"the mother of all bakery books"

Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller & Sebastien Rouxel (Artisan NZ$99.99)

I read the following brief but enthusiastic review in the New Zealand Herald's Canvas magazine last week and having now had a chance to peruse the book for a couple of lost hours I can understand the reviewers excitement. It is just totally gorgeous. Perhaps I'll come back in the next life as a baker? I hope so. It is definitely as suggested"the mother of all bakery books". It is large, sumptuous and prolifically illustrated with the most gorgeous photographs. A great big coffee table book par excellence. Lucky is the person who finds this under the Christmas tree.

It's Christmas, so why not go over-the-top with this mother of all bakery books, put together by French Laundry legend/chef Keller and his executive pastry chef Rouxel, who oversees Keller's American group of restaurants and bakeries. We are talking multi-Michelin stars here, so this is baking taken to the highest level. Well, you can dream ... but this collection is full of recipes that seem accessible, from "cookies" (biscuits) to cakes and tarts, brioche to breads and confections. The directions are clear and concise, with handy tips ("common mistakes in bread making"), and the photos are inspiring, often featuring kids stirring the ingredients. Keller advises home cooks to make the same recipe "over and over" so you learn "the nuances of the way ingredients behave". Wise man.

Baking is a unifying force. The smell of baking bread is the smell of sustenance and security. A bakery is an anchor – it draws a community around it. And that is one source of my desire to offer baked goods to as many people as possible, and why I’m so excited to be sharing the craft in this book."

Thomas Keller, co-author

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