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The Art of Baking Bread: What You Really Need to Know to Make Great Bread [Hardcover]

Matt Pellegrini
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2012
Sidestep years of unrewarding trial and error and learn to bake like a master with one comprehensive book. With over 230 color photographs, more than 150 detailed step-by-step instructions covering basic to advanced techniques, over 200 tips and sidebars filled with invaluable information and troubleshooting advice, plus clear explanations of ingredients, equipment, and the entire bread-baking process, The Art of Baking Bread: What You Really Need to Know to Make Great Bread will teach you to work, move, think, anticipate, smell, feel, and, ultimately, taste like an artisan baker.

The Art of Baking Bread accomplishes what no other book has—it teaches the secrets of professional bakers in language anyone can understand. Matt Pellegrini offers home cooks confidence in the kitchen and precise, easy-to-follow blueprints for creating baguettes, ciabatta, focaccia, brioche, challah, sourdough, and dozens of other delicious rolls and loaves that will make you the envy of your fellow bakers—professional or otherwise.

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About the Author

Matt Pellegrini, a lifelong home baker and cook, is the co-author of Cowboy: The Ultimate Guide to Living Like a Great American Icon, which includes an entire chapter on mastering the art of chuck wagon cooking. In addition to a career in writing, Matt has worked as a strength coach, carpenter, litigation attorney, public policy analyst, and many things in between. He lives in Denver, Colorado, with his cattle dog, Appaloosa.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I need to know Dec 21 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent resource for us newbies to bread making as the steps are clear, concise and the pictures are easy to follow. Can't wait to get started.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Baking your first loaf? Aug. 11 2012
step 13: Congratulations you've baked your first loaf!
Well not exactly, I have several books on bread baking and this is the first time I have produced home made 'Artisan bread' successfully.
Thanks to the tricks and not so secret secrets of professional bakers I found that the most valuable part of this book was the steam and humidity required to produce an excellent crust. Having moved continents and now living at a higher altitude Matt described how to get around my previous frustrations on not so good bread baking.
The clear guide to measurements and equations means that any home baker can adjust quantities to suit their needs.
I did however find the steps in getting the end result time consuming and somewhat drawn out but the end result was one of the best home produced loaves to date.
I will certainly continue to use most of the methods but maybe play around with times as it literally took a whole day to make one loaf, as much as I love baking, who has the time to spend the hours preparing, and then having to wait up to 3 hours after removing the loaf from the oven before eating it?
I do however recommend this book and was glad I stumbled across it in the library, I will be purchasing my own copy shortly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lost me on page 12 April 25 2012
By jlw - Published on
yes, i'm giving this book four stars even though the author lost me on page 12. for future reference, the author might want to refrain from calling his prospective audience "fools." his word and used twice to emphasize that he meant it. the insult turned me off to the book, which actually is pretty good. it also made me much more sensitive to other points that i disagreed with.

author states that he wrote this book to enable beginners to decipher other books. he included photos and implies that he needed to do this as this type of resource doesn't exist elsewhere.

the photos are excellent and the descriptions and instructions very good. if you are a beginner and are willing to accept his way of doing things it is a welcome addition to the bookshelf. however, he skips kneading with a machine, declares punching down dough "archaic", declares multiple things better than others without proof. he does state that he is ignoring machine kneading because that isn't what his book is about. fair point, but the overwhelming majority of bread will eventually use it. a page or two would be helpful. similarly, he declares punching down to be "archaic" and yet what he terms "folding" is simply punching down and chafing combined. he also makes way too much of what he apparently believes is a unique discovery. why, you can use your oven as a rising box! who knew?

as for the implication that his is the only instruction with picture book resource available, i have two on my shelf. "Bread" by Treuille and Ferrigno and "My Bread" by Lahey. others exist.

this book has almost no recipes. that (aside from annoying me on page 12) is its major weakness. the above mentioned "Bread" has photos, recipes and instruction and is a better book in my opinion, but as a beginning instruction book this is worthwhile if you don't already own another and don't require recipes. the photos are excellent, the prose is usually clear and most of his suggestions for equipment are good.

so, to anyone still reading, what did he annoy me with on page 12 to cause me to write a picky critical review of a basically good book? he states that anyone who doesn't believe that a scale is the most important piece of equipment is a fool. well, good bread has been being baked for hundreds of years without scales. i don't use one. why? the majority of older recipes do not give the ingredients in weights. also, he is wrong about the most important single piece of equipment. it is the oven. i challenge him to a bake off where we each get a single piece of equipment. he gets a scale. i get an oven. i win.

summary. good book, but he annoyed me. most people will find my complaints petty. Treuille and Ferrigno's "Bread" is better, mainly for the recipes.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing... May 9 2012
By Dragan Matijevic - Published on
The book promissed a lot and delivered a little. The author could have used tenth of the text pages to cover what he was talking about - it is far too winded, the directions should have been short and to the point (if the author's initial promises were to be kept), instead of woffling on about irrelevant details, thus losing the reader at the very start. The letters are far too big, the book design is of filler type (make everything big so that there are more pages printed), the pictures are off colour and of amater-like quality, all of this giving the whole book impression of a rushed job. I give it one star for the good original concept and promise.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Logic Kept My Interest Throughout Dec 1 2012
By Cindy in OH - Published on
I have lots of bread books but certainly will be keeping this one. The logic and understanding of making bread kept my interest throughout. Many principals were familiar but his depth of explanation and detail were far superior. As an amateur baker his 5 pages dealing with the bakers percentage was finally something that I can grasp and actually put in practice. Thanks for the Matt!

Have to agree that the reviewer with the oven would win over Matt and his scales!!! Funny though that 'fool' did not put me into distress. It did make me realize his seriousness over weighing ingredients. Would the bread made 1000 years ago be as good as the bread we weigh today? Some how I doubt it.

Yes, the pictures were not top quality but did flow with the instructions. Still a good investment for my money.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Baking Bread Feb. 5 2014
By J. Buehring - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Baking good bread is an art. The pictures are beautiful. Insightful thoughts on perfect bread even every time you bake.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for beginners Nov. 18 2013
By twhite - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a great book for the novice bread baker. There are not a lot of recipes but it explains each step in the bread making process so a beginner can make great bread of any kind. If you are an experienced baker you won't get a lot out of this book.
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