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The Village Baker: Classic Regional Breads from Europe and America Paperback – Sep 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (Sept. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898159164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898159165
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 18.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #215,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold on June 28 2004
Format: Paperback
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 By Ed Haynes on July 5 2000
Format: Paperback
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 By Soren Dayton on May 7 2001
Format: Paperback
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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By Bryan Engblom on April 11 2004
Format: Hardcover
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
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By Barry B Ross on Dec 22 2003
Format: Paperback
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. Ortiz imparts his great knowledge with both simplicity and style. The recipes are clear, to the point and reliable. In a word they work and work beautifully. The details about the various village bakers, particularly in France and Italy impart extremely well Mr. Ortiz joyous passion for bread. It is a definite basic authority and a joy of a bread book to own. A word of caution: at least in my edition I have found two places where the quantities from commercial to home recipes are in error- check the olive oil bath for the pizza dough and reduce to the commercial proportion rather than that given for the home sized quantity. There is an erroneous smount of salt in another recipe (too much)
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By A Customer on Aug. 12 2002
Format: Paperback
Excellent book. Instructions are easy to follow and all the recipes I tried produced fabulous breads.
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By James E. Bennett on July 18 2002
Format: Paperback
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).
Get it - the information is presented in an enjoyable way with background information on bakeries and bakers.
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Format: Paperback
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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