While there is a – seemingly infinite – number of pastry books filled with recipes of the world’s greatest pastry chefs, we are often asked at our B·Concept courses by pastry students and chefs alike to guide them toward more technical pastry books; books that could help them deepen their knowledge on pastry techniques and ingredients or understand the science behind basic physico-chemical processes involved in pastry elaborations.
Following up on the requests that you have made to us more than once in our Instagram profile, we present our list of 8 essential books for pastry chefs that have become essential for us.
1. How baking works. Exploring the fundamentals of baking science
It is a book and a workbook in one, with exercises designed for the readers to make their own discoveries about how little changes in ingredients (type of flours, for example), can influence the final result of a baking process. Eighteen chapters of the book cover all the important elements and ingredients of baking and the scientific content is presented in a very easy-to-read way, making it a great introduction to the science of baking. Though its primary focus is baking, chapters on sugars, fats, oils and emulsifiers, thickening and gelling agents make it a relevant source of information for pastry chefs as well as bakers.
Title: How Baking Works, 3rd edition
Author: Paula I. Figoni
2. Fundamentos científicos de la heladería
As far as the scientific explanations go, this book is more on the advanced side. It is an invaluable source of knowledge for anyone having some knowledge of food chemistry and looking for an in-depth knowledge on anything related to ice cream manufacturing: from ingredients, techniques, processes of fabrication, through food chemistry, nutritional information, sensory aspects of ice cream to legislative issues for food additives. Ice cream making is a highly technical process where even the smallest changes in parameters bring about big changes in the outcome, therefore, many books on ice cream technology – including this one – contain a lot of useful, theoretical information on pastry ingredients.
Title: Fundamentos científicos de la heladería
Authors: Juan Mora Pastor, Salvador E. Maestre Pérez
Publisher: Publicacions Universitat d’Alacant
3. Chocolate, Ramon Morató
A book by one of the greatest pastry chefs of our generation, full of recipes and technical explanations about pastry techniques and physico-chemical processes involved in presented recipes. A must-have for anyone interested in the world of chocolate and pastry. More than 10 years after its publication, this book – offering a modern take on many pastry classics – is still one of the most important references for pastry chefs all over the world. And it offers much more than excellent recipes.
Title: Chocolate, 4th edition
Author: Ramon Morató
Publisher: Grupo Vilbo
Language: Spanish, English (bilingual)
4. Ganache. L'art et l'expertise de Jean-Pierre Richard
Another excellent book for chocolatiers and pastry chefs who wish to master the art of ganache making or simply learn about how different ingredients (fats, sugars, etc.) or parameters (water content, solids content, etc.) influence the stability, texture and flavour of chocolate preparations. One of the great advantages of this book is having explained in detail all the possible – including unfavourable – outcomes and the paths leading to them. This book offers pastry chefs a possibility to take a closer look at ganache recipe formulations and discover how to create and optimize them.
Title: Ganache. L‘art et l’expertise de Jean-Pierre Richard
Author: Jean-Pierre Richard
Publisher: Edition la Revellate
5. Tradizione in evoluzione. Arte e scienza in pasticceria
A book that offers a comprehensive review of pastry textures, techniques and physico-chemical processes. Divided into sections devoted to different types of preparations (from doughs and creams to semifreddos and frozen desserts), this book offers a lot of graphically presented, technical information on what is the process behind each pastry elaboration and what are the key factors contributing to its success. Additionally, at the end of each section, a table listing possible mistakes is presented together with ways to correct them.
Title: Tradizione in evoluzione. Arte e scienza in pasticceria, 4th edition (Eng.: Tradition in evolution. The art and science in pastry)
Author: Leonardo Di Carlo
Publisher: Chiriotti Editori
Year: 2013 (Eng.: 2014)
ISBN: 978-88-96027-08-0 (Eng.: 978-88-96027-21-9)
Pages: 829 (Eng.: 800)
Language: Italian, English
6. Mouthfeel. How texture makes taste
Although, technically, this book is not dedicated to pastry, but to cooking in general, it remains one of our favourite go-to books as it is full of scientific (yet accessible) information on one of the most important physical properties of food and a major factor in pastry recipes: texture. It is a great book to read in order to understand the scientific principles behind different textures (both sweet and savoury). From protein coagulation to spherification, this book explains the physical and chemical reactions behind all sorts of food preparations. Also, it is a great introduction to the world of neurogastronomy – a branch of food science redefining our view on food and eating experience in general.
Title: Mouthfeel. How texture makes taste
Authors: Ole G. Mouritsen, Klavs Styrbæk.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
7. Glaces toute l’année par Alain Chartier
This book by one of the Best French Craftsmen (M.O.F.) and ice cream maker – Alain Chartier – is a collection of ice cream recipes for every month of the year preceded by 100 pages of theoretical knowledge on ice cream ingredients, pastry techniques, conservation methods and even product labelling. Always looking to deepen our knowledge on the ingredients we are working with, we particularly liked the charts and tables on sugars included in the theoretical part.
Title: Glaces toute l’année
Author: Alain Chartier
Publisher: Editions Alain Chartier Formation
8. The science of chocolate
Last, but not the least, we present you a classic among technical pastry books and a recommended title for all those wishing to dedicate more time to working with one of the most incredible and versatile pastry ingredients: chocolate. An extensive, bean-to-bar compendium of knowledge on chocolate structure, ingredients, manufacturing processes and storage conditions, this book delivers on its title’s promise: it is all about science and chocolate. We recommend it for anyone looking for a high-level technical book on chocolate.
Title: The science of chocolate, 3rd edition (Sp.: La ciencia del chocolate)
Author: Stephen T. Beckett
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry (Sp.: Acribia Editorial)
Year: 2000 (Sp.: 2002)
ISBN: 978-1-78801-235-5 (Sp.: 9788420009636)
Pages: 284 (Sp.: 216)
Language: English, Spanish, Japanese