the french baker by jean michel raynaud

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The French Baker by Jean Michel Raynaud

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  • Thisbookisdedicatedtomybeautifulfamily,withoutwhomtherewouldbenothing.

  • Contents

    Fromthentoeternity

    Essentialingredients

    Toolsofthetrade

    Biscuitssecs(Biscuits)

    Gteauxetdesserts(Cakesanddesserts)

    Tartesettourtes(Tartsandpies)

    Ptechoux(Chouxpastry)

    Ptefeuillete(Puffpastry)

    Croissants

    Brioches

    Pains(Breads)

    Confitures,compotes,ptestartineretcrmes(Jams,compotes,spreadsandcreams)

    Glossary

  • Frenchrecipelist

    Index

    Acknowledgments

  • Fromthentoeternity

  • IttooksomeperspectiveformetofullyunderstandhowIbecameinvolvedinthefoodindustryandhowIdevelopedmypassionforbakingandptisserie.Certainly,itwasntuntilIhadmovedawayfromthecountrythatIwasbroughtupinthatIbegantorealisehowdeeplyfoodisentrenchedinFrenchcultureandhowitinfuseseveryaspectofoneslife.

    Surprisingly,perhaps,myfamilywasneveroverlyenthusiasticaboutfood,unlikesomeofmyfriendsfamilies.AsachildIdontrecallmyparentsevercookingelaboratedishes,theyrarelydrankwineexceptonoccasionssuchasChristmasorperhapsabirthday,andwehardlyeveratebreadwithourfoodordrankcafaulaithardlythetypicalFrenchfamilyatall.Nowadays,however,thestoryisalittledifferentmymotherhasdiscoveredherinnermasterchefandmyfathercanbeoftenfoundinthekitchenslicingtomatoesorforaginginthegardenforherbs.ButwhenmysisterandIweregrowingup,foodwasregardedalmostasanafterthought,anecessitymorethananythingelse.EventodaymyfatherlikestoremindmethatoneofthebiggestshocksofhislifewaswhenItoldhimIwasleavingschooltobecomeapastrychef.Althoughhehasalwaysbeensupportiveofmydecision,itwassuchanunexpectedannouncementthatIdontthinkhehaseverfullyrecovered!

    Foodingeneral,andbakinginparticular,bringspeopletogetheritspartofthegluethatbindssocieties.Althoughsharingamealorcelebratinganoccasionwithfamilyandfriendsisundoubtedlypartofthefabricofeveryculturetheworldover,inFrancefoodisregardedasoneofthemainpillarsoftheartdevivre(theartofliving),alongsidemusic,fineartsorphilosophy.

    GastronomyinFrancehasimbuedeveryaspectofsociety;ithasbeenritualised,romanticised,politicisedandeveninstitutionalised,havingbeenlistedbyUNESCOasanIntangibleCulturalHeritageofHumanity.Itisseennotasamerenecessityorasanaccompanimentforaspecialoccasion,butasanintegralpartofhowFrenchpeopledefinethemselves.IneveryFrenchcityandeveryvillageyouwillfindnotonlyashopthatspecialisesinfineptisseriesandconfectioneries,abakeryforyourbreadsandviennoiseriebutalsomostlikelyachocolateshop,aspecialisedconfectioneryboutique,atraiteur(delicatessen),afruitandvegetablemarket,acheeseshopthelistgoeson.

    ForaslongasIcanremember,Ihavealwayslikedsweetthings,notsomuchfortheirtastebutforwhattheyrepresented.Dessertsandsweetfoodwere,andstillare,intimatelylinkedwithnearlyeveryhappyoccasioninmylife:acandle-litcakeforabirthdaysurroundedbyallmyfriendsandfamily;abriochedesroisstuddedwithdriedfruitforChristmas;orsimplywakinguponaSaturdaymorningwiththesmellofcroissantsbakingintheovenandthesoundofanoldJimiHendrixrecordplaying,anddraggingmyselftotheterraceforbreakfastwithmymother,dadandsister.

    Thesheersmellofsomecakesanddessertsalsotakesmebacktomykitchenathome,

  • standinguponawoodenstoolwhileIhelpedmymothermakeapoundcakeandthen,ofcourse,theinevitablefightwithmysisterastowhowasgoingtolickthebowlclean;orofsittinginmygrandmotherskitchen,listeningtoherstorieswhileshefriedherdeliciousbugnes.Thesearejustafewofthemanyhundredsofseeminglyinconsequentialmomentsthatmakeupachildhood,lyingdormantinthedeepestconfinesofonesmemory,readytobeunearthedinaninstantbyeventhesimplesttasteorsmell.

    IrememberclearlywhenIfirstbegantounderstandtheincredibleemotivepoweroffood.EveryyearmymothertookmysisterandmetothebestptisserieinMarseille,tocelebrateStMichelsday,ourpatronsaint.Onthisdayonly,wewereallowedtoeatasmanycakesandpastries,chocolatesandicecreamsaswewanted.Thisyearlytreatwassuchanexcitingtimeformeand,lookingbackonitnow,Icanseethatthiswasactuallywheremybakingjourneybegan.Oneyear,asweweresittingatasmalltabledrinkingoutoffancylittleteacups,surroundedbydazzlingdisplaysofcolourfulcakesandbiscuits,andknowingthatIcouldliterallyeatthewholeshopifIwantedto,IwaspromptedtoaskmymotherifIcouldspendmydaysoffschooldoingsomeworkexperienceinthekitchen.Mymothertalkedtothechefand,amazingly,theybothagreed,adecisionthatseemedsoinconsequentialatthetimebutwastochangemylifeforever.

    By4amthefollowingWednesdayIwassittingnervouslyontheedgeofmybed,showeredanddressed,myheadspinningwithamixtureoffearandexcitement.Iwillneverforgetthatday.ItwasabitterlycoldmorningasmymotherandIsteppedinsidetheshopandwalkeddownthenarrow,dustywoodenstairs.Irememberthewarm,sweetsmellthatwafteduptogreetus,thensteppingintoakitchenfilledwithgiganticblocksofbutterandridiculouslylargebagsofflours,thetablescoveredwithtraysofshiny,translucentcandiedfruitsandjarsofgoldenhoney.ItwasatotalsensoryoverloadasensationthatissodeeplyingrainedinmymemorythateventodayIgetnervouseverytimeIwalkintoanewkitchen.

    WhatIrecallmostaboutthosemorningswereallthoseburlychefshardatwork,liftingheavysacksofflourandcarryingback-breakingloadsofbutter,thenmovingseamlesslyintosubtleandprecisemovements,astheypipeddelicateornamentsoncakesorcarefullycutcroissantswiththeirenormousknives.Isoonrealisedhowmuchworkwasneeded,dayin,dayout,toproducetheseincrediblyintricateandtechnicalproducts,eatenwithoutsomuchasathoughtabouttheeffortittooktomakethem.AllthosebaguettesthatIateeveryday,thebrioches,lemontartssomucheffortforseeminglysolittlerecognitionorfinancialreward.

    WhatIbegantounderstand,overtime,wasthattherealrewardofworkingsohardtomakesomethingsocomplexlooksosimple,highlightsthefactthatbakingandcookingfulfilthosebasicneedsweallhavetheneedtocreate,contribute,shareandlove.Forme,thisencapsulatestheessenceofbaking:usingyourownhandstomakesomethingoutofsimple,honestingredients,somethingpreparednotforsustenanceorfinancialgain,but

  • purelyforthepurposeofbringingwarmthandhappiness,howeversmall,toanotherpersonslife.

    TherecipesthatIhavechosentoincludeinthisbookholdalotofmeaningforme.Somearemoretraditionalthanothers,somearesimpleandothersabitmoreintricate,butallofthemareachievableinyourownkitchen.Beingagoodbakersometimesrequiresabasicunderstandingofchemistry,soIhavetriedtoprovideyouwithallthetechnicalinformationyoumightneedaswell,notonlytohelpyoutomaketheserecipesbutalsotogiveyoutheconfidencetoexperimentandcreateandtomotivateyoutofurtheryourjourneyintotheamazingandrewardingworldofbaking.Itrulyhopethatthisbookwillinspireyoutogivebakingachance.Everyonerelatestofoodbasedontheirownexperiencesbut,forme,ofallthetastesonlysweetcrossesthecultural,genderorgenerationalgapbyreachingdirectlyintoourdeepestchildhoodmemories,sothateventhesimplestofcakesordessertsmadeusingthesmallestamountofskillwillalwaysbereceivedasthegrandestofgestures.

    JeanMichelRaynaud

  • Essentialingredients

  • Essentialingredients

    Bakingisasmuchaboutscienceasitiscreativity.Assuch,thisbookisdesignedtoequipyouwithstrongbakingfoundationsuponwhichyoushouldfeelfreetoaddyourowncreativeorpersonalstampthisis,afterall,howmosttraditionalrecipescameabouttobeginwith.Ivetriednottoconfuseyouwithtoomanytechnicaltermsorguidelines,asthisbookisntmeanttoturnyouintoaprofessionalptissierbutrathertogiveyouthebasictoolstosuccessfullybakedeliciouscakesandpastriesathome.

    Thefollowingtwosectionscovermostoftheessentialingredientsandtoolsyoullneedasabaker,butitcertainlydoesntendhere.TherearelimitlessresourcesatyourfingertipsandIdencourageyoutoreadfurther,especiallyonsubjectssuchasbakingbreadandworkingwithchocolate,tofurtherhoneyourcookingskills.AsanapprenticeIwastoldthatyoucanget80percentofthequalitywith20percentoftheskills,butyouwillneedtheother80percentoftheskillstoachievetheremaining20percentofthequality!

    F lour

    Whilemostgrainscanbegroundintoatypeofflour,inthisbookplain(all-purpose)flouralwaysreferstowheatflour.

    Flourismostlygradedfollowingthreecriteria:theamountofmineralorash(whichismademostlyofbran),theprotein(gluten)contentandthehumiditylevel,allofwhichvaryaccordingtothetypeofwheatandhowitisprocessed.Systemsforgradingflourvarywildlyacrosstheglobe,rangingfromthedifferentnumericalclassificationsemployedinFrance,ItalyandGermany,whichrelatestotheamountofbranintheflour(seebelow),tothoseusedintheUnitedKingdom,AmericaandAustralia,whereflourtendstobegradedusingwordstodescribetheamountofprotein(gluten)orthebestapplicationfortheflour(breadflourorcakeflour,forexample).

    Brancontent:Thisisoftenclassifiedusingnumbers,withlargernumbersindicatingahigherbrancontent:

    00flourinItalyandT45inFrance;

    0flourinItalyandT55inFrance;

    1flourinItalyandT65andaboveinFrance.

    WhichflourshouldIuse?

    Mostoftherecipesinthisbookwillworkwellwithagenerictypeofplain(all-purpose)flour,howeverIdorecommendyoutrytofindafloursuitedformakingbread.Forbestresults,agood

  • ruleofthumbtofollowwhenchoosingwhichflourtouseisasfollows:

    LForallcakebattersandshortdoughs,itspreferabletouseaveryrefined,low-bran,low-proteinplain(all-purpose)flour.Whileyouneedsomeglutenforshortmixessuchasshortbreadandspongestoprovidestructure,toomuchglutenwillhaveadetrimentaleffectontheirtexturebymakingthemtougherandlesspalatable.Thisflourissoldundermanylabels:pastryorcakeflour,orsoftflour.

    LForallyeastedpastryandbreads,useaplain(all-purpose)flour,preferablywithahighglutencontent.Glutenisacriticalingredientinthemanufactureofyeastedpastryandbreadsasitgivesthedoughitsstrengthandelasticity(corps),whichtrapstheairandcarbondioxide(CO2)createdbytheyeastsduringtheprovingprocess.Thisistypicallysoldasstrong,bakersorbreadflour.

    LForsourdoughbread,Irecommendusingaless-refined,preferablyorganicplain(all-purpose)flourwithahighglutencontent.Ahigherbrancontentisimportantwhenbakingsourdoughbecausethehighermineralcontenthelpsthenaturalyeasttodevelopfaster,improvingboththetextureandtasteofthebread.Thistypeofflourisbestsourcedfromhealthfoodstoresor,ev