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Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads: Sweet and Savory Baking for Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond Paperback – November 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Review

STARRED REVIEW
Baking Artisan Pastries and  Breads: Sweet and Savory Baking for Breakfast, Brunch, and  Beyond
Hitz,  Ciril (Author)
ISBN:  159253564X
Publisher: Quarry Books
Published:  2009-11
Binding/Price/Pages: Paperback, $24.99 (176p)
Subject:  Cooking | Courses & Dishes | Bread
Including step-by-step process photos of  techniques, award-winning pastry chef and teacher Hitz ("Baking Artisan Bread") provides a solid foundation for bakers to produce  professional-looking baked goods. Following an introduction that  discusses ingredients, equipment, and techniques, recipes (from  breakfast muffins to lemon brioche doughnuts) are progressively  presented from the easiest to the more complex. Listed ingredients  are measured in metric, weight, and volume. Also included are  conversion charts; lists of online resources, tools, equipment, and  organizations; and a glossary. An excellent plus is the 20-minute  instructional DVD, which teaches advanced methods such as rubbing,  creaming, and blending. Highly recommended for beginning bakers.  - Library Journal, December 15, 2009

About the Author

Ciril Hitz is the Department Chair for the International Baking and Pastry Institute at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, after which he returned to his native Switzerland and completed a three-year apprenticeship as a Pastry Chef/Chocolatier. He was first introduced to bread baking while in Europe, which laid the foundation for the skills that led him to where he is today. Hitz has been recognized nationally and internationally with numerous awards and accomplishments. He was selected as a Top Ten Pastry Chef in America in both 2007 and 2008 by Pastry Art & Design magazine. In 2004 he competed in the National Bread and Pastry Team Championship, winning the overall team Gold Medal as well as all individual bread awards. He was a member of the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA that competed at the 2002 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in Paris, France, where the team captured the silver medal. He has been a guest instructor and expert at many national and international culinary events and schools and serves on the Advisory Board of the Bread Bakers Guild of America. Ciril Hitz is frequently seen on The Food Network and has been featured on the NBC's The Today Show. His work has graced the pages of numerous magazines and the interiors of exhibition halls and museums, including COPIA in Napa, California. He is the producer of his own line of educational DVDs. For more information on his work, visit www.breadhitz.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Quarry Books; Pap/DVD edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159253564X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592535644
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Terzis on November 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the first book by Mr Hitz that I have purchased and I am certainly not sorry that I did. It is something that, to my knowledge, has not been attempted before, that is, write a whole book only on breakfast pastries/breads. Usually breakfast is just one section of a book, not the whole.

The binding is not exactly softcover as the book description states but turtleback, which combines the hardback binding with a laminated cover.
It includes an informative DVD that describes the basic procedures and methods. I only wish its case was not glued to the back of the first page, as it tore some of the paper. Happily it does not show until you open the cover.

This book could have easily been called "The complete dummy's guide to baking artisan pastries and breads". It is definately geared towards making these goods easy and accesible to everyone and it describes every aspect and detail in a way one would teach a complete novice or a child. So if you are not confident about your skills this is the book for you.
The pages are gloss and there are many photos of the products and the procedures. Also there are photos of all the ingredients and equipment.

The book is divided into 2 sections:
1) BASICS
Ingredients
Equipment
Techniques

2)BAKING
Quick breads,muffins and scones
Enriched dough
Laminated dough
Fillings, glazes, toppings and spreads

The Basics section is quite extensive having 65 pages. All the ingredients and equipment are thoroughly discussed and the whys and hows of the techniques are revealed and explained.
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Format: Paperback
I bake a LOT. Hitz has excellent discussions of technique that I found very helpful - and well worth the price of the book for someone refining their technique. Photographs as particularly helpful. I love the section of glazes and fillings - this, again, is worth the price of admission.

I think this book (like Hitz's book on bread) has three major limitations.

First, the proofreading is terrible and errata have not yet been released. For example, I just finished making the carrot cake - an expensive recipe that calls for both almond and hazelnut flour. First, it called for 3 Tbsp of baking soda when I am fairly positive he really wanted 3 tsp (you could taste the sodium in the final product - and yes, I sifted before mixing). Second, it says it will make 1 loaf, but actually makes two at the pan size he specs (I made 12 muffins and a full loaf pan). It has been my experience in all the recipes that Hitz's weight measures (which is how he bakes) are correct. The volume measures are erratic. That's too bad, because I weigh most things - like flour - but find it easier to use cups and tsps for things like water and tiny amounts like baking soda. I keep thinking it shouldn't matter for the water, but it does. You can't switch columns and I would follow his advice and weigh - that's what he's proofread.

Second, The visual layout of the book makes it hard to follow and easy to make a mistake. You can do it well, but need to really concentrate to follow along. I think this is because it's more of a textbook than a cookbook.

Third, and most importantly, the recipes are okay, but not extraordinary. I have made several recipes from each section of the book. The fillings, glazes and topics are excellent.
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Format: Paperback
Owing to its humble approach, it would be easy to dismiss this book as one written solely for the home baking enthusiast. Do not be fooled or misled. Professionals and beginners can glean valuable nuggets of information from Hitz's latest book and come away inspired after reading it. Its simple presentation belies the vast wealth of information based on his experience as an educator and champion baker.

The concepts, principles, and techniques are accessible to beginners without boring more experienced bakers. Without proselytizing, Hitz reels readers in with his unbridled love and enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge and experience with his audience. Well written and even self-deprecating at times, the book captivated me much like a novel with its twists and turns as it presented riffs on traditional baked goods and introduced innovative products and techniques. From the rustic home style products to the regal croissant, it is all covered here.

The formulas are presented in metric and imperial weights in addition to volumetric measurements making them useful to anyone anywhere. The photos, including the process shots, are helpful and beautifully composed. The accompanying DVD fills in the blanks and answers any questions one might have before, during, or after baking the products, and the resources and conversion tables at the end of the book are nice additions. I am thrilled to have this book on my shelf, but even more so to have it on my kitchen counter.

This is one of the most understandable books I own on baking. Dollar for dollar it is one of the most valuable.
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