This is the first book by Mr Hitz that I have purchased and I am certainly not sorry that I did. It is something that, to my knowledge, has not been attempted before, that is, write a whole book only on breakfast pastries/breads. Usually breakfast is just one section of a book, not the whole.
The binding is not exactly softcover as the book description states but turtleback, which combines the hardback binding with a laminated cover.
It includes an informative DVD that describes the basic procedures and methods. I only wish its case was not glued to the back of the first page, as it tore some of the paper. Happily it does not show until you open the cover.
This book could have easily been called "The complete dummy's guide to baking artisan pastries and breads". It is definately geared towards making these goods easy and accesible to everyone and it describes every aspect and detail in a way one would teach a complete novice or a child. So if you are not confident about your skills this is the book for you.
The pages are gloss and there are many photos of the products and the procedures. Also there are photos of all the ingredients and equipment.
The book is divided into 2 sections:
Quick breads,muffins and scones
Fillings, glazes, toppings and spreads
The Basics section is quite extensive having 65 pages. All the ingredients and equipment are thoroughly discussed and the whys and hows of the techniques are revealed and explained. The author also discusses the unhealthy qualities of trans fats and even though he includes various fats in this section he recommends the use of pure butter instead of shortening/margarine for the recipes.
The ingredients in the recipes are listed in Metric, Imperial and Volume measurements to fascilitate all users.
In the scones etc section I like the Swiis carrot cake (after all the author is Swiss) that uses butter not oil and hazelnut meal. Having mentioned oil, the recipes made with it (eg zucchini bread) are nothing special, but if you substitude melted butter or at least replace some of the oil with it the taste of the products gets a boost. I also like the Tirolean chocolate and the mixed berry muffins. There is even a recipe for whole wheat cinnamon raisin bagels.
In the Enriched dough section the Brioche uses the proper method of refrigerating for a few hours before baking, which enhances the taste. There are several variations of brioche like lemon brioche doughnuts and rum-raisin-almond brioche.
I also like the Apple kuchen using a brioche base. Other tasty recipes are the Russian braid and sweet glazed cinnamon buns, but really, in this section all the recipes are good.
The laminated section includes croissants and danish (of course) using both plain and chocolate dough. There is also a savory variation using whole wheat, ham and cheese.
Then come the various toppings (like crumb/streusel), glazes (like lemon/sugar) and fillings (almond,cinnamon etc).
Finally there is an appendix that includes troubleshooting, resources, recommended reading, glossary and index.
A low price combined with such quality makes this book a must for those interested in the subject.