Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
eatrustic

"The Italian Baker" by Carol Field - the new edition

Recommended Posts

The original The Italian Baker was a groundbreaking book with it's well researched recipes and techniques on rustic Italian breads and pastries. It was a huge influence on my style of baking and I'm excited to see there is an updated version. I'll be picking up a copy in the next couple of weeks but I was wondering if anyone has gotten their hands on the new version and can comment on how much it has evolved?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought the original book when it first came out; did not know it had been updated. Will look forward to your report on the new edition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I flipped very quickly through the new edition in a bookstore this weekend. While the original is not top of mind for me anymore, this seemed more like a reissue with a significant facelift rather than a revision to the material. Much nicer layout, paper, photos, etc. but I didn't see much new in the couple of sections I was familiar with. I don't know whether the recipes themselves have been tweaked.


Edited by rickster (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are the ingredients still volumetric? Or does she now use weights?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are the ingredients still volumetric? Or does she now use weights?

I don't have the new edition, but I was able to look inside on Amazon. Based on what I saw, there are now weight measurements, in both grams and ounces, as well as volume. This might be enough to push me over the edge to getting the new edition.

MelissaH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The original book uses weights as well (unless I'm losing it!). That was one of the great things about it for the time.

What I'm curious about is if she addresses the issue of converting recipes that started out as naturally yeasted breads to commercial yeast.

Dan Leaders book Local Breads visited some of the same areas as Field and breads like the Pane Genzano are actually sourdoughs.

I hate to think that with all the attention to detail in her books that she has dumbed down some of these classic recipes and has not corrected them for the much more sophisticated bakers of today.

Leader's book has a poor record for actually putting a correct recipe on the page but I don't doubt his research.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The original version had weights and cups for all ingredients except liquids which were given as cups and made it very confusing for someone from the UK.

I just downloaded a kindle version of the new edition and have only glanced through it. Weights and volume are used throughout.

The sad thing is she gives a Biga & a Biga Naturale both of which are yeasted. She repeats the old story of how complicated and time consuming making and maintaining a starter is. If someone is serious enough to fork out the money for a bread book like this they must be a serious enough baker to use a starter. Pane Genzano is still given as a yeasted recipe.

That said, I'm used to converting formulas to natural leaven and I'm sure I will get useful ideas from the book.

Mick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I borrowed the new edition from the library and compared it, VERY carefully, to the original edition which I own and love.

The paper in the new edition is glossy, the type is at least 1 point smaller, and there are color photos....though many are of Italy, NOT baked goods or techniques. The original had pen & ink illustrations, mostly for technique explanations. Two recipes were added (Biga Naturale and Ciabatta Polesana), one soup was renamed from Ribollita to Minestrone Toscani, the order of recipes was changed in places and one recipe (Garibaldi cookies) was removed. Ingredients such as baker's ammonia and fresh yeast are omitted or marginalized.

The Glossary was removed, and the Sources area expanded and updated.

Volume measures and metric ones are in the original edition; the new one adds U.S. ounces/pounds as well.

Do I need the 'new' edition? Not in this case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The original version had weights and cups for all ingredients except liquids which were given as cups and made it very confusing for someone from the UK.

I just downloaded a kindle version of the new edition and have only glanced through it. Weights and volume are used throughout.

The sad thing is she gives a Biga & a Biga Naturale both of which are yeasted. She repeats the old story of how complicated and time consuming making and maintaining a starter is. If someone is serious enough to fork out the money for a bread book like this they must be a serious enough baker to use a starter. Pane Genzano is still given as a yeasted recipe.

That said, I'm used to converting formulas to natural leaven and I'm sure I will get useful ideas from the book.

Mick

I am just substituting my normal sourdough starter instead of "biga". She uses 75-78 percent hydration in her biga, my starter is at 100 percent so I just mix up biga in necessary quantity and hydration a day beforehand. Takes some extra calculations, but nothing difficult.

But yes, it makes me sad that "biga naturale" is yeasted in this book. Making a stable starter culture should have been included in a book that focuses on traditional bread recipes, especially given how conservative Italians are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Cookwhoplaysdrums
      Can anyone suggest me some good books related to Gastronomy, food history, culture, recipes based on different cultures. 
      Also recommend the best food magazine subscriptions. 
    • By artiesel
      THE BOOKS ARE SOLD
       
       
      I have Volumes 1 ,2 and 4 of Jean-Pierre Wybauw's Great Chocolate books are for sale.
       
      The books are in great shape!  There is some tape on the corner of the front of volume 1 that I used to keep it together after a drop.  Volume 1 is also autographed by the author (See pics below).
       
      I'm asking $150 for the lot OBO.
       
      Let me know if interested or if you have questions
       
       
       



    • By umami5
      Has anyone come across a digital version of Practical Professional Cookery (revised 3rd edition) H.L. Cracknell & R.J. Kaufmann.
      I am using this as the textbook for my culinary arts students and a digital version would come in very handy for creating notes and handouts.
    • By jennyandthejets
      I'll be in Naples for a few days next month and I wanted to try something traditional, and my friend recommended trying parmigiana. She said she loved it, but the problem is that she ate it at her Italian friend's house, and I won't be able to have that exact parmigiana. So, I did some research online and found a few restaurants that have good ratings and are serving allegedly great eggplant casserole. This place is 4 stars rated, but people seem not to agree whether the parmigiana is good or not.... On the other hand, this place has a great rating, appears when searching for the parmigiana, but nobody seems to write about it in their reviews. Finally, this one is said to have the best parmigiana in Naples (or in the world, for that matter), and I wanted to know if anyone had the so-called world's best?
      I would really appreciate if you could help me make the decision. Looking forward to your advice!

    • By Mullinix18
      I dont believe that any English translation of Carêmes works exist. An incomplete version was published in 1842 (I think) but even the that version seems lackluster for the few recipes it does cover. I think it's time the world looks to its past, but I don't speak great French and it's a huge task to undertake. I hopefully plan on publishing this work and anyone who helps me will get a very fair cut, and if we decide not to publish it, I'll put it out on the internet for free. I'm working in Google docs so we can collaborate. I'm first cataloging the index to cross reference the pre-existing incomplete English version to give us a reference of what yet needs to be done, and from there we will go down the list of recipies and Translate them one by one. Simple google translate goes only so far, as it is 1700s French culinary terms and phrases being used. I'd like to preserve as much of Carêmes beautiful and flowery language as possible. Who's with me? 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×