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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book for the professional or serious amateur, but not the average home cook
This is a very thorough and well-written book, which is sponsored by one of the most respected cooking schools in the world: Le Cordon Bleu. Please note that this book is not for the occasional home baker/cook, but rather for the professional or serious amateur.

First off, one of the most important aspects of this book that may surprise people is that most of...
Published on April 8, 2006 by Amazon Customer

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good in theory
If you are looking for good recipes, then this book is not for you.
But if you just want to know how to operate a bakery or just want to have an idea of how to bake and decorate basic recipe then this book is for you.
The recipes are to be modified by you so that it can taste better. What is written in the book is just a general way of how to make it.
The...
Published on May 24, 2009 by P. Srimekhanond


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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book for the professional or serious amateur, but not the average home cook, April 8, 2006
By 
This review is from: Professional Baking, Fourth Edition (Hardcover)
This is a very thorough and well-written book, which is sponsored by one of the most respected cooking schools in the world: Le Cordon Bleu. Please note that this book is not for the occasional home baker/cook, but rather for the professional or serious amateur.

First off, one of the most important aspects of this book that may surprise people is that most of the recipes measure ingredients by weight (e.g., grams, ounces, pounds, etc.), NOT volume (e.g., cup, teaspoon, tablespoon, etc.). But don't let this turn you off--at least not yet. There is a very good reason for this. In order to make a consistently good product, you need to know that you're putting in the correct amount of an ingredient every time; and measuring by volume is NOT as accurate as measuring by weight. For example, I'm sure that most of us have made chocolate chip cookies at least once in our lifetime and have noticed that the recipe calls for lightly packed brown sugar. But how much do you pack it? I might pack some brown sugar into a measuring cup and think that it is "lightly packed", but another person's definition of "lightly packed" may be different and he/she might pack more brown sugar into the measuring cup. But if we both measured 8 oz. of brown sugar, no matter how we packed it, it would still be 8 oz.--no more, no less. Therefore, potential buyers of this book need to realize that purchasing a scale is almost a necessity in order to get professional results.

If baking is an occasional pastime or if measuring ingredients by weight is just not your cup of tea, then there are PLENTY of great cookbooks out there for the occasional baker that measure ingredients by volume. However, if you have the personality that wants and loves to try to make that absolutely perfect cake or pastry, then this book will help you do that.

Previous reviewers have complained that this book is "smoke and mirrors" and not for the home cook, or that the recipes were faulty and tasteless. To be fair, you have to take the book for what it is. The title is called "PROFESSIONAL Baking", not amateur, not home. It is very clear from the title that this book is not for everyone, especially with the weight/volume issue that I mentioned. As for the "faulty"/"tasteless" claim, my instructor has studied and worked in Hong Kong, France, and Austria. And in each class, she demonstrates each recipe and the results have always been spot on (which is more than I can say for myself and my classmates). Personally, I think that it is too easy to blame someone or something else; rather, I always look to myself first and then elsewhere. But enough of my two-bit philosophy.

One last thing that often confuses people and is probably the cause of many of their mishaps are the instructions regarding what baking pans and times to use. For instance, let's say that a typical recipe will make 5 lb. of dough, batter, whatever. The recipe will give you instructions and baking times for multiple baking pans (because professional bakers will use many different shapes and sizes depending on the job, right?). Therefore, the instructions will say that a 8-inch cake round needs 1 lb. of batter, that a 9x13x2 rectangular pan needs 2 lb. of batter, etc. But didn't the recipe yield 5 lb. of batter??? What the !@#$%??? This is confusing. How much do we make? What pan are we supposed to use? Let me explain: Since professional bakers use many different pans for the same recipe (e.g., a baker may make a chocolate cake in a 9-inch round or a full sheet, right?), they will adjust the recipe to get the exact amount of batter that they need for that particular job. So, if the recipe makes 5 lb. of batter and you only need 1 lb., then just divide all the ingredients by 5 and you'll get a yield of 1 lb. Or, just make the regular-size recipe and just weigh out 1 lb. of batter and make five of them. After you understand this, you'll begin to realize that it all is actually pretty simple and straightforward. I think that most people just don't like to weigh things or do a little math. They're just used to measuring by volume and having recipes designed to produce a single product, rather than multiple. And like I said before, that is perfectly fine and there are tons of great books out there that will suit that purpose.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for culinary students, August 28, 2004
By 
Lynn (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Professional Baking, Fourth Edition (Hardcover)
This was a required text in my baking class in culinary school. I must say the book is pretty heavy. However, it is well worth it because it has so much useful information that will help me when I'm working as a pastry chef later on. I also really liked the chapter on artisan breads. Some stuff in there, I haven't learned before. However, if you really want to know the kind of questions asked on baking class exams, I advise to also study the following:

Study Guide for Baking: Key Review Questions and Answers with Explanations by Melissa Heilman

Study Guide for Advanced Baking: Key Review Questions and Answers with Explanations by Melissa Heilman

Both these study guides helped me to get A's in my baking class and advanced baking class. Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen is worth the money because this helped me to form the foundation of my knowledge on the subject.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure, May 30, 2007
This review is from: Professional Baking, Fourth Edition (Hardcover)
Having read through what must be hundreds of cookbooks over the years, I was left with the ability to follow a recipe, but if i didn't have it on me, I could explain what incredients would be necessary and in what general quantities. After so many years of following instructions, I wanted to just learn the facts about baking so that i could understand better what I was doing and how to do it better. This book is perfect for that. For home cookers who are just interested in recipes, this is not the book for you. The recipes are written in a specific format that requires a good deal of reading into the book. They are formulated in bulk, i suspect because they expect that a professional baker would be needing more than a family's supply of these food items, so if you dont like doing the math to size down the formula, then this is also not the book for you. But if you have many questions about baking and want to learn more about the science of what you are doing (and perhaps learn to experiment and finally create your own recipes) then this IS the book you want. Le Cordon Bleu has trusted Wayne Gisslen with every version of this book, and for good reason. He knows what hes talking about and he knows how to communicate that to interested learners.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not necessarily for the novice..., December 26, 1998
By A Customer
I also had to purchase this book for culinary school. While this book can be difficult to understand, the quality of the instructor has a great deal to do with the user's comprehension of the subject matter. I find this an excellent book and continue to use it today (because I know how to make it work for me).
NOTE: The formulas in this book work, provided you have had proper instruction in how to use them, and in how to use Baker's Math to increase and reduce the yields.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful for the beginner (a self-study course), October 12, 2007
This review is from: Professional Baking, Fourth Edition (Hardcover)
I purchased a previous edition in '99 from a used bookstore. Looked like an excellent book although I was a bit put off by the measurements (oh boy, not measurements AGAIN! I hate math) Up until then, I'd only used a measuring cup, and not very well at that. I was not a culinary student. So I read a bit of it, got discouraged and put it down. But I've held on to it over the years. Besides I wasn't serious about baking, just the usual sweet potato pie or peach cobbler (my standard southern fare). Recently I decided to step it up a bit, dusted the book off and opened it up. WOW, what I've been missing all these years. I've read the chapters, studied the calculations and formulas, and purchased a scale, oven thermometer, regular thermometer, mixer, and a few other things. Because of all the baking I've been doing lately, I began to sell my goods. Business has been great. My pumpking pie is the best my customers have tasted. And when my cookies spread or are crunchy or soft, it's because I've controlled the recipe and the baking process. The recipes are perfect, spot on, and when I replicate the instructions in the beginning of the chapter, I get consistent results. Many times my customers say they don't eat sweets, because they are too sweet, but I have not had this problem here. There are a few techniques I wish I had an instructor to demonstrate to me, but for the most part, I've been doing quite well through trial and error. I'm working on chocolate now.

I recommend this book to anyone who understands or who wants to understand that the kitchen is a science lab. Makes me wish I'd paid more attention in math while I was in school!!. Good luck!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the future professional baker, September 25, 2004
This review is from: Professional Baking (Hardcover)
This is another of the books I use as reference for my cooking school. It contains recipes from Le Cordon Bleu schools and recipes from America. Most of the recipes are for large quantities and it is definately not a book for the home baker, this is a great reference book to be used in a professional pastry kitchen.

I particularly like this book because it gives you a basic recipe for let's say a bavarois cream, and then it gives you ten other variations (chocolate, coffee, strawberry, etc) that you can make by changing or adding one or two ingredients.

The instructions are clear and easy to follow.

I highly reccomend this book to anyone who is thinking of baking seriously.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book, January 7, 2008
By 
De Provence "Ty" (Heartland of the United States) - See all my reviews
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This is the version of the book published for the trade, not the standard or student version. It is a good book for anyone in the baking profession. The book has a cd included also with software that will track supplies for reordering, volume, recipes, etc. Each recipe is written clearly with ingredients listed as well as different options for scaling, presentation and make up suggestions. Anyone can benefit from the information and formulary in this book but the target audience is clearly the professional. It is a good reference volume for bakers and pastry chefs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I find this book very good, August 29, 2010
By 
willi (los angeles, ca) - See all my reviews
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This book has much valuable information about baking...it covers the different types of flour and when and why to use them, as well as the importance of using a scale when measuring ingredients. The recipes are good, and although this book is geared towards baking students and the portions might be larger than a home baker might want, this is where I have found that valuable information that other baking books tend to neglect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know baking & pastry book, August 26, 2008
By 
Michael Dj "sq_dsv" (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This is "THE" book for anyone that would like to know more about baking and pastry for professional and home cook also. It is pretty basic for a baking book, however, basic in baking are much, much more extensive than cooking (there are more things to follow in baking than cooking).

I lent this book to a friend of mine that has been baking for a years and she finds the instructions are quite easy to follow and her baking skills improved significantly.

For anyone that are a little intimidated with baking (like myself) I fully recommend this book to ease your pain into baking and hopefully enjoy it. Don't worry about all the different mixing methods and classifications of baking products in this book because you are not required to memorize all of them to be good in baking.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good in theory, May 24, 2009
This review is from: Professional Baking (Hardcover)
If you are looking for good recipes, then this book is not for you.
But if you just want to know how to operate a bakery or just want to have an idea of how to bake and decorate basic recipe then this book is for you.
The recipes are to be modified by you so that it can taste better. What is written in the book is just a general way of how to make it.
The good part is the part about how to decorate a cake, how to place the filling and layer the cake traditionally.

All in all i would say it is a good book if you are looking for theories and facts in general.
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Professional Baking, Fourth Edition
Professional Baking, Fourth Edition by Wayne Gisslen (Hardcover - April 6, 2004)
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