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4.6 out of 5 stars
31
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 16 September 2003
This book is worth its considerable weight in vanilla pods.
Pitched squarely at the catering professional, but written in an accessible style that makes it equally useful for the serious (and motivated) amateur, The Professional Pastry Chef is a comprehensive reference work that will enable you to get the best out of your existing skills and will lead you to acquire new ones.
I bought this book because I'm a professional chef; I also have a love of good food writing, and this book has elements that appeal to both parts of me.
Professional cooking is all about reaching a certain standard of competency - when that standard has been reached, then most instructions in print will be understandable and useful. This book keeps that threshold low without being patronising or losing its usefulness to the professional, and is definitely of use to the amateur as well as we galley-rats.
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on 19 May 2010
I have a collection of aprox 400 modern and vintage cookery/recipe books.
Perfect for someone who wants to expand on their baking skills, if you are a beginner it may be complicated, but will still inspire you.
I would recommend this for people who as well as bakeing want to know more about the process, how the ingredients in a recipe interact and react . If you have an understanding already of the basics eg. gluten in pastry then you will find out more here.
I was looking for a book that had an authentic recipe for strawberry tartlets made with french pastry and fresh strawberries. I did not anticipate spending so much on a modern book and there are other books that had what i needed.
However i am stunned by this book and will keep it forever. I am considering another copy so that i can use one and keep one perfect.
You will find explanations of why you are following the recipe in such a way and how the ingredient effects the outcome.
The photographs are outstanding. I would buy this book just to read it and look at the photos .
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on 12 April 2009
This is a substantial book, a full 1000 A4 pages of probably a good 900 recipes - it's more like a dessert bible rather than a Jamie/ Gordon/ Hugo cookbook. I am a not particularly able amateur and so far I have tried around 5 recipes and each has been wonderful (flourless spice cake, danish pastries, shoehorn pastries, almond macaroons and chocolate gugelhupfs). The instructions are clear and easy to follow, there are plenty of photographs littered through so you can compare your efforts to Bo's and (what was my favourite bit) a marvellous little introductory to each recipe, detailing some of the history of the cake, some personal anecdotes, descriptions of the end result, etc. I have frequently sat down and just skimmed through the book reading these.

Obviously this has been written primarily with the professional in mind and so each recipe is generally for 90 pastries or some other such huge number but all it takes is a calculator and digital scales and this is easily overcome. Another thing to bear in mind is that some recipes can take a while, especially yeast based ones as (no shortcuts) Bo will have you leavig them to prove three times for around an hour each. This isn't true for all of them, the macaroons in fact being turned out in less than half an hour, cooking time included.

Overall, this is a brilliant book and one of my most treasured cookery reference books. I only wish it came on Sony Ebook reader.
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on 5 March 2014
I really like this book. It takes a little getting used, I didn't open and go "wow! I love it!" but it's a grower and I think they are the best. It's dense, there are very few coloured pictures. It's very big and it is intended as an accompaniment to a pastry student. I am a keen novice and home cook but for me I want to know the hows and whys and I want to be able to recreate the best things at home. It would take a long time to work your way through this book but it's great to dip into in the mean time.

There are tons of recipes, as another reviewer mentioned you will likely need to sclae down if you're a home cook but it does offer you quanties for a half batch for many recipes, so if you have a large family or hungry friends this may suffice. It's very clear, it offers you background to some well known bakes. It tells you how to make pastries, doughs and fillings, it explains things like the bakers percentage/ratio, it explains what you are looking for and encourages you to bake in order and plan ahead to create efficiency. It's got a nice explanation on getting a good rise and flavour from your bread and lots more!

I'm only beginning to scratch the surface of this book and I have not yet baked many recipes from it but I have used the fundemental priciples it explains in recipes from my other books and it's really making a difference. It gives you tips on how to do so many things, it's not colourful, it's not instant gratfication spoon fed to you but once you get beneath the surface of this book it's a gem.
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on 6 October 2006
I own this book, and I have to say that this is the best. The puff pastry recipe is remarkable, and many of the recipes turn out well. If you want to have professional recipes, this is the one.
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on 6 December 2013
As someone involved in the catering business and pastry studious, this book is absolutely second to none.

Set on really eye-catching print, with very well laid out recipe content, and photographs that will have you
drooling copiously in your dreams, this book is extremely addictive.

The amount of information in Classical repertoire techniques, and topics covered explained in great detail by the Masterchef are such a wealth, and the appendix of weights, measures and yields at the end is really a great addition. All of this is reflected
on the heavy albeit deserved price tag.
Given the size of the book, further expansion on hand drawn illustration techniques and some more photographs
would have made this great book even greater, that is my only criticism.

I have owned this book along with the Advanced edition, and tried now a great amount of recipes ranging in complexity, and
I can say they all work flavourwise.
Having said that, some recipes don't show you the best possible method, which can now be surpassed in efficiency following more modern and contemporary techniques that were not so prevailing at the time, however you will have an effective method and something that is proven to work.
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on 29 September 1998
I purchased this book a couple of years ago and have used it for baking everything from dog biscuits and breads to sponge cakes and pastry cream. Although I am only an avid amateur, I find the recipes easy to follow and easy to convert for use in the home kitchen. The Author has included equivalency tables in the back of the book (ingredients are listed by weight rather than volume measures).
I have given away many of my other pastry and desert books since purchasing this book since everything that I could possible dream of is covered in this book
I would strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys baking and aspires to create something outside the ordinary, regardless of skill level.
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on 10 April 2011
This book (combined with the "Advanced Professional Pastry Chef") covers everything you would ever need to know about baking - step by step techniques with thorough instructions, variations on recipes, sugar work, chocolate work, decorative techniques, substitutions and advice on how to adapt recipes to better suit your needs. The recipes work - that's a rarity.

The content is definitely suitable for a home-cook; no industrial (or just generally unusual) equipment is required in order to complete any of the processes. They only reason this book does not get five stars from me is the illustrations - for me, as a (decent) homecook I find that a picture of what I am aiming for helps immeasurably during the baking process - especially if it is unclear what the recipe is for. Around half of the finished products are photographed in this book, but the pictures are not beside the recipe - instead the book is divided into quarters by a set of 3-4 pages of images per every 100 or so pages of recipes. The pictures are captioned with what the name of the recipe, but not a page number, which I find slightly irritating (although conversely, the recipes do give the page number of the photo, if one is included). Also, the way in which some of the final products are plated (i.e. arranged and displayed) is slightly old-fashioned for my tastes.
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on 29 May 2016
Excellent as a reference book. Probably too bulky to be at hand all the time but if you ever have a question about anything you might imagine in pastry the answer is probably there. It covers most techniques you will ever encounter and clearly explains why we do things this way.
The recipes and presentation of certain pastries are a little outdated to my taste but it is probably the best book on techniques, tools and ingredients I currently own. And I don't think after buying this one I'd need any other to cover this part of the domain.
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on 18 June 2012
I have had this book for a while now. It is designed for a professional chef. There are no simple recipes in this book. Many of the recipes require ingredients which I cannot find in my current location. Many of the recipes require you to have spent time creating almond paste, creme patisserie etc... BEFORE you start the recipe. The index is all-encompassing. The index for the word "chocolate" is about two pages long. The techniques described in the book are written in a way which is easy to understand. The croissant recipe is complicated but worthwhile. The cinnamon twists are amazing. I have learned lots of techniques from this book. It is expensive but invaluable, in my humble opinion. I would not recommend this book for a beginner looking to bake a quick cake. It will put them off for life. The author is a total perfectionist who has spent years deciding what is the best combination of techniques and ingredients to achieve baking perfection and this passion comes across in every recipe. No 5 minute muffin recipes here.
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