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on 9 September 2010
I am very satisfied with the purchase for many reasons,one of them how well explained,detailed , and full of baking and pastry info this book is.
Not to mention mouthwatering, sumptuous cake recipies.Step by step baking and preparing instructions.The book covers almost every aspect of culinary art eg : preparation of puff pastry, creams and custards,breads and pastries,petits fours,truly amazing cakes and french tart doughs.There is also space for savoury pastries alongside sweet ones. It explains difficult sometimes to understand professional pastry terms( glossary supplied at the end of book).
All recipies are clearly explained and easy to follow, and all measure is in grams as well as in ounces.
All cake ingredients are properly explained to even small detail as if the authors want a reader to properly grasp the idea of creating an art.Their passion and devotion to baking is clear thoughout the book.What I personally like the most and find this very convienient is a small section called,evaluating your success'at the end of each recipe, which basically sums up how the end product should look like.
All in all I strongly recommend this book to everyone interested in everyday,simple baking as well as one on more professional level. I love baking and to me this book is simply priceless : )
ps. the book is big & heavy!!!!and needs physical effort to lift.
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on 13 September 2012
I was very much looking forward to learning more about pastry techniques when I ordered this book.

Unfortunately, with the exception of a few recipes, this book is entirely written with recipes for the American palette.

Either the recipes are too sweet, too creamy or the combination of ingredients are disproportionate to known standards. The Pate Sucre quantities defy logic and it certainly defied any attempt to roll out, despite refrigerating the pastry for a day.

Whilst the cover looks great, this isn't a book of classic French pastry making. It's American baking and it's about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
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on 7 January 2011
The key word in the title is "Fundemental". The book concentrates on traditional items and there is not a huge amount that is new or novel. The explanations are very good and thank goodness the recipes seem to be fully metricated.

Overall, I think I prefer Wayne Gisslen's Professional Baking.
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on 2 May 2012
The book covers a great deal of classic techniques in detail, sometimes way too much. However there are so many fundamental errors in the cooking processes and quantities of ingredients that just mean the recipes don't work. If you already know a fair bit, it is relatively easy to see the errors and compensate, but any amateurs really should stay away. Pretty, but not practical.
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on 28 August 2010
I'm an amateur cook, loving making desserts.

A profound book on french pastries. The book shows basic techniques (making Pâte Sucrée, Pâte Brisée, Pâte Sablée, Pastry Cream, Brioche, Pâte à choux, ...), illustrating them with pictures, giving exhaustive details. The descriptions show not only what has to be done and why but also what should not be done to avoid failures. There are enough recipes using the techniques (or base recipes). Most of the recipes have photos of the final dish or of the process of preparaion. Every recipe, tested till now (I've tried 10 of them), has proved quite good and enjoyed.

Knowing the base gives a field of improvisation on top of it.

I would buy the book again, which is not true for many books.
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on 29 March 2012
the book contains a very good repertoire of classic baking recipes. However, it contains many errors even in very trivial recipes, like caramel (try the Tarte Tatin and you will understand what I mean). It is shameful that the authors did not understand the difference between writing a cookbook, where text has to be concise and the teaching of cooking in a class or kitchen.
I gave it two stars for the quality of the book and the complete repertoir. Otherwise, it is simply a good looking yet useless book on my shelf.
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on 30 November 2011
Weighing in at nearly 3kg, the Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts is a large tome with 512 pages of goodness. It is a reference book, hence the weight, and it's based on years of teaching at the French Culinary Institute, hence the goodness.

The book covers anything and everything having to do with pastry from tools and ingredients on through breads, cakes, and confections. The chapters, called "sessions" by the authors, are centered on the basic pastry doughs: french tart dough, cream puff dough, puff pastry dough, and bread. Rounding out the sessions are those on other pastry items including creams and custards; cakes; and petits fours.

Each dough session starts off with an overview of the basic dough including a treatise on the ingredients that make up the dough and variations on the dough. Following that are techniques to make the dough and how to work with it. Within each session are sets of demonstrations that cover just about anything you'd ever want to make with that dough. The demonstrations are chock full of pictures that go into detail on each of the important steps. One of the best parts about the book are little "Dean's Tip" boxes in the margin. These little tips are spread through the book giving great little tips that you would get only if you were sitting in class at the Culinary Institute.
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on 3 October 2011
Absolutely beautiful - a must to everyone enjoying desserts and pastry. I can't even begin to describe how awesome this book is. I can only suggest that you buy it. It's well worth it.
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on 8 September 2011
Excellent book which demonstrates techniques and provides useful tips at every section. Photography is very clear, which eliminates error. Superb step-by-step clear instructions. Conversion chart showing conversion from cup/grams to weight in ounces very useful. Informative reference section. Theory was essential to understand flours/leavening/sugars etc. I would say this is an indispensable chefs reference.
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on 10 July 2015
Forget all the fancy celeb baking books with the pretty lifestyle pictures. You know the ones that were put together by ghost writers and leave you with mediocre results.

Instead get this book. It is a beast of a book, but it is very worthwhile. It talks you through the various techniques used in baking and patisserie making with clear instructions and step by step pictures. I really like how the book goes into more detail about why certain things are done the way they are or why certain ingredients have to be mixed together in a certain way. This is something a lot of other bakery books skim over or forget all together. Understanding the reasoning behind it does help you to make better cakes/pattiserie.

The book is aimed at more experienced bakers or people who want to improve their technique, but certainly don't let that put you off if you are a beginner. It is much better to learn to do things the right way the first time round than to have to unlearn bad habits at a later date.

A book every baker/pattisier should have on their bookshelf or better on their work top.
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