- File Size: 31446 KB
- Print Length: 272 pages
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 1 edition (September 18, 2012)
- Publication Date: September 18, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007SGLZH6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,288 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza [A Cookbook] Kindle Edition
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
It’s been five hundred years since I opened Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland, Oregon. That’s in bakery years, of course. My bakery actually opened in 2001. I had recently left a nearly twenty-year corporate career for the freedom of running my own venture and doing something I loved. In the time leading up to this risky transition, before I knew what that venture would be, I yearned for a craft and wanted to make a living doing something I could truly call my own. But I was itchy and I didn’t know where to scratch! For many years, I waited for that lightbulb moment of awareness that would signal an open path worth taking. Then, in the mid-1990s, my best friend gave me a magazine featuring the famed Parisian baker Lionel Poilâne. That article gave me the inspiration I was looking for. Not long after that, I began making frequent trips to Paris, and I was deeply inspired by the authentic, tradition-bound boulangeries I visited there. After a few years and a series of evolving ideas, I ended up with a perhaps naive plan to open a French bakery somewhere in the United States. My hope was to re-create the style and quality of the best breads, brioches, croissants, cannelés, and other specialties found at boulangeries and patisseries all over France.
My ensuing career transition was more Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride than simple job change. You could say I answered the call of that ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” But I came out on the other side with a firm love of the baker’s craft, acknowledging it as much more hard work than romance. The daily rhythms of life as a professional baker, once nearly overwhelming, now provide comfort. The aromas, the tactile nature of the work, and the way the finished products look takes me to a faraway place that is still present, and to have that be the way I spend my days continues to thrill me.
About This Book
I was fortunate to train with many excellent bakers in the United States plus two in France during the two-year between-careers period before I opened my own bakeshop in Portland. What struck me during my professional baking training was that the most important lessons I was learning—how to use long fermentation, pre-ferments, autolyse, and temperature management, for example—were not discussed in any of the bread books I had read. I later encountered books that did detail these things (like those by Raymond Calvel and Michel Suas), but they were targeted to the professional. I was sure that the techniques I had learned could apply to the home baker too.
In the years that followed the opening of Ken’s Artisan Bakery, several notable baking books were published. But I still saw an opportunity to address the techniques used in a good artisan bakery and how they could be adopted for the home kitchen. I wanted to write a book that didn’t totally dumb down these techniques, since the concepts really aren’t that difficult for the nonprofessional baker to apply. And I wanted to break from the mold prevalent in almost every bread book out there (at least until very recently): that every recipe had to use a rise time of just one to two hours. Further, I was completely motivated to demonstrate how good bread can be when it’s made from just the four principle ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast.
I also saw the opportunity to address how to make great bread at home with each of the three principle techniques of dough fermentation: straight doughs, doughs made with pre-ferments, and levain doughs, including an easy, unintimidating method for making a levain culture from scratch in just five days using only whole grain flour and water.
In order to accurately use this book’s recipes and follow its logic, I ask you to use an inexpensive digital kitchen scale to execute the recipes and to help you understand baking. One of the fundamentals of artisan baking is using weight measurements instead of cups and tablespoons and being guided by the ratios of ingredients. (Don’t worry, I do all the simple math for you.) While the ingredients tables in each recipe do include volume conversions, these measurements are by their nature imprecise (for reasons explained in chapter 2) and they are included only to allow you to bake from this book while you are contemplating which digital kitchen scale to buy.
My purpose in writing this book is twofold: First, I want to entice novices to bake, so it is written for a broad audience. Total beginners can dive right in with one of the entry-level recipes, the Saturday Breads, for example, right after reading chapter 4, Basic Bread Method. Once you feel comfortable with the timing and techniques involved in those breads, try recipes that involve an extra step, like mixing a poolish the night before. Once you have mastered the poolish and biga recipes, try making a levain from scratch and enjoy the particular pleasures of bread or pizza dough made with this culture. By the time you work your way through this book, you will be baking bread in your home kitchen that has a quality level approaching that of the best bakeries anywhere, along with Neapolitan-style pizza that would make your nonna smile.
Second, this book is also written for more experienced bakers who are looking for another approach to making dough—one that treats time and temperature as ingredients—and who are perhaps looking for an accessible (or just different) method for making great-tasting levain breads. Mixing dough by hand, a process used in all this book’s recipes, may also be new. To me, one of the most unique and important aspects of bread baking is its tactile nature. In asking you to mix the dough by hand, I am also asking you to think of your hand as an implement. Mixing by hand is easier than using a mixer, is fully effective, and teaches you the feel of the dough. People have been mixing dough by hand for thousands of years. If our ancestors did it, we can. And if you haven’t done it before, I hope you get great satisfaction from the process and feel a connection to the past and the history of baking, like I do
About the Author
After a twenty-year career in the tech industry, KEN FORKISH decided to leave Silicon Valley and corporate America behind to become a baker. He moved to Portland, Oregon, and opened Ken's Artisan Bakery in 2001, followed by Ken's Artisan Pizza in 2006 and Trifecta Tavern in 2013. His first book, Flour Water Salt Yeast, won both a James Beard and IACP award.
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I also have to wonder if all the 5 star reviews actually made some of the recipes as described or if they just glanced over it. If you try to make the Pain Au Bacon there is a typo that has you adding an unnecessary 604 grams of whole wheat flour in the method (it should read only 16 grams!). He also has you build a huge levain for this recipe and only use a fraction of it. There are much more economical recipes out there with much better methods.
Other reviewers stated that a combo cooker is preferable to the Dutch oven method used here and they are absolutely right, a combo cooker is much easier to work with. Forkish also apparently isn't a fan of scoring bread instead advocating for using the natural seam, it's a personal preference but I quite like scoring and making unique designs.
Forkish also claims that in order to have a good rise and taste out of bread you need a combination of natural leaven and commercial yeast. Not true at all, some of the best risen and tasting breads I have ever made have been from using my own starter alone. Commercial yeast has its place at times but you absolutely don't need it to make good bread. Humans have been doing it for thousands of years before yeast was sold and packaged.
I do agree that bread needs to be cooked a lot longer than most people think, a dark flavorful crust is preferable to an under baked loaf any day, and most people negatively reviewing it for that reason probably don't know what good bread looks or tastes like.
Overall, if you are dipping your toes into the water and trying out long fermentation methods with commercial yeast, this book should be fine, but be sure to do the math on the recipes and calculate the correct baker's percentages before you waste flour and time on a typo. If you are looking for a book to get started making naturally leavened bread, go buy Tartine by Chad Robertson.
Note, this book focuses on baking one particular style of bread: the slack-dough (high hydration) country rustic boule. But, it does this very, very well. Also, after years of baking, this is the type of bread that I found to be the easiest, most flexible, and often the most rewarding to bake. It is also pleases everyone, bread aficionados and those who have never tasted artisan bread before. The real beauty lies in that you can use Forkish's techniques to bake bread regularly with very little work and get absolutely stunning, flavorful, and healthy results. Highly recommend his techniques for whole wheat breads, the 40 and 50% varieties are very healthy and so flavorful you would think you are eating a decadent white french bread.
So, in short, if you want to bake incredibly delicious rustic breads regularly without much effort, this is the book to buy. But, if you have the time on your hands, and want to bake many other styles and types of breads, may want to also look up Reinheart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. But, I'll say this, after years of baking from "Apprentice", I hardly ever crack it open anymore now that I found this book unless I want to bake a specific type of bread like challah or need help with shaping for baguettes.
Top international reviews
Until I bought this book..
This book completely changed how I make bread, and I think it's brilliant.
The methods take more time, but it's time waiting, while you sleep or do something else. The effort is miniscule compared to other 'kneading' methods (that you've spent time perfecting), this needs just a bit of gentle folding, microscopic amounts of yeast... It's completely counterintuitive. But read and follow the instructions exactly and be careful with timing and temperatures and you'll make bread that looks exactly like the one on the cover. It's crusty, chewy and full of bubbly pockets.. Really brilliant bread that you'd pay at least £5 for in a artisan bakery.
A few things you should get when you buy the book
- electronic scale,
- a electronic thermometer (I bought the Heston one)
- a banneton (basket) to prove the dough
-a medium to large size cast iron casserole with a lid to bake in. You could splash out on a le creuset casserole but take a tip and get any other brand for a tenth of the price they are just as good. I use a 24cm diameter casserole for each loaf.. This 23cm one would be fine :
First off, it is a bit of an outlay if you don't have a well-stocked kitchen. I had to buy a casserole dish and a thermometer in addition to the book.
But wow is it worth it. He suggests buying fine flour but with Tesco own brand strong white flour I've made a fantastic loaf.
The instructions are extremely through and if you Google "flour water salt yeast" "ken forkish" and "youtube" you will also get some videos showing you every stage to go with the written instructions.
There aren't a lot of recipes in the book and they do take time and it's a lot of worry during that time that you are going to end up with a rubbish loaf, but I think it's better to have a small number of great recipes where you really can replicate the sort of bread you'd get in a bakery/be served in a top-end restaurant, rather than a lot that produce a mediocre loaf.
I would thoroughly recommend this book if you like baking or, like me, you like delicious bread but don't want to pay £3 a loaf for it.
1- I found the recipes waste a lot of flour. When making the levain culture, Forkish calls for using 500 grams flour for each levain culture day, 75-90% of which gets discarded. To reduce waste, I scaled back the starter recipe by 75%. On day 4, I kept all of the product and placed it in the fridge as my starter for future breads.
2- When feeding the levain on recipe day, I reduced the levain feeding amount by half. This means I ended up throwing out a total of 10% v.s. 80% of the remaining culture, by scaling down.
3- Because of scaling back, I found the recommended tub sizes were too big. I ended up using a 2 quart Tupperware to grow my levain. When making the bread, the 16 quart tub made folding bread easy, but I had a hard time watching the rise given how big/flat it is. So, depending on preference, a 6 quart tub is harder to fold in, but much easier to see a 2-3x rise with accuracy.
4- I live in a house with air conditioning but don't run it all the time (house temp between 21-24 celsius). Forkish sometimes quotes a house temp of 18 celsius. So, I think my bread would usually rise faster than what was called for in the recipes (My first attempt at the overnight country white was a fail, I think it was because it rose really quickly and I did not catch it on time). This is why I think a smaller tub size is better to more accurately see the rise, since the time to proof should be based on rise amount, not necessarily time!
So far I have made the Saturday white bread, the pain de champagne, and the field blend 2. The two latter recipes are deliciously complex (being a hybrid of levain and instant yeast culture). The Saturday bread was simple but tastey (being a pure instant yeast recipe). I have not made the other recipes.
For me, the field blend 2 is my go to recipe.
Overall, I am very happy with this book, it has equipped me with the tools and knowledge to make amazing breads at home. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
At first it may seem daunting, and personally I felt a bit discouraged and thought that the process was being overly complex for no particular reason, but after my first ever try following the instructions I got spectacular results! (see image)
So even though it may take more time or the number of steps might seem unnecessarily high, put your faith in this book as it will not lead you astray!
I've never done overnight proofing, a polish,, let alone attempt a sourdough. And you can achieve artisanal results easily if you have an electric scale, a couple of banneton baskets than can take a pound and a bit more of dough, and a large bowl to enable you to knead when needed. Also invest in good quality flour, it is a must if you intend to spend a little time on bread making. Also check out for cast iron pots, these are needed in the book to bake the breads.
This is a fantastic book for novices and experienced bakers alike. I'm sure Ken Forkish's knowledge will surprise some of you or support your baking by being a reliable source of information. It's easy to follow, and logical. A lot of other books make it complicated but this book is super approachable.
So if you are thinking of starting a new hobby of bread baking, do yourself a favour and get this book. You will gift yourself repeatedly with the bakes you create.
Ken Forkish teaches you from the basis and takes you to the next level, he talks about how important is to take in consideration all the fermentation variables that can impact in taste and texture.
* temperature of the dough(he suggests to buy a food termomether to have a precise mesure)
Useful tools before start to bake:
-As another reader suggested I bought a pyrex glass casserole instead of the expensive and heavy dutch over and it works perfectly!
-Bannenton for dough proofing
It looks would require lot of time for proofing but for most of it we sleep since you start at 6pm, (yes it gives you also a sample schedule!).
He uses unbelievebly small amount of yeast, way lower than what I was used to! He also teaches you how to create a levain and how to personalise recipes!
Amazing, brilliant book, thank you so much Ken!!
As for the overnight country blonde (pure sourdough) I experimented a bit and ended up using 70% and this worked too. The results were amazing and I don't think I will every buy my bread again.
As for the Levain, I have not tried the book's method as it requires you to throw away lots of it. Instead I created a starter over four days adding 25g water to 25g of rye each day ending up with the 100g of starter that was bubbling and smelt as described. I never threw any away and this worked brilliantly and I am now producing daily sourdough loaves that are just amazing.
The book's advice (other than the hydration rates and levain method) are sound and I would thoroughly recommend it. It's also a very good read!
They did put me on the right track to use many of the techniques Forkish describes here: low starting yeast amounts, long fermentations or pre-ferments, autolyse, folds etc; however, Forkish makes sense of these for the amateur and really boils it down to the core essentials, describing not only how to do each step, but why you do it, and what is the result to be achieved.
After gaining confidence with some brilliant bread here, I went back to the more complex and complicated books, and suddenly everything started to makes sense.
This book empowers you as an amateur baker.
Oh, and the results are just as good as everyone else has mentioned.
I bought this partly because I was bored out my mind in self isolation and needed a hobby beyond video games, but also in the hope I could educate myself further and maybe produce some decent stuff. Fortunately, all those expectations were blown out of the water. I read through until the section on levain (sourdough, essentially) in one sitting, and by the end of the next day I had something I would happily have paid a fiver for using only basic plain flour, a tiny amount of yeast and a pinch of salt. I found myself talking to anyone who would listen about the difference between poolish and biga and the different kind of processes you can use employing only the four key ingredients to produce completely different results. Ken’s passion for his craft really shines through and you are encouraged to immerse yourself in baking and to properly understand the processes involved and how and why things are done in a certain way.
Admittedly, it is more work than your average cookbook and you need to be prepared to go with the mad scientist stuff (the first loaf I made specified 3/16’s of a teaspoon yeast to 1000g flour). Likewise, it felt like a bit of an autobiography for the first few chapters and you will need to wade through a bit to get to the point. However, if you are interested in getting into baking, want to produce some fabulous bread and are happy to invest some time into it, then get this book.
I was slightly cynical of following his methods, using a thermometer, casserole pot, huge tub, and very wet doughs, but it really works consistently with dependable results.
Very wet doughs used to make me flip out and give up. Kneading and knocking back used to make me wonder if the time and effort was worth it.
He has included some of his own story of getting into bread and setting up his bakery and pizza restaurant which adds a lovely flavour, background and illustration to the book.
This book has given me a lot of confidence in my bread-making, and I have had great comments from friends and family who have tried some of my sourdoughs.
I used to make bread in a bread machine, then started my own starter and made sourdough bread from information retrieved from trawling the web; often contradictory or without enough information on the processes I rarely got consistent proper tangy tasty bread, and fretted that I wasn’t feeding the starter in the best way.
After reading this book I will never go back! I am now (several months after buying and reading it) a real fan of Mr Forkish.