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Favourite Pastry / Baking Books?


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Doughs, Batters, and Meringues (French Professional Pastry Series)

Also in this series: Creams, Confections, and Finished Desserts

Petits Fours, Chocolate, Frozen Desserts, and Sugar Work

I 2nd the recommendation for Baking with Julia

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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All those are good.

No one seems to mention In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley (sp?). There are a lot of good flavor combinations in there. Simple items with multiple layers of flavor.

I also like Simply Sensation Desserts by Francois Payard.

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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I gravitate towards texts that have more than a killer recipe (or 10), but rather explain or enlighten in a way that expands my understanding or interest in the topic, that reveals the underlying machinery in an accessible and elegant way.

I second the Bilheux series (the French texts John DePaula recommended). Along with Healy and Bugat's Mastering the Art of French Pastry I've found these the most systematic in the way they present doughs, batters, etc. Helped me immensely in mentally ordering the pastry component universe, which then helps you find wonderful substitutions. etc.

Lisa Yockelson's Baking by Flavor , along with her various columns and articles over the years, are really great resources.

For chocolate, Jean-Pierre Wybauw's Fine Chocolates, Great Experience, bar none.

For bread, Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice presented simply, informatively and very visually a storehouse of knowledge. Try to read his Crust and Crumb, then Apprentice and you'll see that how information is presented can make all the difference.

Brian Ibbotson

Pastry Sous for Production and Menu Research & Development

Sous Chef for Food Safety and Quality Assurance

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ph10, by Pierre Hermé (his newest book I believe). It is THE pastry book to have. Every recipe I've tried worked absolutely flawlessly, and tasted amazing. Not to mention the amount of recipes, the index, base recipes, and even just the quality of the book itself, the photos, the intoduction - the book itself is a work of art. The only downside - French language only, and I was only able to obtain it by ordering from a French website. The exchange rate, taxes, shipping, etc..., made it a very expensive book (didn't want to look at my bill, well over 200 canadian dollars, possibly closer to 300)

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  • 2 months later...

I like Sherry Yard's book, The Secrets of Baking.

She provides lots of plain-language technical information, as well as traditional recipes for the basic dessert components and fresh innovative ways to make desserts.

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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...

Thanks for the suggestion-I love that book however I am searching for something more dedicated to actual pastries, perhaps fancy French, Swiss, Austrian etc.

...

Well, for Austrian cakes and pastries, I think one of the best books in English is Rick Rodger's "Kaffehaus". I"m slowly cooking my way through it and everything has come out great so far. It also has a pretty comprehensive overview of the range of Austrian dessert types with chapters such as: Simple Cakes, Fancy Cakes, Strudels, Sweet Yeast Breads, "Slices" and other individual desserts, Cookies and Doughnuts, Pancakes and Sweet Omelets, Sweet Dumplings and Noodles, and Hot and Cold Puddings.

A second book which has good detail and many interesting Austrian dessert recipes (about half the book) is Gretel Beer's "Classic Austrian Cooking".

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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A book with a good overview of Italian pastries is Nick Malgieri's "Great Italian Desserts".

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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The Professional Pastry Chef (half price on amazon.com right now) and Professional Baking are standards that almost every pastry chef I know has referred to at one point or another. The photos scream "Hello 1980!!"! - stained glass saucing, anyone? - but you can update almost anything you see. In fact, I noticed something very interesting:

Look at the photos in the plated dessert section in the back of the Professional Baking book.

Then look at the plated desserts in Charlie Trotter's book.

Exactly the same setups and components (for example, the fruit soup with sorbet and long tuile). And yet, each dinstinctly looks like it comes from a certain era in pastry.

Depending on your taste, you might enjoy Sweet Seasons by Richard Leach. Not exactly my taste but some people just totally dig him.

If you want hypermodern, Bernd Siefert's Sweet Gold is a good place to start. I bought my copy in Australia but I'm jbprince(dotcom) carries it.

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i was just about to suggest 'kaffeehaus', but i see that ludja beat me to it :smile: bernard clayton's 'complete book of pastry' is pretty good, too, although there are no pictures (at least not in my copy) - i just saw a used copy of this one on amazon for dirt cheap!

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i have a feeling cakedecorator1968 is looking for books on viennoiserie. please correct me if i'm wrong.

there are probably a lot of professional/french books on this subject. check out this book. is this more of what you're looking for? the authors of this book i think have written other books as well.

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i have a feeling cakedecorator1968 is looking for books on viennoiserie.  please correct me if i'm wrong.

there are probably a lot of professional/french books on this subject.  check out this book.  is this more of what you're looking for?  the authors of this book i think have written other books as well.

I *was* wondering if that is what was meant and so gave the subcategories in the Kaffehause cookbook. Just to be clear, as you can see from the headings, the book has pastry recipes but does not focus on them alone.

Thanks for the recommendatin, alanamoana!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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i have a feeling cakedecorator1968 is looking for books on viennoiserie.  please correct me if i'm wrong.

there are probably a lot of professional/french books on this subject.  check out this book.  is this more of what you're looking for?  the authors of this book i think have written other books as well.

I *was* wondering if that is what was meant and so gave the subcategories in the Kaffehause cookbook. Just to be clear, as you can see from the headings, the book has pastry recipes but does not focus on them alone.

Thanks for the recommendatin, alanamoana!

it's ironic, because when i tell people i'm a pastry chef, they don't seem to understand that it means i mostly make plated desserts. but when people talk about pastry (as in this topic) people assume desserts instead of viennoiserie. ah well...it's all in the translation i guess.

i think the austrians are probably pretty good at viennoiserie, right? :wink:

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i have a feeling cakedecorator1968 is looking for books on viennoiserie.  please correct me if i'm wrong.

there are probably a lot of professional/french books on this subject.  check out this book.  is this more of what you're looking for?  the authors of this book i think have written other books as well.

I *was* wondering if that is what was meant and so gave the subcategories in the Kaffehause cookbook. Just to be clear, as you can see from the headings, the book has pastry recipes but does not focus on them alone.

Thanks for the recommendatin, alanamoana!

it's ironic, because when i tell people i'm a pastry chef, they don't seem to understand that it means i mostly make plated desserts. but when people talk about pastry (as in this topic) people assume desserts instead of viennoiserie. ah well...it's all in the translation i guess.

i think the austrians are probably pretty good at viennoiserie, right? :wink:

Now a days, I thought the term "viennoiserie" means pastries and cakes baked by boulangers such as croissants, pain au raisin, brioche, chaussons au pomme, gatlette des rois, etc. It does not include fancy cakes and tortes which belong to the realm of the patissiers.

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Thanks everyone, I'll be sure to take the time to look through your recommendations.

Basicaly, I want to be able to do more than fruit tarts, butter tarts, lemon meringue tarts etc.

I think fancy Fench pastries are what I'm looking for. I never make small individual pastries and i would like to aquire a repertoire.

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Thanks everyone, I'll be sure to take the time to look through your recommendations.

Basicaly, I want to be able to do more than fruit tarts, butter tarts, lemon meringue tarts etc.

I think fancy Fench pastries are what I'm looking for. I never make small individual pastries and i would like to aquire a repertoire.

You may enjoy Linda Dannenberg's "Paris Boulangerie and Patisserie: Recipes from Thirteen Outstanding French Bakeries". There is a thread on some of things people on eGullet have baked from it here: click

I'll still plug "Kaffehaus" though if you ever have a chance to look at it. Lot's of wonderful pastries like Napoleans, Cream Horns, Rigo Jancsi mousse slices, strudels and many other individual pastries that one may or may not be familiar with from Vienna and the Austrian Hungarian Empire. The recipes would certainly expand your repetoire for "fancy" desserts using different baking methods. The book has a good number of photos as well.

"Baking with Julia" by Dorie Greenspan also has many good basic recipes for the recipes, doughs and techniques used in many classic European pastries. There is also an extensive thread on eGullet detailing peoples adventures in cooking from the book.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I think it would depend more on your skill level, but I would recommend Baking with Julia for a beginning/average home baker, and The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef for the more serious baker. I have both, but I use Baking with Julia more often as I think it's very accessible. The Flo Braker book is great, but the pictures and plating (as another poster noted) screams 1980, even though this is the updated version.

I also enjoy Michel Roux's Finest Desserts. :smile: It's not a new book (published in 1995) but the desserts look classic, not dated.

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  • 4 years later...

Does anyone have any thoughts on the current lay of the land for comprehensive pastry books? I'm interested in expanding my knowledge of pastry work, and having a go-to reference for those times when I suddenly decide I need to learn the basics of making a dacquoise (or financiers, or buttercream) right now. So a wide-ranging book is key for me.

That said, I don't need lots of info on bread or confectionery, since I already have specific books that cover those subjects, but I wouldn't object to having them included. I've looked at several of the titles that have cropped up in the threads around here (Friberg, Gisslen, CIA, Peterson), and feel like The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts is probably the closest to what I want, but I thought I'd check with the knowledgeable folks here first to see if there are better options. Thanks for any advice!

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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  • 9 years later...

This is an older thread, but I'd like to revive it to ask if anyone has newer or updated suggestions since the last comment here almost 10 years ago. Similarly to the OP, I'm looking for books that cover classic European baking and pastry techniques, moreso textbook than recipe book (but having good recipes is obviously still important!). My interests are primarily in European patisserie, tarts, tortes, and the like (not so much on bread, frozen desserts, confectionary, plated desserts, etc. right now, but those obviously can't be ignored either), but of course I need to establish a good understanding of the base techniques and theory before moving on to more complex pastries. 

 

So far, I've read How Baking Works by Paula Figoni and BakeWise by Shirley Corriher. I thought How Baking Works had really good info, but as just a beginner home cook, I haven't found much opportunity to apply many of its concepts to practice yet, and I don't have the resources to do the Exercises & Experiments at the end of each chapter since they're meant for a classroom setting. BakeWise also had some neat tricks (to a beginner like me) such as adding a cornstarch paste to meringue on a pie so it'll cut through easier, but overall it's more of a collection of recipes than actually teaching technique, and it focuses on American desserts rather than classic French and European pastries. 

 

I'm currently reading Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen which I've seen recommended in many places since it's a common textbook in culinary schools, but I've also seen some posters warn against it here such as the discussion on the first page of this thread:

On 10/11/2002 at 8:19 AM, Steve Klc said:

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.

Does anyone know what Steve may mean by this? I've seen other people mention how some recipes in the book are iffy, but so far (I'm halfway through the book, albeit haven't had the opportunity to actually make any of the recipes) it seems to provide a good overview of techniques. 

 

Some other books that I see commonly recommended are:

The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg

- Baking and Pastry by the CIA

On Baking by Sarah Labensky

How To Bake by Nick Malgieri

 

I've taken a look at them and it's honestly hard to tell which one would be the best to start with. The book Basic Cooking Techniques: Bakery and Pastry by Lesley Chesterman, mentioned on the first page of this thread, also appealed to me in how Lesley described it not as a dessert book, but a pastry technique book, but unfortunately it appears to be less well known and I can't find much other information about it. 

 

So essentially, does anyone have any experience with the books that I've listed or any others, and is able to recommend a direction for me? In a perfect world I'd just read them all haha, but unfortunately I don't have infinite time. To recap, I'm looking for a book that 1) isn't just meant to be for a full student in pastry school but can also be suitable for a beginner home cook; 2) focuses on classic European techniques; and 3) has good recipes so I can be confident in adding them to my repertoire for my own uses.

 

 

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