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mixmaster b

Favourite Pastry / Baking Books?

99 posts in this topic

I am interested in getting some cookbooks that cover the basics of pastry and baking--not bread, necessarily, but dessert, cakes, cookies, etc. I searched a few other cookbook threads but did not have luck on finding books on pastry.

My interest is in fairly classic French and European style baking, and I need a book that covers technique. Pictures would also be much appreciated--I like both the step by step pix or great pictures of the end product.

Right now, I have Desserts and Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme. (I love these and have had good results from the recipes, but feel I should start with a more classic approach.) La Varenne Pratique has provided some good starting points, but I would like to find a book with more focus on baking.

I was thinking about the Payard book. Any comments? Suggestions would be much appreciated! In case it applies, I am a home cook and am slightly more skilled than a total beginner.

Thanks! :biggrin:

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Some of my favorite books with pictures covering technique are the Time Life Good Cook series from the late 1970s'.There are a number covering baking and pastry;'Classic Desserts','Cakes','Cookies and Crackers','Pies and Pastries',and my two favorites'Candy',and'Preserving".A lot of talented people worked on this series-you can find them second hand for less than $10 apiece,if you are lucky...

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I love my book In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley. At close to 700 pages it is quite large, and considering that the first 370 pages is a guide to ingredients and techniques it is quite definitive.

The 150+ recipes run the gamut from something a kid could do to something that I would have to buy every single ingredient at a specialty store. For a quick chocolate fix I make her All in the Pan Chewy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Icing. The entire cake is mixed together in the pan it is to be baked in and it calls for no eggs, butter or milk ( I don't make the frosting though), so it can be made on those days when you have absolutely nothing in the house. Then there are some middle of the road recipes like Toasted Hazelnut Pound Cake and Tarte au Sucre d'Erable (Maple Sugar Pie). Then for those that are up to a challege ther are things like Guava Cheescake with a Cashew Ginger Crust and Sweet Polenta Crostini with Mascarpone, Raspberries, Pistachios and Wild Forest Honey.

I have been very happy with the results and her brownies and blueberry muffins are the best I have ever made.

The only downside it that is doesn't have too many pictures, but it does have some great charts, such as a pan substituion chart, flavor pairing chart, ingredient substitution chart and conversion charts.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I would suggest the 3rd edition of Wayne Gisslen's Professional Baking. I have the 2nd edition and it is an invaluable resource...mine is well-marked from school use and falling apart from constant use since then, mostly using it as a reference book as it gives an in-depth understanding of ingredients. The new edition is full of photographs and step-by-step technique (I've only glanced at it but it looks beautiful). Admittedly I don't use it often for recipes as most of my repertoire has been amassed from numerous other books, family recipes, etc. But, from what you mentioned, I think it would be something very helpful to you. Anyway, take a good look at it and let me know if you think I should invest in the new edition!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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I've mentioned my favorite pastry and baking books on the site mixmaster in several threads. As a decent pastry chef and fairly experienced teacher myself, I have to say I'm not a fan of Regan Daley's book, I find it leaden and underwhelming.

The thing about pastry and baking is you absolutely have to be grounded in French techniques--you already seem to sense this and intuitively want to embrace the classics. You have to come to understand them or acquire them in order to do much of significance in the area beside amateurish/simplistic tarts, pies, cookies, muffins, bread pudding, maple sugar pie, etc. a la Daley. If you aspire to more than this--Daley is not the answer nor your best first choice.

Seek out instead the older Roux brothers book on pastry or our own Lesley C's book (written with her husband Bertrand) on pastry and baking techniques--both of which we have discussed at length on the site. Excellent step by step color photos, very clear instructions, very strong grounding in classical and traditional French techniques--and with tons less clutter. You will thank me later.

Under no circumstances open the Gisslen book yet unless you are planning to become a professional, or go to a cooking school factory like the CIA or become a commercial high volume baker, embarking upon a very uncreative life, devoid of flavor and palate interest and excitement. There is a very exciting, very rich world out there in pastry and baking and Gisslen, while an eminently studious and nice guy, doesn't have much of a clue to it.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Some of my favorite books with pictures covering technique  are the Time Life Good Cook series from the late 1970s'.There are a number covering baking and pastry;'Classic Desserts','Cakes','Cookies and Crackers','Pies and Pastries',and my two favorites'Candy',and'Preserving".A lot of talented people worked on this series-you can find them second hand for less than $10 apiece,if you are lucky...

Holy Memories Batman - It was these very books I read as a young'un that got me interested in cooking. I can still remember pictures of pastry swans and ice cream bombes - oh my

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Thank you Steve.

Our book was inspired by the Roux pastry book, which influenced me greatly when starting out as a pastry chef. It's not a dessert book (a waste of time IMO because desserts are so quickly dated), it's a pastry technique book.

Unfortunately our book, Boulangerie et pâtisserie: Techniques de base, is only available in French at www.indigo.ca and www.amazon.ca (amazon's Canadian site).

I have a few English copies, so if anyone's interested, e-mail me.

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I like the Bruce Healy & Paul Bugat books: The Art of the Cake: Modern French Baking and Decorating, The French Cookie Book: Classic and Contemporary Recipes for Easy and Elegant Cookies. I own the first and I borrow the 2nd from the local library. I've made several recipes from both and they've all turned out well for me. These books aren't just recipes; they explain the why's and how's of French pastry with good line drawing illustrations and some photographs. They also have another book, Mastering the Art of French Pastry, which is out-of-print and I haven't been able to find one at a reasonable price.

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Mixmaster B!!!

Try a book by the name "How To Bake" by Nick Malgieri, it happens to be a James Beard Winner and a very good book. ......john


JTL

Is a Member of PETA..."People Eating Tasty Animals"

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...

Under no circumstances open the Gisslen book yet unless you are planning to become a professional, or go to a cooking school factory like the CIA or become a commercial high volume baker, embarking upon a very uncreative life, devoid of flavor and palate interest and excitement.  There is a very exciting, very rich world out there in pastry and baking and Gisslen, while an eminently studious and nice guy, doesn't have much of a clue to it.

True, true. The edition I have is mostly plucked from his Professional Cooking anyway. Definitely no new ground covered there.

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I will absolutely second any book by Nick Malgieri. He's a master. Sadly, some of his earlier books are out of print, but you might be able to find them used. Not many pictures, but clear instructions and solid technique.

I also agree with Steve Klc that "In the Sweet Kitchen" is a big dissapointment. The recipes are not classical basics, but are more quirky and personal. I've make a couple that were good, but also some that were inedible.

Some others I would recommend:

"The Cake Bible" - Rose Levy Beranbaum

"Pies and Tarts" - Martha Stewart (yes, that Martha. Pre-empire)

"The Complete Book of Pastry" - Bernard Clayton

"Baking with Julia" - Julia Child and Dory Greenspan

"The Professional Pastry Chef" - Bo Friberg (This is a huge book, written for professionals, but I've found it to be fun reading and a great reference.)

"Pastries" and "Desserts" from the Eurodelices series - Fabien Bellahsen (Editor)

Some of these books have few or no pictures, but don't let that discourage you - their recipes and directions are so well written that you should have no problems.

If it's food porn you're looking for, then the "Grand Finales" series by Tish Boyle is for you. Every page is over-the-top gorgeous. The recipes are written for professionals, but They're great source of inspiration.

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The Art of the Tart, Savory and Sweet, by Tamasin Day-Lewis, is nice for tarts.

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OK. I know I am taking this way too personally but I have to defend my suggestion here, having been thoroughly humiliated by people on this website whom I have learned to respect and from whom I have gleaned a lot of useful information :blush:

As I mentioned, I don't use Gisslen for the recipes (with the exception of Frangipane III which I use in my Pithiviers). However I find the definitions and descriptions of baking terms, ingredients and how those ingredients act and react with one another to be an extremely useful resource. I wish I had had this information on hand years ago before I went to school (by the way, I did not go to a "cooking school factory" which I am sure, Steve, you were not insinuating as you don't even know me!) I know there are plenty of other such resources, I was just suggesting something which I have found useful to someone who was asking for suggestions!

And I also suggest Lenotre and Healy and Bugat and Silverton and Roux!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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I second the suggestion of Baking with Julia. It's an excellent book, and there are basic recipes and technique pictures in the first chapter.

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My two very favorites:

1) La Pâtisserie (Pierre Hermé)

2) L' Art Des Entremets de France (Bellouet and Perruchon)

3) I also second the Time Life Good Cook series, Baking with Julia, Nick Malgieri and Nancy Silverton.

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Wow-

Thanks everyone for the great input! :biggrin:

Seek out instead the older Roux brothers book on pastry or our own Lesley C's book (written with her husband Bertrand) on pastry and baking techniques--both of which we have discussed at length on the site.  Excellent step by step color photos, very clear instructions, very strong grounding in classical and traditional French techniques--and with tons less clutter.  You will thank me later.

Steve-

In the past you have mentioned books by the Roux brothers, Michel Bras, Frederic Bau, and Alberto Adria. Of these, I have been able to find affordable (i.e. not hundreds of dollars) copies of the following:

Notebooks of Michel Bras: Desserts

Patisserie: Pastries and Desserts from 3 Star Master Chefs (1986)

Michel Roux's Finest Desserts (1995)

The Roux Brothers on Patisserie (1993)

Desserts : a lifelong passion (1997)

I think "Patisserie: Pastries and Desserts from 3 Star Master Chefs" sounds like the best choice as it is the earliest of the Roux books. I could not get a feel for the Bras book from the site.

I have also e-mailed Lesley regarding the English copies of her book--alas my French is not good enough to allow me to follow recipes.

I like the Bruce Healy & Paul Bugat books: The Art of the Cake: Modern French Baking and Decorating, The French Cookie Book: Classic and Contemporary Recipes for Easy and Elegant Cookies. I own the first and I borrow the 2nd from the local library.  I've made several recipes from both and they've all turned out well for me. These books aren't just recipes; they explain the why's and how's of French pastry with good line drawing illustrations and some photographs. They also have another book, Mastering the Art of French Pastry, which is out-of-print and I haven't been able to find one at a reasonable price.

Bruce Healy & Paul Bugat' s "The Art of the Cake: Modern French Baking and Decorating" sounds wonderful. I love to make special cakes and I will check this book out for sure. Their book "The French Cookie Book: Classic and Contemporary Recipes for Easy and Elegant Cookies" looks great, as well.

Healy seems to be well regarded by many, so I am excited to check out these books. Maybe I will be inspired to start saving up for Mastering the Art of French Pastry --going for $400 on Amazon used!

And I also suggest Lenotre and Healy and Bugat and Silverton and Roux!

Thank you kit, I am looking making a big shopping/Christmas list, and am gratified by all suggestions. It helps me to hear different views on books--even when they are voiced rather passionately or even forcefully! :blink::biggrin:

I am not familiar Lenotre. Can you say more?

Silverton I know because I like in LA and she is omnipresent. I have her early book Desserts, but I find it too hard to use. At my level, I find I really like pictures when attempting complex recipes. I don't have the ability to visualize the end product, so I can't tell if I am on the right track or not. Do you like her new

Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the LA Brea Bakery ? My fiancé has her bread book but sometimes finds it discouragingly complex (i.e. constant care and feeding of starters, etc.).

I will absolutely second any book by Nick Malgieri. He's a master. Sadly, some of his earlier books are out of print, but you might be able to find them used...

"Baking with Julia" - Julia Child and Dory Greenspan

Nightscotsman and haunted chef-

Do you find the Nick Malgieri to be fairly classic? Or more personal/updated? I have seen some of the older books at alibris.com.

I am interested in Baking with Julia because I found Dorie Greenspan's instructions in the Herme books very clear-good translations for the home cook.

Speaking of Herme, his early books seem to have cult-like status on the sites I looked at. Any guidance about which books to look for, and where to find them, would be great.

Thanks again for all of the great suggestions! :rolleyes:

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:hmmm: know what you mean...

I have Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the LA Brea Bakery and her bread book. You should feel comfortable with the pastry book as it is un hindered with time consuming starters.

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I am not familiar Lenotre. Can you say more?

Silverton I know because I like in LA and she is omnipresent. I have her early book Desserts, but I find it too hard to use. At my level, I find I really like pictures when attempting complex recipes. I don't have the ability to visualize the end product, so I can't tell if I am on the right track or not. Do you like her new

Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the LA Brea Bakery ?

As for Lenotre, I have his Desserts & Pastries, 1975, and Desserts Traditionels de France (in French only). The former I use often, don't know if it is currently in print but recently saw a couple of used copies at Black Oak Books in Berkeley (approx. $40). Since you're in LA, you should make a field trip to Long Beach sometime and go to Acres of Books...can usually find some very good titles/authors in their dusty cookbook section! Let me know if you drive down and I'll meet you there!

As for Nancy, yes I love her pastry book. BTW, since you're in LA, did you know that she is going to be autographing books at the Hollywood Farmers Market this Sunday (Oct 13th)?


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Do you find the Nick Malgieri to be fairly classic? Or more personal/updated? I have seen some of the older books at alibris.com

I would put him in the classic camp. He is often referred to as one of the best pastry teachers and he set up the pastry program at The Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's New York Cooking School)

If you like Dory Greenspan's recipe writing style (and who doesn't?), you might look for books by Susan Purdy, Flo Braker, and Maida Heatter as well. Very detailed a precise directions and consistent results, though more American in theme than classically French. Also, Dory has a book called "Paris Sweets" coming out at the end of this month.

Though I have a lot of respect for Nancy Silverton, I found the LaBrea Pastry book a little frustrating. The instructions are not always as unambiguous as I would have liked, and just a few photos or diagrams would have helped greatly in a several spots.

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two of my favorite books haven't been mentioned, one recent and one in the distant past. the pastry book i use probably more than any other (not that i'm a pastry boy), is lindsey shere's wonderful book chez panisse desserts. i'm also quite taken with "the last course" by claudia fleming. the stuff i tested out of that was great.

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Russ-

I am glad to hear about the Chez Panisse book. I love their books and have many of them, but not Desserts. The Fruit book is my most recent and I love it. Their perspective is always unique.

Thanks!

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two of my favorite books haven't been mentioned, one recent and one in the distant past. the pastry book i use probably more than any other (not that i'm a pastry boy), is lindsey shere's wonderful book chez panisse desserts. i'm also quite taken with "the last course" by claudia fleming. the stuff i tested out of that was great.

Both of these books are wonderful and I highly recommend them. The Chez Panisse book is still the first one I turn to for fruit desserts. I didn't mention them because the original request was for books on classic French technique, and these books are more about modern Americanized desserts.

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I second the suggestion of Baking with Julia. It's an excellent book, and there are basic recipes and technique pictures in the first chapter.

And I third.

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My new book of interest in the art of baking and pastry is the one written by our very own Lesley Chesterman. Simple, detailed, illustrated perfectly and interesting and classic without being boring.

Baking & Pastry - Lesley Chesterman & Bertrand Bazin

(Macmillan, Canada)

It has 72 recipes of pastry and breads, helpful tips on technique and over 390 colour pictures. What more could one ask for? A signed copy by the authors perhaps... Maybe the publisher ought to do a US book signing...

I am impressed by the books size. It is small enough to carry even as one travels for a weekend in the country, and yet detailed enough to never make you feel lost as you try a classic for the first time.

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