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Winner of the 2013 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Baking and Dessert
Winner of the 2013 IACP Cookbook Award for Baking: Savory or Sweet
"Legendary Portland baker Ken Forkish (of the watershed Ken's Artisan Bakery and much-loved Ken's Artisan Pizza) has joined the ranks of the lauded letterers with his mammoth new cookbookWater Flour Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza. In Water Flour Salt Yeast, he aims to bring the spirit and quality of his famous crusty, blistered breads to the passionate home baker using those four titular ingredients."
“Exceptionally detailed and clearly written with dedicated bakers in mind. . . . Cooks and students who are serious about the craft of bread baking will definitely want to check out this title.”
Forkish's instructions are clear, concise and incredibly precise... For true artisan bread lovers -- and homemade pizza fanatics -- this book sets a new standard."
—Oregonian, June 25, 2012
"Owner of Ken’s Artisan Pizza and Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland, Ore., Forkish begins by telling of the trials and tribulations of opening up shop (people didn’t want to pay $2.50 for a cup of herbal tea). Divided into four sections (“The Principles of Artisan Bread,” “Basic Bread Recipes,” “Levain Bread Recipes,” and “Pizza Recipes”), with recipes broken down by breads made with store-bought yeast, breads made with long-fermented simple doughs, and doughs made with pre-ferments, the book presents recipes accessible to novices, while providing a different approach for making dough to experienced bakers. Plenty of step-by-step photographs, along with a chapter outlining “Great Details for Bread and Pizza,” make this slim work a rival to any bread-baking tome. A variety of pizza recipes, including sweet potato and pear pizza and golden beets and duck breast “prosciutto” pizza, (along with an Oregon hazelnut butter cookie recipe), end the title and inspire readers to put on the apron and get out the flour.
—Publishers Weekly, 6/4/2012
“Ken Forkish’s story is as unique, interesting, and delicious as his famous breads and pizzas. The man abandoned his past, courageously stepped off the cliff and followed his passion, and the result has been a gift to all of us: great breads, fabulous pizzas, and now this beautiful book—Flour Water Salt Yeast—in which he reveals all.”
—Peter Reinhart, author of Artisan Breads Every Day and The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking
“Ken nails it, end of story, when it comes to the best levain bread or the thinnest, most perfect pizza crust you’ve ever had. He has set the bar for Portland bakeries—that’s why we use his bread at Le Pigeon. For anybody looking to bake amazing bread at home, this book is a must-have.”
—Gabriel Rucker, chef/owner of Le Pigeon restaurant
“This fun book offers more than just top-quality bread. Flour Water Salt Yeast reveals all the formulas, processes, tips, and tricks Ken established in his years of experience as a professional baker. But most importantly, it teaches home bakers how to create their own bread using multiple schedules and ingredient combinations. Hey—all that without having to get up to bake in the middle of the night.”
—Michel Suas, founder of the San Francisco Baking Institute and author of Advanced Bread and Pastry
“Ken Forkish is an artisan for our times, and the kind of ‘handcraft-it-yourself’ dreamer who makes Portland, Oregon, one of America’s top food destinations. This book is a handsome expression of his bread-baking vision: Forkish is a man unbound, obsessed by the science of fermentation, and excitedly sharing hard-won secrets and exacting recipes from his celebrated sourdough laboratory.”
—Karen Brooks, restaurant critic, Portland Monthly
Posted May 31, 2013
I Also Recommend:
I am a novice amateur baker—rank novice—who loved the way this book looks and reads. Ken Forkish has a beautiful, lucid style. The photographs are lovely. I expect to spent a lot of time with this work.
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Posted October 14, 2014
I’ve been baking bread on Saturday mornings for years, but one day last spring I realized I was in a rut, making the same old loaves,
which nobody got excited about anymore. I needed to up my game. So I bought Flour Water Salt Yeast, because it promised to go
deeper into the craft of bread-making than a standard book of recipes. And, in fact, the first recipe, “The Saturday White Bread” doesn’t
appear until Chapter 5. The true value of the book lies in what comes before the recipes.
Chapter 1 recounts Ken Forkish’s transformation from corporation-man to proud proprietor of Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland, Oregon.
This somewhat self-indulgent beginning is in keeping with the unfortunate current rage for celebrity chefs. C’mon! Is this book going to
be about Ken Forkish or about baking bread?? But actually, the transformation tale helps validate a reader’s own impulse to be a
better baker. It’s like a coach warming up the team by telling them his personal story.
The next three chapters contain detailed, well-illustrated discussions first on the science of yeast and flour and then on artisan
methods for every step of bread-making. These chapters point to a depth of craft I barely knew existed, where bakers manipulate
temperature, time, and hydration to achieve specific flavors and textures.
Here’s Forkish on how to tell when loaves are ready to bake. “The loaves must reach their physical limit for holding on to their gases
before the gluten network begins to break down as the proteins degrade over time.” This is like being told how the internal combustion
engine works when you’re learning to drive a car. It helps, though it’s not really necessary. Thankfully, Forkish gives the practical
tip, too – the finger-dent test. After all the elaborate explanations, the method is simply to poke the loaf with your finger and see how
fast it springs back.
The recipes rise in complexity as the book proceeds, but they never vary in using only the four ingredients of the book’s title (until the
chapter on pizza, which is more like an encore than part of the performance).
The first time I used Forkish’s methods the results were stunning – a loaf with a brown crackly crust so beautiful and professional it
could have been photographed for the book. My “White Bread with Poolish” fulfilled the author’s description, “palate-sparkling, almost
buttery-flavored”. Now, even when I bake my old recipes, I use Ken’s tips and I understand what’s going on a little better than before.
My bread is smoother inside and crustier outside.
While I sometimes get tired of its gushy tone and obsessiveness over details (like giving a measurement as 2¾ cups plus 2
tablespoons), this book took my baking to a new level. All I really have to say is: Thank you, Ken Forkish!
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Posted May 24, 2013
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