaps in a dry way that is too big on clinical and short on inspirational. In short, this book is made for the "student" of bread, not the home baker who wants ample info without feeling deluged w/every minute detail of information that makes it more like work than play. In that respect, the book doesn't pull you in, it tends to feel unapproachable and boring. THe words on the page are small and cluttered and hard to read, against textbook'ish.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Guillaume Slama on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In our restaurant, we knead and bake our bread ourselves. This book has helped us understand many technical aspects of the process, and has helped us create a better product. It is well illustrated and very well explained. A serious book for serious bakers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Vicious Babushka on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have Peter Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Assistant" and "Artisan Bread Every Day" and Maggie Glazer's "Artisan Bread Baking in America" which are good, but this book is the best! Clear, precise easy-to-follow instructions, beautiful illustrations and delicious recipes that you will want to make over and over again.

The main advantage that this book has over the other titles mentioned is the ease of use and the clear instructions. The only part that I found somewhat confusing was the verbose descriptions of how to shape the different forms of bread loaves. This could have been accomplished more effectively with more illustrations.

If you only get one bread book GET THIS ONE!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sean on March 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not for everyone. If you are a serious home baker than you can use this book. There is plenty of knowledge in the book besides the recipes. Do not worry if you do not have everything listed. If you do not have fresh yeast they give you the conversion for other types. Bread will cook on any pan so if you do not have every special pan they call for you can still make most of these breads.

I have spent over 10 years making recipes from the King Arthur cookbooks. I was not surprised by anything I saw in this book. I love the fact that it is a classroom type of book. It is loaded with anything you need to know about cream, butter, eggs, flours, etc. There are some easy recipes to start with. King Arthur all-purpose flour will work just fine for starting out if you can not find the bread flour. You will need a scale and good flour.
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