The Bakers Dozen

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Have any of your read the Thanksgiving issue of Gourmet Magazine yet? They had a interesting article called 'baking lessons'.

It sounds so incredible....a group of pastry chefs has formed a group to 'pool experiences. "Baking professionally can be isolating" explains one of the group founders (hum, I couldn't agree more). It started as 40 people and they've grown to 350 members. They don't have a news letter, but they meet to talk recipes, experiment and share results. There's a couple heavy weights in the group like Flo Braker and Marion Cunningham yet it's open to any serious bakers. Thier mission is to learn and pass on their knowledge to others.....very very cool!

They are publishing a book this month and it's definately looking like a must have! Some of their editors include: Alice Medrich, Peter Reinhart and Lindsey Shere...

They published a sample list of tips from this group.....wow, this could be the baking book of the year (I have my fingers crossed).....
 
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Oops, I forgot to mention the name of the book is going to be "The Baker's Dozen Cookbook" since that's the name of their group.
 
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The original Baker's Dozen started in California. There is now an east coast branch as well. In conjunction with the book they are doing an East Coast tour this month. Sunday Nov. 18th from 1:00-4:00, Peter Reinhart, Flo Braker, Fran Gage, David Leibowitz ans Carolyn Weil will be doing a demo @Sur La Table in Manhasset, NY (Long Island). Monday Nov. 19th at 6:30 our very own m brown will be teaching a Restaurant Desserts class @Sur La Table! The Baker's Dozen will be meeting that same evening @The Institute of Culinary Education (Formerly Peter Kump's) in NYC. I weaseled an invite :)
 

isa

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I've been watching this book, bookstores in town haven't received it yet. Reading about it online, I had the impression it was a pretty basic book, has anyone seen it?
 
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Hey you guys, not fair...I want to go!

MBrown your too modest! I saw you mention doing that demo but you didn't link the whole thing into this event, way way way auesome! What are you making????? How much time do you have, how many people/seats, are they tasting too? You must give us poor people who can't attend some details and maybe a photo (hint, hint).

Someone needs to ask them how we can get more satilite groups happening. AND make them break down and ship out a news letter to me, please!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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Isa you might not get it totally, it's about breaking the science and techinque down into exact detail. To qoute them "In some cases the difference between a chocolate cake and a brownie is just a matter of how you mix the ingredients". If your read my posts you'll know that I'm a total detail NUT, cause I've learned that it's everything, with baking.

How about the photo of everyone holding their angel food cake? I LOVE IT! Try to have a conversation with some chefs about baking and they don't get it (baking), they think were nuts, can't understand why she can make this and he can't with the same recipe, duh! It's all in the details. What exactly makes the perfect angel food cake, more than a recipe and skill.
 

isa

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That sounds like a great book Wendy. Just goes to proove you can not judge a book by it's cover. It's on my wishlist now, and it is your fault. ;)
 
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I bought the book yesterday. I'm reading every word, no skimming or peeking ahead. I read up to about page 35 and have been pleased to read a couple things that I agree (and I have been doing for years with-out any written work to back my thoughts) with that seem to buck the known. One being that some cakes taste better with ap. flour then cake flour. The other being where I place cakes in the oven.

Also, I was pleased to read Alice Medrichs details on chocolate. I've always gotten stuck on the difference between fine chocolate and couveture. I really didn't think there was one. According to this there is a difference in refining/processing. Even though they may have the same amount of chocolate liquer couveture is more refined, having less grain. They also named a couple different well known brands and I learned a bit from that too.

Alot of the info. appears to be the same old, like info. on pans and ingredients. BUT finally there's somethings written that make sense with what I've experienced. Like I've had problems with some super non-stick bundt pans. They tell you to dial down 25 degrees with those. I will definately try that in the future.

I'm certain anyone who bakes professionally will enjoy the read! They do try to address both professional and non professional baking issues. Plus I like the fact that they state their preferences. For instance some books saturate you with info. on flours (really about gluten), I thought they cut nicely through the over abundance of facts and dirrectly make the difference in need to know info. between cake bakers and bread bakers.

Oh by the way, there were a couple other nice new books out. Don't ask me their titles (it's too late at night for me to think), but one was on plated desserts. By a NYC pastry chef, it was nice because he bridges traditional and contempory tastes in his flavors and yet had great contempory plating (along the lines of the Chocolatier books). Plus I found a little book on wedding cakes...in the bake of the book she gives sources for the 'top' cake decorators around the country. (I took notes in the book store) Now I have a ton of new web sites to check out.
 
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I'll definitely look for the Baker's Dozen book. Sounds like a good one.

Do you recall the title of the wedding cake book?
 
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Kimmie and Isa seemed less than impressed with The Baker's Dozen book. I'm going to find a Barnes & Noble this weekend and have a look.
 
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W.Debord,

Thanks for sharing with us all some details, I think I know what to buy my pastry chef for the holidays.

Has anyone read "The making of a pastry chef" by andrew Maclauclan? he's the pastry chef at the coyate Cafe.
It's a blend of top pastry chefs talking "shop" with oneanother in a very frank manner and it's intertwined with fantastic recipes.
Some of the contributers are
nancy silverton
Hannah glasse
Lindsey shere
Sherry Yard
Jim Graham
Dan Budd
Emily Luchetti
Francois Payard
Richard leach
Michele Gayer
Claudia flemming
Wayne Brachman
Nick malgeri
and many more,

I really enjoyed this read because it took me into the world of the Pastry Chef,and I think all Chefs should have a solid understanding of this art.

It's a John Wiley and sons publication.

I think you folks might enjoy it
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I have it cape chef. I haven't given it much attention actually. When I read it it's too close to me, like it's my personal notes on the industry. I didn't feel like I was learning anything from it, but it is nice to have others confirm your thoughts, so from that perpective I enjoyed it.

I never thought about it before but having chefs reading it would be VERY nice. I wish all head chefs would read it.

As far as buying 'The Bakers Dozen' for your pastry chef, I don't know....there's alot of baking books out there that would tear me up in excitement if my chef bought it for me as a gift. The pro books are hard to buy (Expensive) if your not finacially 'on your feet' like a younger chef an expensive book like Herme's is mind blowing.

Momoreg the cake book is small and it does show some clean nice cakes but you probably wouldn't want to buy it..... Are you interested for the same reasons I was, the names of decorators? I only wrote down the ones that had web sites about 50% of them. If you want any of them I can post them to help you.
 
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Thanks for the info Wendy,

My pastry chef michael gave me that book a couple of years ago and it helped me tune in better to his world,But then I ate to much chocolate :)

Every year I buy my kichen staff a cook book,but always buy my pastry chef something different and special.

Last year I got my staff "becoming a Chef" by Dorenburg and page and I got my pastry chef " a mondernest view of plated desserts".
This year I'm getting my sous chefs a subscription to art culinaire and my cooks " in madelienes kitchen" but I'm still not sure what to get for Micheal.

Any ideas ???
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isa

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CC,

Check out In The Sweet Kitchen or Claudia Fleming's The Last Course.
 
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I'm sorry Isa but i totally disagree with your choice of 'In the Sweet Kitchen', it's not a pro-pastry persons kind of book (ask Angry, Momoreg and MBrown, maybe I'm all wet, but.... I don't think so). Claudia Flemmings book is nice but look thru it first, because she takes desserts where I can't (can't sell them is what I mean).

Anything by Joel Bellouet or Herme are amazing and inspiring and building blocks for all pastry work. The last flier issued from JB Prince had at least 5 books that looked wonderful.

But those choices aren't $50. and under. If your need to stay under $50. 'The Bakers Dozen' would be one of my picks as would all the Chocolatier books, 'Baking With Julia", Martha's dessert book and tons more. The new book I saw yesterday had some very nice plated work.
 
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I never read "In the Sweet Kitchen", so it's hard to say whether I'd enjoy it from a professioal point of view, but Martha and Chocolatier are also geared to home cooks!

As far as wedding cakes, I just love looking at pictures of other people's work. If the book isn't that great, I guess I'll settle for some good websites, if you find any (hint, hint).:)

I have bought some of those very big Australian magazines with wedding cake ideas (mostly geared towards the consumer), and they are usually filled with gorgeous cakes!
 
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