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"The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry


koen
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Hi,

I ordered this book and its companion: The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef, both by Bo Friberg, and was wondering if anyone has experience with the books? I've bought them because I wanted to gain a better understanding and more comprehensive knowledge about pastry (especially the dessert side) and thought that this would be a good starting point.

Please share your thoughts about the books and any advice on desserts!

With kind regards,

Koen

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They are good books, The Professional Pastry Chef was the very first book I bought. I look to then for inspiration and when I'm interested in making something I haven't done before or want to look up, normally I do find it somewhere in the two books. In general, though, I've had recipes come out better when I use a book like On Baking, which is a little more straight forward. Bo's books are fine, but I've experienced multiple occasions where the recipe itself needed tweaking. A few examples off the top of my head are for the scones, 425f seemed a bit hot to bake them, so I do 400f, and thats in addition to just using the formula to make my own variations, the directions for shaping them sounds like it would yield sharp long skinny scones, it sounded sort of odd. The formula for pastillage was off, it was unusually soft, very very difficult to work with, and I never had very much success with the pulled sugar formulas, I use Notters formulas from his book. I was also never much of a fan of his breads, some are good, other I would pass.

On the other hand, I love the cookies, both in the standard book and the advanced, he makes very nice cookies, ice creams are good also, and he explains well why you should have a syrup density meter when making sorbets.

So there's pros and cons to the books, it is informative, but not always my first choice.

Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2

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I have The Professional Pastry Chef. I've only made a few recipes. The Vanilla Pound Cake was exceptional. I bake my dogs bones every month from Chef Bo's recipe. I have also learned a lot. Especially useful to me is his method of lining pans with parchment.

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IMHO, both are great books and provide a general overview of many techniques. That said, I would steer you to Greuling for chocolates, Migoya for frozen and plated desserts, Hammelman for bread, etc... if there is a topic you want to take a deep dive into.

The Advanced book has a lot niche techiques, very difficult and challenging projects.

One disadvantage to both books is that the formulas are for production volume. If you are learning at home, you will end up with tons of cakes, cookes, muffins, etc... halving or quartering some recipes may be necessary.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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The recipes can easily be halved. The thing I noticed, at least in the recipes I was interested in, is that the baking pan called for in the recipe is only a 1 quart capacity. If you halve the recipe, you have 2 cakes that are 1 quart each. Not much at all.

I halve the dog bone recipe to get a yield of 54 biscuits which last approximately 1 month with my three dogs.

Edited by flourgirl (log)
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Hi all,

Thank you for your information! I'm really looking forward to tomorrow (I return "home" and the books are waiting for me). I will post the first experimentations in this thread, just to keep you updated!

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I bought the edition of the book that was available in the late 1990s. I found it to be full of info and plenty of beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, I don't think I attempted any recipe. It was too complex for a college student who didn't have many of the pastry chef tools. By the way, I was an exercise science student who loved to collect pastry chef and dessert books.....wishing I had the money to buy all the cool tools. I was a poor college student back then with just enough money to buy the book....about $65.00ish. I donated the book about 6 years ago since I never really cooked out of it.......and the book was quite heavy and huge.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have both books and love them. I have learned a lot from the books and have made many recipes from them with wonderful results. I do not have any formal kitchen training but with his instruction I have been able to make my own puff pastry, strudel dough that stretches to the size of my table (!) and many other things I didn't think I would ever be able to do. I have made several of his cookie and cake recipes, and the west coast cheesecake is my go-to for cheesecake. The pumpkin pie is lighter than most pumpkin pies and I always get rave reviews on it. I've made some of the fiddly pastries and really enjoyed it.

I agree that if you get into one aspect of pastry a lot more, you will want to supplement with other books. But I adore these books because I have learned so much from them!

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I think some of the cakes in that first volume (I think it's the first volume anyway) are showstoppers at potlucks and the like. Not only do they taste great, but his decoration ideas are gorgeous. The Chestnut Puzzle Cake is a fun one, too, for the neat design of the cake layers when you slice it.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris, if you have opportunity, I can really recommend finding a good pastry chef and taking few classes. It brings you light years ahead. I have done a short pastry course (4 days) in past, amazing how many neat tricks of trade you can pick, that make going through any pastry book a breeze. Some moves (such as folding a mousse or a batter), mixing dough, even mixing cream to the right consistency, are difficult to explain/convey in written form. Youtube works as second best but if you can, go for the real deal.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I so wanted to love this book. While I have not tried any recipes yet, I am actually a bit disappointed about several things:

  • Probably aroudn 30% of recipes is for the professional kithcen and not within consumers reach (talk about making own chocolate, grinding cocoa beans etc). So are the recipe quantities
  • Photos are very arty but many are hard to see well and figure out how to recreate them
  • I hate flipping back and forth. You see a tempting photo, you need to go 50 pages further to see the recipes and for some of those you need to go back to the beginning to the method section

If I had the book in my hands before I bought it, I would not end up buying it.

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