The Village Baker: Classic Regional Breads from Europe and America Paperback – Sep 1 2003
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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 the Hardcover edition.
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 the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Well written with a lot of info and diagrams, no color pictures. I make a lot of sourdough bread and was looking for a new resource for additional ideas for European varieties... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Robert Tanner
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 knowPublished on April 11 2004 by Bryan Engblom
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 morePublished on Dec 22 2003 by Barry B Ross
Excellent book. Instructions are easy to follow and all the recipes I tried produced fabulous breads.Published on Aug. 12 2002
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 morePublished on July 18 2002 by James E. Bennett
...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 morePublished on Oct. 23 2000 by Jessica S. Spiegel