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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on January 4, 2008
This book is the same used by our professional cooking students at a local college and my staff (we serve up to several thousand meals a day) so I bought a copy for myself, as I am not a baker by trade. I found it very enlightening and filled in many of the gaps that I lack in the baking field. Since I normally work in cups and spoons, using the weights was different for me (buy a scale if you plan to use this book). I would have liked to see a little more info on blown and manipulated sugar (but then I suppose that is what the next book is for) and a few more recipes for phyllo pastry usage, pies, and petit fours. The author is clearly a high level professional and his instructions are clear. He explains much of the science behind the way the food is produced, which aids greatly in production. I don't recommend this book for the casual home baker as many of the quantities are huge and have to be paired down as well as some recipes talk about using equipment that you would find in a commercial kitchen (i.e. steam injectors for ovens when cooking bagettes). However, having prepared several recipes from this book I am very satisfied.
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on March 1, 2002
I am very impressed with this book and highly recommend it. The recipes are varied, from basic cookies to quick breads to impressive plated desserts. It is not for someone who wants to spend no more than 15 minutes, mix a few ingredients and get a dozen cookies (although some recipes are very quick and easy) , but it is perfect for me, an adventurous home baker who frequently needs to double or quadruple batches to obtain the quantities I need. Most recipes yield at least double the quantities of standard cookbooks, but there are frequently instructions on making smaller quantities or using alternate pan sizes. Do-ahead instructions are common, which is also a big plus to me.
There are several things explained, such as air-spraying chocolate, that I may never do, but was very interested in reading how they are done. Less "professional"options are often included, such as sifting cocoa rather than the air-spraying.
All in all, this is my new favorite cookbook, both for actual baking and for curling up and reading. It has given me lots of inspiration and I can hardly wait to get cooking!
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on February 2, 2004
If you're looking for clarity and completeness, you've found your book. I've always felt that a "professional" approach can only help to raise our standards even if we don't make a living in the kitchen. Friberg delivers. The book is very well written, the recipes and technique advice well organized and conceived.
Despite the title, most of the 650 recipes Friberg uses to illustrate his technique sections are of household, rather than industrial, proportions. You dog lovers will appreciate the "Special Reward Dog Biscuit" recipe with which Friberg begins the book as a tribute to his Akitas, who will not touch the store bought variety. Friberg's recipe for Sachertorte, among dozens of other delectables, has long resided in my culinary kennel. You'll find all the basics, of course, but if you want to go further, you won't need another book.
Food writer Elliot Essman's other reviews and food articles are available at [...]
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on April 9, 2003
What a great book! I am a pastry chef and I use this book daily! I have found so many great ideas and learned so much from this book. Even for beginning bakers this book is easy to understand. I have used about 15 recipes from this book and I have about every other recipe marked to use one day.
If you are looking for a book for making some serious dessert then this is a great book. I highly recomend it! It also has information on most of the desserts which I really like. It has where they come from, tips to help you with the dessert, and tells you about each ingrediant that you use and how it works.
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on March 7, 2002
I am very impressed with this book and highly recommend it. The recipes are varied, from basic cookies to quick breads to impressive plated desserts. It is not for someone who wants to spend no more than 15 minutes, mix a few ingredients and get a dozen cookies (although some recipes are very quick and easy), but it is perfect for me, an adventurous home baker who frequently needs to double or quadruple batches to obtain the quantities I need. Most recipes yield at least double the quantities of standard cookbooks, but there are frequently instructions on making smaller quantities or using alternate pan sizes. Do-ahead instructions are common, which is also a big plus to me. I also am pleased that most measurements are by weight rather than volume. Not only is this more accurate, but, with a good scale, it is much quicker and easier.
There are several things explained, such as air-spraying chocolate, that I may never do, but was very interested in reading how they are done. Less "professional"options are often included, such as sifting cocoa rather than the air-spraying.
All in all, this is my new favorite cookbook, both for actual baking and for curling up and reading. It has given me lots of inspiration and I can hardly wait to get cooking!
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on July 9, 2001
I'm not a pastry chef but still have a love of intricate baking. I really enjoyed Mr. Friberg's explanatory paragraphs prior to each recipe...he has a wonderful sense of humour and is very articulate. I agree the book is geared toward the professional pastry chef (of course, look at the book's title!) but the average baker can make some of the beautiful presentations in the book because of the author's detailed explanations and directions. Intricate chapters on doughs, bread/roll baking, cookies, tarts, LOTS of cakes, pastries, etc. as well as how to present the finished products. Some of the work such as with pulled and blown sugar should be attempted only with instruction and proper equipment because of the hot sugar involved...but let's face it...nothing in the book is rocket science and is "do-able" with lots of practice. Classes would be a plus...such as in the sugar work. Beautiful pictures and an entertaining, as well as highly instructional, book. Mr. Friberg comes across as quite friendly and willing to teach/share his wonderful recipes and methods. A far cry from some of the condescending books I have read from this field. This is not the "Cake Mix Doctor" so be prepared to spend time (and money) on the recipes but it is highly worth it in terms of quality and enjoyment.
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on April 8, 2000
Covers basic Doughs (bread, cake, pastry) Breakfast stuff, cookies, tarts cakes, individual cakes (including charlottes), custard soufflee and mousse, ice Cream, decorating with chcolate and sugar, and others. About 1150 pages.
This is an awesome book. It costs twice as much as any other book, but it's worth it. This book gives you the hows,whys, and principles of everything which is nice. For example it has a chart showing how creme caramel, creme brule, pastry cream, sabayon, pots de creme are all just modified creme anglais. However it does assume that you know a little bit, so for a first book "the cake bible" "the pie/pastry bible" or "baking with julia" might be more suitable. You know that all of the recipes are tested. There are a few things to look out for however. The first is that you will have to scale down all of the recipes - they are written for bulk. The second is that the photos and recipes aren't put together or indexed well - you have to hunt for the recipe for a particular photo. But all in all, a terrific book, definitely worth the price.
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on March 20, 2002
Chef Bo Friberg really out did himself with this latest edition, I highly recommend it. This new book is the updated version of a one-stop shop approach to baking and pastry. As a non-professional "home" cook, I really appreciate his step by step instruction. He caters to more than just professionals in his writing style and instructional approach. I found that with each recipe there was useful discussion, history and composition, and a good outline on how to begin each culinary project. It is VERY well written and fun to read, and loaded with good hints on baking in general not just specific to pastries. I have not yet found a recipe that I am disappointed with. The photographs are great and inspire me to recreate some pretty terrific and beautiful culinary feats. Of all the cookbooks I own this is by far the most tastefully and artistically done--and my new favorite!
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on June 30, 2000
Now, I must tell you that this book is well worth every penny. It is so huge and heavy, every bit of it is complete and full of interesting recipes to exciting and irresistable creations. This is another book I spend lots of time with. Even if I dont have to use it I still enjoy looking through it. There are over one thousand incredible recipes in this book. Bo Friberg is an exceptional Pastry Chef. He shares his techniques and you can even make up your own as well. If you are a serious Pastry Chef and you dont have this book....then get it. It is worth it and you will be so happy you did. Everyone who bakes should have this book. Recipes range from simple breads to cakes, cookies, mousses, ice creams, sorbets, candies...the list goes on. You will just have to see when you get it. Another thing I like about this book is that it teaches you how to make things such as Mascarpone cheese and Ricotta cheese. I could go on forever. Buy it. Use it. Love it.
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on June 8, 2000
Lots of helpful information if you want to learn about the art and not just follow a recipe.
* I read the glossary of ingredients in the back and now I sound like I know what I am talking about. It lists and describes all types of exotic ingredients. It gives interesting technical details like what makes dutch processed cocoa different than regular cocoa, stuff like that. Very cool.
* There are lots of cool pictures that are collected in a few glossy pages throughout the book. Helpful for coming up with your own artsy displays.
* The book is very large and heavy.
* The ingredients are given in weight and not volume measurements.
All these things help me to feel cool while I pretend I am a pastry chef.
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