Is "Crust and Crumb" too pushy for home bakers?

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Joined Aug 27, 2001
Looking for a bread book for an accomplished home baker who regularly makes her own foccacia, and makes her own pizzas on stones in the oven.

I've seen "Crust and Crumb" reviewed favorably, but I've also seen complaints, in the reader reviews at amazon.com, that it was too pushy. "Do it my way or it won't work," etc.

Do you think it's a book suitable for the ambitious home baker? Or is its approach more suited to pros working in a commercial kitchen?
 
89
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Joined Dec 7, 2001
I briefly perused the pages on file at amazon, not a bad choice--I think you'll be ok with that. Personally, I have a major bias toward bread books in general: It usually takes you about two weeks to make your first loaf! (they want you to make a starter, use a poolish or biga, advocate fresh yeast over dry-active blah blah blah). Eventually, you will WANT to make these breads that take two weeks to get started (mainly because you need to develop your 'ferment'), but what about the meantime? Do they want you to starve--emotionally and physically? It may BE possible to live on bread alone, but without it? C'MON!!!

Here's what I always suggest:

First, go with your instinct!!
You know what you need (want) to learn, right?

Then, if you want a second opinion here it is:

For the begginer--intermediate home cook, for pretty much fail-safe breads.
The Tassajara Bread Book

For the intermediate--adventerous professional and home cook
My personal favorite by the way is The Village Baker

Bread Alone

Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery

And finally, for the complete maniac-psycho-bread baker

Le Gout de Pain

Special and Decorative Breads

Guide de l'amateur du pain



Once again, my favorites are

The Village Baker--a classic, easy to understand, only-bread-book you will ever need (though I have three; The Village Baker, Nancy Silverton's and one by Amy Scherber of Amy's Breads in New York).

Le Gout de Pain by Raymond Calvel--He is to bread, what Hydrogen is to Water, a good follow up book to Ortiz's the village baker once you've learned the basics.



Good luck with your Quest.


Enjoy the Holidays,

flash
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
This is definitely going to open a hornet's nest. We've kicked these books around a lot. I'm a big Crust and Crumb fan. And while it's true some of the breads are 2 day affairs, they are worth the wait,and I think he has a plain white bread that is one day. I find the Village Baker too confusing, and don't even get me started on Nancy Silverton. I just got Calvel's book and love it. Made the Rustic Bread today at work. Also got Reinhart's new book in the mail today. You want something from Reinhart that is a little low-key get Brother Juniper and make Struan.
 
2,550
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Joined Mar 13, 2001
:lol: TBH! And I thought you came to like Silverton even though you would not admit it!! :D :D
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
Well, I made a couple of loafs that didn't disappoint. But I haven't made them since. I've really made nothing but French bread for the last couple of months. Just a lot of variations on pate fermentee, poolish starters, using lots of tips from the Calvel book. The rustic bread I made today really came out nice. I made 8 lbs of dough chopped into 8 loafs. Baked 4 today, retarded 4 to bake tomorrow. I have 5 days of work left at the country club, then I'm off till early to mid march. But the earthy crunchy grocery store has me on the schedule every morning to do the baking.
 
2,550
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Joined Mar 13, 2001
TBH,

I'm always curious about that and never asked you before. What kind (type/or brand) of flour are you using for your french bread?

And do you use the same flour for your rustic bread?

:rolleyes:
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
I'm a King Arthur kind of guy. That's all I use at work. when I baked bread for a living, I used Wingold patent unbleached unbromated flour, in addition to our own whole wheat flour.
 
2,550
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Joined Mar 13, 2001
Thanks TBH. If I get my hands on French flour, I will let you how a French baguette turns out!

;)
 
1,635
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Joined Aug 14, 2000
I got this impression form Nancy Silverton's Breds From the La Brea Bakery. As The Big Hat said, this is likely to be a lively topic.

First things first, I am a hack, amateur baker. That said, I am a huge Peter Reinhart fan. Crust & Crumb is the most beat up book in my library. It provides solid underpinnings for all kinds of bread baking. Reinhart brings artisan baking to the home kitchen. If I had only one book on bread it would be Crust & Crumb (or maybe his new one The Bread Baker's Apprentice :)). I have a bunch of bread books. You can read my thumnail opinion The Reading Room on my site. Just one man's opinion :)
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
I've been walking around with the Bread Baker's Apprentice under my arm like a teddy bear. Finally got a chance to make the pane siciliano and the French bread. I pushed them both into one day and I know I lost something by that, but I couldn't wait. The French bread has 165% pate fermentee in it, I used some French bread I had made earlier, and it had to be the most extensible dough I've ever seen. Made two nice baguettes. I made the pate fermentee at 7 am, the dough for some rolls I needed at work at 10, and the dough for the baguettes at 3:30. So there was some time involved, but nothing like the three day binge.
He's changed a lot of stuff as far as I can see. Dropped the 3 parts to 4 parts refreshment for the sourdough going to equal parts. Really simplified the process of starting the seed culture, no honey this time. This book looks like fun.
 
1,635
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Joined Aug 14, 2000
I need to do a Stare & Compare on the focaccia formula. I did the one in Apprentice and it was much better than I've done with the C&C formula. He must have changed something because I am as constant as the North Star not!) :)
 
846
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Joined Nov 29, 2001
We have Bread Alone and absolutely love it. Having a terrific starter in your fridge at all times makes spontaneous bread baking possible. We also have Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads out of which I get a lot of ethnic and holiday breads.

I loved the book Bread Alone both for its in-depthness and the passion with which Daniel Leader approaches his craft. This is obviously someone who lives to feel dough in his hands.

I had the misfortune to be married to someone who didn't understand the culinary obsession. He felt everyone should be chained to a computer for a living. When I first purchased Bread Alone, I copied a part of the preface and gave it to him, explaining, "Read this and you'll understand how much of our souls are poured into our craft." Eventually, I had to drop kick the idiot out the door - but I'm happy to say I'm now married to someone who's as into cooking, baking and watching people consume the products of our labor as I am. Thank God for the internet.
 
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Joined Jan 4, 2002
hi Goddess

If you can get hold of the following book you will solve all your problems.

SPECIAL AND DECORATIVE BREADS

BY
ROLAND BILHEUX
ALAIN ESCOFFIER
DANIEL HERVE
JEAN-MARIE POURADIER

VNR
VAN NOSTRAND REIHOLD
NEW YORK


:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
I also own this book, it is not for the novice baker I assure you.
Quite detailed and advanced
cc
 
28
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Joined Jan 4, 2002
hi cape chef

i agree with you 100 per cent, but originaly i had the impression that the first few lines buy Tollhousegoddess i quote an accomplished home baker who regulary makes her own.......
still the book has the first section intended primarily as a review of the more fundamental bread making techniques.I still think there is a lot of material to learn from this PROFESSIONAL
BOOK


AUSTIN:)

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
 

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