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Confessions of a French Baker: Breadmaking Secrets, Tips, and Recipesby Peter Mayle
Synopses & Reviews
Attention bread lovers!In the first of his famous books about Provence, Peter Mayle shared with us news of a bakery in the town of Cavaillon where the baking and appreciation of breads “had been elevated to the status of a minor religion.” Its name: Chez Auzet.Now, several hundred visits later, Mayle has joined forces with Gerard Auzet, the proprietor of this most glorious of Provençal bakeries, to tell us about breadmaking at its finest.Mayle takes us into the baking room to witness the birth of a loaf. We see the master at work-slapping, rolling, squeezing, folding, and twisting dough as he sculpts it into fougasses, bâtards, and boules. Auzet then gives us precise, beautifully illustrated instructions for making sixteen kinds of bread, from the classic baguette to loaves made with such ingredients as bacon, apricots, hazelnuts, garlic, and green and black olives. There are tips galore, the tricks of the trade are revealed, and along the way Mayle relates the delightful history of four generations of Auzet bakers. One of Provences oldest and most delicious pleasures is now available at a kitchen near you, thanks to this charming guide. Read, bake, and enjoy.
"This petit but useful compendium contains centuries-old Provenal lessons in bread making as relayed to Francophile foodie and memoirist Mayle (A Year in Provence, etc.) by Auzet, an award-winning baker from Cavaillon, Provence. The collaboration between author and baker yields a mix of regional history, first-person essay and a portrait of a family boulangerie through the generations. The modest Auzet boils down his expertise to a few secrets: among them are that the exact combined temperature of the water, flour and kitchen air should be 56C, and that a good kitchen scale is imperative. Traditional recipes for baguettes, batards and boules are simple, though, as with any bread made by hand, quite time consuming. To keep second-guessing to a minimum, Auzet offers helpful tips for testing both the dough's gluten and the bread's doneness. He also explains how these basic formulas can be amped up with a number of French flavors: olives, thyme, saffron, apricots, nuts and garlic. Additional chapters concern making breads with wine, olive oil and sweet yeast. For true authenticity, a suggested list of wine pairing is included at the end. Throughout, Auzet's suggestions are spot-on, making his 'confessions' an invaluable contribution to aspiring boulangers and bread-lovers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this charming guide to the pleasures of Provence, Mayle delivers a delightful meditation on the rich pleasures of the humble loaf. Includes precise instructions for making 14 kinds of bread. 25 drawings & 6 photos in text.
About the Author
Peter Mayle is the author of A Year in Provence, French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew, and seven other books set in Provence, where he lives.
Gerard Auzet runs his familys bakery, Chez Auzet, in Cavaillon, Provence, where it has been operating since 1951.
Peter Mayles A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence, Encore Provence, and French Lessons, as well as five novels set in Provence, are available in Vintage paperback.
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