It’s entirely possible that just about everything you need to know about baking is in Advanced Bread and Pastry, and if it’s not, then the book comes darn close to providing you with at least as much information as you could get on the subject at culinary school. It was actually designed to be a real resource for culinary students and baking professionals. The impressive book is over 1000 pages and covers everything from food safety to bread making to cake mixing to advanced plating techniques.
The book is aimed at professional bakers or experienced bakers who are looking to gain more insight on particular baking techniques and take their skills to the next level. Each chapter starts with a very detailed overview of its topic – Fermentation, Quick Breads, Pies and Tarts, Mousse, etc – and is loaded with photos of the processes and techniques it describes, as well as charts, tables and discussions that detail the advantages, disadvantages, and effects of various ingredients, methods and techniques. The information is well presented and, though technical, provides a good overall understanding of the topic at hand. In short, it is comprehensive.
After the discussion, formulas (a.k.a. recipes) using bakers %, inÂ addition to weights, are given. The formulas are scaled for a bakery-sized production (so, you might get 10 loaves of bread or 5 pound cake from one recipe), but there are measurements given for test-size batches that, while certainly useful to the pros who don’t want to waste product while working on new recipes, that will suit the experienced home baker looking for just one cake. That said, the recipes are planned for commercial convection ovens, so you might have to adjust the baking time if you only have a regular oven at home.
So, while this book might not be for everyone (especially very casual or occasional bakers), it is a great book and has tons of very useful information that will undoubtedly help improve your pastry and bread skills if you take the time to read through it.