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The Taste of Bread: A translation of Le Goût du Pain, comment le préserver, comment le retrouver Hardcover – Apr 30 2001

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2001 edition (April 30 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0834216469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0834216464
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 21.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #622,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"For all of us English speakers who are passionate bakers of French bread, it is wonderful indeed that at last we have the English translation of this seminal book by its most famous contemporary master, Professor Raymond Calvel. James J. MacGuire and Ronald L. Wirtz have labored long and lovingly to present the Professor’s generous spirit as well as his words, and have also included special information on North American ingredients, especially flours, where they differ from the French. This is essential reading–a real treasure–for anyone interested in this very special craft."

- Julia Child, Author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking

From the Back Cover

At long last, the classic text by acclaimed French baking expert Raymond Calvel is available in English. Professor Calvel is known throughout the world for his research on the production of quality French and European hearth breads, and this new English edition, undertaken by translator Ronald L. Wirtz and technical editor James J. MacGuire, brings Calvel’s expertise to the English-speaking world.

The Taste of Bread is a thorough guide to the elements and principles behind the production of good-tasting bread, including a broad variety of bread products as flavored breads, breadsticks, croissants, brioches, and other regional baked goods. Each important aspect of the process is covered:

  • wheat and milling
  • characteristics of breadmaking flour
  • dough composition
  • oxidation in the mixing process
  • leavening and fermentation
  • effects of dough division and formation
  • baking and equipment
  • storage

The English edition provides notes and information specifically on the use of North American flours and includes recipes in both metric and US units. Enhanced with new black-and-white and color photography, The Taste of Bread will be a key resource for bakers and other culinary professionals and students who must understand the complex elements that yield quality breads.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is by the man who revolutionized bread baking and it is excellent. The technical information on flours, oxidation, etc is very good. All recipes are based on the bakers percentage formula so it is very easy to scale anything. It is more for professionals but I have had no trouble adapating it to home use. This book will teach you to be a bread baker, not a follower of recipes. I highly recommend this for anyone who is serious about bread baking. If you are a casual baker of loaves it may be too much. If you can read basic French I encourge you to get the french edition as it costs about 25E's instead of the crazy price for the English translation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so looking forward to this book. Even at such a high price, it is considered one of the best books in the world of bread baking and worth every penny.

Much to my dismay, it arrived with the correct cover but a totally different book inside...."The Rise of Experimental Biology". So far removed from bread making................it's horrificly funny.

I'd love to order it again, but I'm afraid I might end up with the same bizarre copy. Better yet, I believe I should be entitled to a one for a better price or better yet free for my inconvenience. No way to talk to an actual person from Amazon about this..........so Buyer Beware you may end up with the hazzle of returning a much awaited book too!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9dbd9d68) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
78 of 79 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dbf7fe4) out of 5 stars Excellent book - bad mistakes June 15 2006
By Welle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The book is a translation of an excellent book written by a widely accepted master of his art.

The original is in French - le gut du pain - and ist is much better!

Even if there are some additions to adjust the recipes to the american (stronger) flour and even if there are some very useful explanations in the first theoretical chapters that are not part of the original still the translation is by far not as excellent as the book.

The pictures are poor (b/w) compared to the coloured ones in the french book, the layout is sometimes chaotic especially when it comes to the formulas.

The worst problem of the translation alas are the formulas - being the core of the book:

Some examples:

* Exhibit 10-3: A basic french bread. The water is given after (!) a dough rest of 15 minutes, but what dough is there without it?

The given number of the total time is wrong. The translation adds 80 minutes from a simple advice to punch down the dough after 80 minutes - these 80 minutes being part of 150 minutes of the 1st Fermentation. The original has it right - why did they change the number?

* Exhibit 14-10: In the formula the sugar is 17.64 oz which makes 25% compared to 70.55 oz for flour. The same amount of butter is interpreted as 15% - another mistake which makes it hard to figure the true meaning of what is written.

These mistakes are just examples to show the problem.

It is often hard to correct these mistakes without knowing the original. I still bought the translation to understand the first chapters - I don't speak French. When it comes to baking I use the french edition which is much safer leading to success. By the way the french book is available at amazon.fr for a lot less money.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dbfadc8) out of 5 stars The ultimate bakers' manual Jan. 9 2003
By Woods - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is by the man who revolutionized bread baking and it is excellent. The technical information on flours, oxidation, etc is very good. All recipes are based on the bakers percentage formula so it is very easy to scale anything. It is more for professionals but I have had no trouble adapating it to home use. This book will teach you to be a bread baker, not a follower of recipes. I highly recommend this for anyone who is serious about bread baking. If you are a casual baker of loaves it may be too much. If you can read basic French I encourge you to get the french edition as it costs about 25E's instead of the crazy price for the English translation.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dbfc324) out of 5 stars The Foundation of all Bread Books Dec 11 2004
By Tad S. Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is my favorite bread book bar none. However, it's for the serious baker. The recipes are industrial, so you need to break out a calculator and have a scale to measure ingredients. You also need a serious mixer that can simulate an industrial mixer. Kitchen Aid would work, but I use a Bosch.

By using this book, the quality of my bread dramatically improved due primarily to (1) his mixing techniques, and (2) his autolyse (rest period) for whole wheat breads.

Any other bread book that's worth anything references this one. I think the other bread books probably sell more because they are more user friendly. But this is the foundation upon which all others seem to build.

If you're way serious about bread baking, this is the book for you.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dbfc6e4) out of 5 stars Do not Blow a Hundred Dollars! - Not Yet, Anyway. Nov. 18 2006
By Southern Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I wish to thank Amazon for removing my purchase of this book from backorder where it remained for half a year and mysteriously canceling without notice, citing The Taste of Bread is "no longer available from any source" as the reason. Days later Amazon reissued this title for public sale at a cost of $15.00 more than they charged me!

Is it really available now? --- Who knows?

I thank Amazon because during those months of waiting for my order to ship, I fell in love with --- Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes, By Jeffrey Hamelman and have worked from it extensively with remarkable result. In fact, Professor Calvel, a legend for his autolyse method, also offers his recommendation of "Bread: A Baker's Book." Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes

Nancy Silverman of La Brea Bakery occasionally utilizes autolyse method for some of her recipes Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery: Recipes for the Connoisseur. However, Jeffrey Hamelman demystifies the autolyse technique and simplifies it to the point of becoming a nonevent in the baking technique arsenal.

My homework on this edition of Taste of Bread quite likely spared me an expensive learning curve, and the much aggravation of struggling with what many have claimed is a poorly edited translation of Raymond Calvel's Le Gout du Pain. It is my hope that they will seize upon the interest in Raymond Calvel's contribution to baking and re-issue a more finely edited version for the American baker at a cost that reflects the current market structure.

Following is the table of contents for this 200 page book

----Those who are not conversant with Baker's percentages will struggle with this information that is aimed at commercial bakers. It is not structured toward the casual cook.


Type and Condition of Wheat Milled into
Bread Flour
Nature of Breadmaking Flour
Technical Characteristics of Breadmaking
The Composition of Dough
The influence of Processing Agents and the
Use of Additives
Additions to French Bread in Certain
Foreign Countries
The Influence of Ingredients
Mixing: Dough Production and the
Physicochemical Development, Oxidation, and
Maturation of Dough
Excessive Oxidation and Its Consequences
The Role of Bread Fermentation
The Influence of Different Breadmaking
Methods on Taste
Evolutionary Changes in the Different
Breadmaking Methods
Organic Acids
The Identification of Volatile Organic
Acids and Their Influence on the Taste of
The Relationship of Organic Acids, Mixing
Intensity, Dough Oxidation Level, and Bread
Production Method
Dough Maturation and Development
The Influence of Dough Maturation Level
The Effects of Changes in pH and Residual
Sugar Levels
The Effects of Loaf Molding
The Effect of Type and Degree of Paton
The Effects of Freezing Unbaked and
Parbaked Loaves
Bread Crust
Ovens Used in Bread Baking
Formation, Coloration, and Degree of Crust
Baking and Their Relationship to Bread Taste
The Effects of Oven Steam on Crust Teste
Flour-Dusted Breads and Crust Taste
Scaling of Bread Crust
Frozen Storage of Baked Bread
Bread Crumb
Foremation and Baking of the Crumb
Crumb Color and Cell Structure
Bread Staling
Storage and Staling Effects on Bread Taste
Bread Staling and Factors that Influence It
Consumption of Stale Bread
Shelf Life and Taste of Industrially
Produced Packaged Breads
Types of Bread Spoilage
Basic French Bread
Breadmaking with Levain and with Levain de
Yeast-Raised French Bread (Pain Courant)
Rustic (Country-Style) Bread with
Pure-Wheat Flour
Specialty Breads
Specialty Breads
Breads for Filling or Topping
Savory and Aromatic Breads
Rusks and Specialty Toasted Breads
Rusks (Biscotte Courant)
Gluten-Free Breads
Breadsticks and Grissini
Yeast-Raised Sweet Doughs
Traditional Croissants
Chocolate-Filled Buns from Croissant Dough
Snail Rolls
Regional Brioches
Regional Brioches
Vendee-Style Brioche
Specialty Brioches
Brioche-Type Hearth Cakes from Other Lands
Qualities of Bread
The Nutritional Value of Bread
Caloric Content and Bioavailability
The Progressive Decline of Bread
Consumption in France
Bread Made from Stone-Ground Flour
Bread and Gastronomy
Comparing Bread with Other Foods
Selected Works of Professor Raymond Calval
Ronald L. Wirtz
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dbfc7c8) out of 5 stars An imperfect, invaluable book March 10 2010
By Jim Chevallier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am NOT the ideal reader for this book, since my interest is far more in bread history than in actually making it (something I do very badly). And so there are huge swathes of this book which impress me by their apparent precision and their description of the workings of various ingredients without my being able to judge their accuracy or even, entirely, their usefulness. There are, however, very few serious books on bread history (though lots filled with colorful myths) and Calvel's book is also important, if imperfect, on that score. For one thing, he lived through a period when the baguette was still a new bread and the now exotic "wine merchant's bread" (pain marchand de vin) was a standard item, as well as various wartime changes and restrictions and the ups and downs of bread quality at different periods. As a result his history on such things tends to be dependable (I have quibbles even here, but data is so rare on some of this, it is hard to say definitively that he is wrong). He is less dependable for developments that occurred before his period of activity and on a few points is shockingly wrong. The 19th century "pain viennois" for instance was made, like the modern one, with some milk added; Calvel claims it was not. The term "pain de fantaisie" (fancy bread; literally, "fantasy bread") has existed since the 18th century; he gives a rather confused explanation of its origin in relation to the baguette (which was indeed a pain de fantaisie at its start but only one, and a rather late, example of the genre). His expertise is at the same time illustrated and undermined by his mention of August Zang, the Austrian officer who brought the croissant (and some important techniques) to France. The fact that he mentions him at all is a sign of his erudition in the field; the fact that he (like previous but equally erroneous sources) calls him "Baron Zang" shows that he has accepted second hand information without doing any primary research (contemporary records make it clear that Zang was a commoner). This goes to the heart of the weakness in his history before about 1930 - he seems to have accepted legends of the trade (like the baker he was) and never bothered to do hard historical research (like the professor he became). Along the same lines, he credits Zang with introducing the poolish method, when in fact it is first mentioned in France decades after Zang's activity there. Etc. For those trying to research such subjects in any serious way, Calvel's book is invaluable; unfortunately, it is also undependable. Among the many positives which make the book a treasure despite such lapses is the fact that he includes photographs of most of the modern French breads. One would think such an image would be easy to find, but in fact even France's National Bakers' Union offers nothing of the sort. And so if bread as a subject interests you in any serious way, either technically or historically, you should at least find a chance to browse this book. The American version (I read French but have not seen the original) is pricey, but may well be worth owning. Certainly, it is a modern classic in the field.