Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (December 17, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.5 x 10.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #8,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #13 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Baking > Bread #32 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Celebrities & TV Shows
I should be clear that I'm writing this as a younger professional baker who has focused on whole grains, at work and at home. I've only been doing this a couple years and I have a lot to learn. Overall I highly recommend this book and am happy that I purchased it. The recipes are good, the proportions have been well researched, and after doing a dozen or so I'm very happy with what I've eaten and learned. Tartine Bread is what got me into bread baking in the first place and in many ways changed the direction of my life. With that said, I have some constructive criticisms of the new book - I focus on the bread section, I'm not interested in pastry.And an aside: I see in other reviews beginning bakers who had difficulty - I don't think this is a book for beginners, start with Tartine Bread, and even then only if you are dedicated. These methods make the best breads that exist, but not without a learning curve.The flaw of this book, and of many baking books and the food publishing industry in general, is that they are simply recipe books. Recipes are nice, they give you a place to start, and they slowly but surely add to one's intuitive knowledge - but they don't teach you much about the big picture. I was really really hoping that this book would build on Tartine Bread in that direction. Tartine Bread laid out a good foundation, both in technique and in some background theory, but it left me wanting so much more. I had high hopes that this book, focusing on whole grains, would have dived deeper into the nuances of naturally leavened baking, both in general and with the variety of different grains.There are some simple examples: He has bumped up the salt percentage to 2.5% from the 2% used in Tartine Bread. Why?
I love this book. I love Chad and Tartine, too. He's a fantastic baker, and a great guy, and I enjoyed meeting him in his esteemed bakery. I own the first Tartine book and had this one pre-ordered for months before it just arrived in time for the holidays. This morning I made the Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies and they are simply awesome. I've already read most of the book and I'm going to have quite a bit of fun with many of the recipes. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has at least moderate baking experience and wants to go to the next level with recipes that use whole, ancient grain flours and cultured milk and cream such as kefir.The reason I'm giving taking a star off the rating for this book is that it needs attention in the accuracy of some of the recipes. I'm going to point one as an example. The Chamomile-Kamut Shortbread recipe was obviously not given enough attention to detail by the editor. It asks for 10g of chamomile flowers to be infused into 53g of honey. Well, that's great on paper, but trying to do this in reality produces a sticky mess of the worst quality. You'll end up with almost all of your honey being bound by the flowers and/or tea-bag you're using. You may be able to squeeze out 1 tablespoon out of the original 1/4 cup quantity of honey. The recipe goes on to tell you to "Remove the chamomile and discard." Then it never tells you what to do with the chamomile infused honey. And later at the end tells you to "then fold in the lemon zest and chamomile flowers". Well, for someone with experience it's not going to be a problem to figure out to whip the honey with the butter and ignore the chamomile flowers instruction, but for someone relatively new to baking it would be a problem.
Chad Robertson explains in “Tartine Book No. 3” that “Tartine bread is built within a system that defines our approach to baking” (p. 32). This system is presented in a section called “Master Method for Tartine Loaves” that provides the underlying foundation for bread baking with this book. There are certain aspects of this method that have merit and for which I have some excitement for, yet I believe that parts of it are over-simplified and disappointing. Therefore, I wish to now join the ranks of the critical reviewers, but if it’s any consolation I can honestly say that my favorite bread book at least has a picture of Chad Robertson on the cover—although it was authored by someone else! Said book, “The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens” by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott, would be a great addition to your bread baking library if you decide to bake from Robertson’s Tartine books because it will help address some of the shortcomings of the Tartine method.One of the best things the Tartine method has going for it is the use of Dutch ovens for baking with. The rationale is well-explained in “Tartine Bread,” “Home bakers are faced with the challenge of saturating with steam an oven designed to ventilate moisture. I have tried many methods for steaming in a conventional home oven, from wet towels to boiling pots of water, but no matter how much steam was created, it was impossible to trap enough moisture needed to achieve results at home similar to those from a professional bread-baking oven….Using the dutch oven at home allows you to bake gaining the two main characteristics of a professional brick oven: a sealed moist chamber and strong radiant heat. The results are indistinguishable from those using a professional baker’s oven” (p. 66).
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