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The Village Baker: Classic Regional Breads from Europe and America [Paperback]

Joe Ortiz
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2003
Classic Regional Breads From Europe and America

This paperback edition of the IACP award-nominated treasure is one of the essential references for any baker worth their salt. Joe Ortiz's acclaimed collection of recipes from the village bakers of France, Italy, Germany, and regional America is full of healthful and delicious departures from the usual array of baked goods. Nearly 100 recipes, illustrated throughout.

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From Amazon

The long and short of it is you could pick up a copy of The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz, start at the beginning, bake your way to the last page, and open your own village bakery. A California regional baker since 1978 (Joe Ortiz bakes breads, and his wife bakes pastries at Gayle's Bakery in Capitola, California), Ortiz brings his years of personal experience and his endless travels through Europe to the one subject he holds so dear: good bread. And by good bread, he means the best of what France, Germany, and Italy have to offer, as well as notable contributions from great American bakers working in the traditional, village-baker style: dense, crusty, flavorful loaves of bread that support life in and of themselves. Ortiz holds out the promise that this can actually be accomplished in the home kitchen--with the highest standards.

Ortiz's book starts in the style of a primer with sections on the basic ingredients, kinds of leavenings, and basic techniques and procedures. He wants the newcomer to bake the very basic French loaf (think baguette) several times to get one decent loaf under the belt buckle. Then it's open season on regional breads, rye breads, and specialty breads. In a final section, Ortiz gives the true enthusiast professional style recipes and ideas. --Schuyler Ingle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

With this inspired book, Ortiz, a Capitola, Calif.-based "village baker," generously and accurately shares the art of producing "crusty, flavorful bread--with a chewy, voluptuous texture, the aroma of nuts, and a caramelized crust." The product of the serious study of French, German and Italian bakers and his own experimentation back at home, the book brings together of methods and recipes, including such mouth-watering selections as country-style French bread, raisin nut rye rolls, onion wheat bread and polenta bread. What makes the volume special--in addition to Ortiz's admirable dedication to thoroughness and accuracy--are the homemade starters that are used instead of commercially produced yeasts to give breads character. While recipes for professional bakers are included, the home baker--even the novice--should be able to follow the Ortiz method and come up with some great stuff.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book was written by Joe Ortiz of Gayle's Bakery in Capitola, California and published eleven years ago. At the time, the 'Library Journal' said that good books for the home baker are few and far between. In 1993, Ortiz' book was just on the crest of renewed interest in artisinal breads. At the time, the most noteworthy books on artisinal bread baking were Carol Field's 'The Italian Baker' and Bernard Clayton's 'The Breads of France'. Peter Reinhart had written the small, quirky 'Brother Juniper's Bread Book' which was long on one big idea, but not very detailed about some other aspects of baking. Bernard Clayton's giant 'The Complete Book of Breads' did not even cover two of the three main types of yeast rising bread methods. It was more concerned with giving good, easy home recipes for a wide variety of different breads based entirely on 'La methode directe' or the direct method. Therefore, Ortiz' excellent bibliography contains mostly works written in French.
In the last eleven years, a number of excellent books on artisinal bread have been written and published, especially by Peter Reinhart, Nancy Silverton, and Rose Levy Beranbaum. I have not read or reviewed Reinhart's award winning 'The Bread Baker's Apprentice', so my favorite artisinal bread text before today was Beranbaum's 'The Bread Bible'. Ortiz' book has just taken it's place. Beranbaum's book is almost twice as long and has a long introduction on ingredients and general techniques, but her presentation of the differences between the three major methods for yeast bread making simply do not succeed in making the subject quite as clear, as interesting, and as convincing as Ortiz' book. Beranbaum's book is still a great work with recipes for lots of types of breads that Ortiz does not cover.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a GREAT Book July 5 2000
Joe Ortiz's book changed my life. I had been baking straight yeasted breads for several years. These were good, decent breads, but plain. I longed for a more complex loaf - one with the irregular holes in the crumb, one that had a chewier texture, and longer shelf life. Joe Ortiz's book showed me how to achieve all those goals. His book also explains why certain methods produce different results. Another of the helpful features of his book is that he distinguishes his recipes by fermentation method(i.e. sourdough, sponge, old dough, or straight yeast), which makes it a book a beginning baker can use, and grow with as the baker's skill develops (the straight yeasted doughs are the easist). I think this is a must-have book for any serious, or semi-serious homebaker. This is THE book for the homebaker who wants to take their baking up to the next level.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but funny emphasis May 7 2001
I like a lot of things about this book. Excellent recipes. Lots of things to help you understand bread baking. However, I was a little startled on its emphasis. The book is split into 6 chapters. (1) Basics, (2) French breads, (3) Italian breads, (4) German breads, (5) American breads, and (6) Information for bakery scale production of breads (recipes in kgs, rather than cups and the like)
However, nearly all the emphasis is on the French and Italian breads and there is very little on German breads, which have always struck me as having just as remarkable a tradition, if not a more impressive one. One interesting consequence of this is that certain kinds of techniques are short-changed as it appears that sourdough is on the decline in France and is gone in Italy, but is alive and well in Germany.
All things considered, this book should be strongly recommended, but its emphasis should be understood. Perhaps a 2nd edition could address some of these.
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I have to admit that despite 40 years of baking, I've frankly flunked French bread. I can make excellent pannetone, challah, white sandwich bread, spelt bread, wheat, brioche, coffee cake and oatmeal breads. But I have never once gotten a loaf of French bread from any recipe that even dimly resembled what I remembered from living in Europe, let alone the poor substitute in American grocery stores. Well, Mr. Ortiz' book solved that problem for me.
I started with his basic French bread recipe. This involves proofing the dry yeast with warm water, then pouring the lot into a pile of flour, either beating or mixing (I use a Kitchenaid, and he has specific instructions for hand, mixer or food processor.) I used ice water (weird, but keeps the dough at 75 degrees F, necessary for the correct build of the gluten.) I threw in the ascorbic acid into the yeast, and the salt into the dough as instructed. I went for more water in the dough as Ortiz recommends if you can handle it. I followed his instructions to the letter, as best I could.
MANY hours later (rising took quite a while as the dough is so cool) I threw the boule onto the hot stone in the oven, chucked in a bit of water to make steam on the oven floor (you can do this on a gas oven.) Lo, after 40 minutes, I got a loaf of French bread with a creamy, somewhat gelatinous crumb and a crunchy, crisp crust. I also did use French SAF yeast and a French style flour from a Vermont based baking catalog company. Success! Well, well, well.
This book is not strong on German breads, which is a shame. Mr. Ortiz frankly admits he is not a fan of heavy German breads. Well, he must not have eaten the ones we enjoyed in Southern Germany, where bread is considered a diet food and recommended by doctors, if it's whole grain.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wow!
this book is by far the best baking bopk that i have(I have quite a few) it is one of the best values for your money and covers just about everything you need to know
Published on April 11 2004 by Bryan Engblom
5.0 out of 5 stars a joy of a book
This is one of my three favorite bread books , along with Carole Field's superb The Italian Baker and the magnificent French professional Baking Series books. Mr. Read more
Published on Dec 22 2003 by Barry B Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent book. Instructions are easy to follow and all the recipes I tried produced fabulous breads.
Published on Aug. 12 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!
Joe Ortiz's book was/is a wonderful addition to our 'bread library' and we were so impressed that we also purchased his wife's book (also a great book). Read more
Published on July 18 2002 by James E. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars As the beneficiary of a home baker...
...I recommend this book! My fiance has been baking a loaf of bread every weekend since the start of the new year, so I've bought him a few bread baking books. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2000 by Jessica S. Spiegel
4.0 out of 5 stars Some reservations ...
This book is certainly a very knowledgeable book and I quite agree with some of the reviews by other readers. Read more
Published on Nov. 23 1999 by Joan W.C. Yuen
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best artisan bread book I have ever used
As a nearly 30 year home bread baker, I was not expecting to find this fresh new look at breadmaking by the traditional artisans of France, Germany and Italy. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!
As an Artisan Bread Baking Instructor, I found Joe Ortiz' book, The Village Baker to be the best book on the market for helping the novice bread baker to understand in plain... Read more
Published on April 22 1998 by Tina Powers (breadlady@huntel.net)
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will get you started and keep you challenged.
When I outgrew my bread machine, five years ago, a (chef) friend of mine loaned me his copy of Ortiz's book. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 1998
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