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jerry i h
- Publié sur Amazon.com
When the author wrote this cookbook 20 years ago, one always thought of French cooking when it came to bread and pastry. Since then, many businesses and culinary careers have been based on this pioneering book. Yet, this book remains pretty much the only game in town when it comes to Italian baking. Some things like focaccia and tiramisu have entered into our culinary consciousness, yet there remains much that is as yet unexplored, viz. a rich dense almond cake baked in a sweetened pasta frolla, pandoro, or vegetable breads.
The main problem with this book is the intended audience: experienced home bakers. If you are a beginner, it is best to avoid this book until you have gained a little bit of skill. The book does have quite a nice section on baking basics, but these are rather generic. Recipes themselves tend not to have enough detail for the beginner: info on when something is properly baked, how to tell when a dough is properly proofed, how to form some of the more unusual shapes, etc. are often lacking. This is not a problem for someone who already knows how to bake, but can be a problem to a neophyte.
Note that the recipes have all been carefully tested. I have no problems when I bake from this book, lack of specific procedures in some recipes not withstanding. All recipes have separate instructions for hand, processor, or stand mixer. If one of these methods is not appropriate for a specific recipe, the author will clearly say so (unlike some others books I could name that says that any of the 3 methods will work equally well for all recipes). Another touch I appreciate is that the measurements for flour are listed in both cups and weight (hurrah!) (one cup of AP flour is listed as the same as 4 1/2 oz or 135 grams, implying that she uses dip and sweep).
Unlike some current bestselling baking cookbooks which seem to have been invented at the computer keyboard, the author spent considerable time traveling and learning in Italy what it means to be baker. She collected many traditional and popular baked goods as they are actually baked in Italy, and successfully translated their recipes for the American home kitchen. If you have some baking skills, you should have this book. You will enjoy baking from this book, in as much as the Italian flavors will, in many cases, seem to be new, exotic and special, at the very least a surprising departure from their French cousins.
Here is how the page count breaks down: reminisces (20 pp.), baking basics (70 pp.), traditional bread (50 pp.), new breads (30 pp.), leftover bread (20 pp.), sweet breads (50 pp.), rolls (20 pp.), pizza (40 pp.), laminated doughs (30 pp.), tarts (30 pp.), cakes (20 pp.), cookies (30 pp.). It seems to cover all the bases as she found them in commercial Italian bakeries. According to the author, Italians, like their French counterparts, never bake at home since bakeries are so common in every town no matter how small or large. So, you will not find baking recipes from the home kitchens of Italy.