There are a number of good books about baking artisinal breads out there, but Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads is one that is focused on pastries – breakfast pastries, to be specific – and not the same peasant breads and baguettes that you’ll find in other artisan baking books. It’s great to have a book that is more specialized and doesn’t devote only a couple of pages to things like croissants and danishes.
The cookbook is divided up into two primary sections – Basics and Baking – and each further divided into several chapters on Ingredients; Equipment Techniques; Quick Breads, Muffins and Scones; Enriched Dough; Laminated Dough; and Fillings, Glazes, Toppings and Spreads. The Basics section is very comprehensive and describes in-detail just about everything you might want to know to be able to make the recipes in the book. It’s a great place for beginners to start, but it’s a good reference in general. There are plenty of photos that illustrated all the steps described. The Baking section of the book is where you’ll find the recipes. They, too, are heavily illustrated. The recipes are given with metric, weight and volume measurements and are written out carefully, adding tips where necessary to ensure that you’re proceeding the right way as you bake. The recipes are detailed and easy to follow along with.
The book also includes a DVD where many of the techniques described in the book are performed. This resource makes the book incredibly easy to use – not to mention very unique – because it is as close as you could come to taking an actual cooking class on this subject. The demos primarily cover the topics mentioned in the Basics section of the cookbook, but also include detailed information on how to make full recipes. You’ll find a tutorial for croissants, for instance, on the DVD. It will be a huge help to anyone who is a visual learner, whether you’re experienced or still a beginner.