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Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  5,575 ratings  ·  339 reviews
From Portland's most acclaimed and beloved baker comes this must-have baking guide, featuring recipes for world-class breads and pizzas and a variety of schedules suited for the home baker.

There are few things more satisfying than biting into a freshly made, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-supple-on-the-inside slice of perfectly baked bread. For Portland-based baker Ken Fo
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Ten Speed Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Diana Lismane It is advised to measure in weight (grams) – it is the standard measurement because it's more precise than volume ones and baker's percentages are mea…moreIt is advised to measure in weight (grams) – it is the standard measurement because it's more precise than volume ones and baker's percentages are measured in weight, but there is a conversion to cups for each recipe. Forkish has several passages where he explains the significance of weighing the ingredients.(less)
Diana Lismane The given levain quantities are enormous. Each time I make one of the Forkish's recipes, I scale the levain quantity to have a bit more than the recip…moreThe given levain quantities are enormous. Each time I make one of the Forkish's recipes, I scale the levain quantity to have a bit more than the recipe requires because some of it gets left in the container and I need more levain – the ambient temperature isn't 25-26 degrees Celsius.(less)

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Brigid Keely
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
"Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza," by Ken Forkish, is a book about intense privilege and complicated bread recipes and sweeping statements about what is and isn't the right way of making bread.

I make bread fairly regularly, one of my go-to books being "Beard On Bread" by James Beard. Like a lot of books about bread, Beard emphasizes that most people don't need a stand mixer and can mix by hand, and includes pictures showing different ways one can knead bread w
Leonard Gaya
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Making my own bread has been one of my latest fads. Among the most sensual experiences in life, this is somewhere on my top 5 — along with sex and music. But among all the things that can go wrong in the kitchen, making bread comes probably at number one — sex and music would also rank pretty high among the things that can go wrong in the kitchen.

Ken Forkish is a saviour in this regard, and, incidentally, his book is gorgeous to leaf through. First, Forkish’s own story is quite fascinating, from
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I asked for this book for Christmas after reading and rereading reviews of it. I'm a very experienced baker who has been making bread for nearly 40 years. I've wanted to be able to make a whole grain loaf that tastes like it came from a wood-fired brick oven, but my kitchen doesn't come equipped with such amenities. Today, I tried the Saturday 75% whole wheat bread and Wow!! The crust is amazing; the flavor is incredible, and I'm ready to dive into more of the book, but even if this is the only ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own, cook-books
I have pros and cons regarding this book which I have to preface by saying none of the cons are the author's fault.

Pros first:
This book is gorgeous. The pictures are stunning, and I spent entirely too much time just flipping repeatedly through the pages looking at the pictures of crusts and crumb.

The absolute passion for his life's work breathes off the pages here. Ken loves what he does and it shows in every word.

Ken Forkish is an absolute brilliant master at what he does, and I'm so thankfu
Andy Iovanna
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
10/10 would bread again
Heather Tucker
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I have read a LOT of bread baking cookbooks and this is fairly similar as far as explaining how bread baking works. That said, this is not a good book for beginners. I have a couple of issues with this book. The first: the recipes create SO MUCH WASTE. He has you feed and discard levain three times to make twice as much as you’ll actually need for the recipe. Creating your levain requires more than 5 pounds of wheat flour. Every recipe makes two enormous loaves which is too much for the average ...more
Michele Winship
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unlike many recipe-based "cookbooks," Forkish takes readers behind the scenes and tells the story of his own evolution as an artisan bread baker. He shares the science behind the bread baking processes from around the world that he has adapted for his Portland bakery. His technique appears much more complex than in other bread making books, but being able to create a true levain or poolish to bake from expands the repertoire of the home baker. Gorgeous photos make this a book more likely to be o ...more
Micah Wallace
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book looking for a solid rendition of the no-knead method. The recipe I've used most so far has been the overnight white bread recipe. And it rocks.

For several years I've been a huge fan of the The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook: 2000 Recipes from 20 Years of America's Most Trusted Food Magazine Almost No-Knead recipe because it is practically foolproof and it lends itself well to adaptation. Want to add garlic and some herbs? Walnuts and raisins? Substitute some whole-wheat flour? N
Ana Marlatt
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a serious book for serious bakers. I love baking bread but I use the bread machine for the hard work. Breaking bread is serous and hard work. Next time you are lucky enough to come in contact with a beautiful loaf of bread - dark and crisp crust; airy interior and fragrant... remember this is someone’s work of art.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves bread
February 2013: It seems a little precipitous to rate a book before reading much more than a few pages.

But after skimming through the entire book, this appears to be a fabulous book for someone just starting to bake bread. (It also appears to be a great one for advanced bakers.)

It's full of wonderful photographs, clear instructions on how to mix, knead, shape, etc. etc.

I wandered into the levain section to read the following:
At Ken's Artisan Bakery, we feed the levain three times a day. There a
Jeremy Hatch
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up about 6 weeks into Covid-19 shelter in place in Oregon, as by then it had become apparent that I may as well start baking my own bread as do anything else with my time. I've now read the entire book cover to cover, and over the past 10 weeks I've baked about half the bread recipes and one of the four pizza dough recipes, some of these many times. Everything so far has been *just amazing* -- every single new recipe is declared the new household favorite!

Some advice: Follow his dire
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbook, non-fiction
Oh man...the method presented in this book looks intimidating, but it actually helped me crack the secret of bread making. Highly recommend.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Those that know me well know I have a creative side. I like to cook, bake, and brew beer along with mead, pyment, metheglin, and other fermentables. I give this book 5 stars, because I love it. It is the best text I have on baking breads, focaccia, and pizza. With the exception of the last two, it focuses more on French bread making methods, and demonstrated in Ken's Portland bakery. We this text, you can be well on your way to professional quality break making, whether you use commercial (monoc ...more
Stephen Simpson
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, cookbook
Good, but not great.

I do a lot of baking and I have ended up "collecting" a lot of bread and baking books. FWSY has some solid positives - the recipes are easy, straightforward, and should be manageable by almost anybody (and really, if you can't handle this, just stick with store-bought and/or get a bread machine). The recipes also work. You will make good bread with this book.

The "but" is that while you can make good bread with these recipes/techniques, great bread is going to be out of your
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and clear bread baking book, especially for beginners. If no-knead is bread 101, this is bread 201 with a lot of excellent recipes. Ken Forkish, of course, is the owner of Ken's Artisan Bakery as well as two other restaurants in Portland, OR. He's taken the most important aspects of breadmaking and distilled them into easy lessons. His web site also has a series of videos worth viewing. ...more
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf-hobby
Since I've been delving hard into hobbies (gee, wonder why), I figured I'd start logging reference books that I've spent significant time with. Over the past four months, I read this cover-to-cover and have baked everything in the book at least once (with intentional exceptions of a bread that's easier with summer heat and focaccia with anchovies). I had hopped on the sourdough bandwagon back in April -- it was something I had wanted to do for some time, but back in the day of going places and d ...more
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbook
I, um, I don't know how to review a cook book.

I bought this book 2 or 3 years ago because I wanted to teach myself how to make bread, but once I got it in the mail I realized how complicated and specific a lot of the recipes are. Forkish teaches his own methods of making bread and introduces his own vocabulary which he then uses throughout the book, he also has fairly rigid time schedules and weight of ingredients and it's hard not to read the book and feel like you need to buy 300 dollars of s
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Ken Forkish is my bread Jesus.
Maria Turnau
Sep 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm not an expert at baking bread by no means but I do bake it regularly at home and enjoy it. This book helped me a lot. One thing I loved os that it was the first bread recipe book which would explain why do I need all these fairly complicated actions to make agood bread. Author also is so passionate about his job, it's contagious. Some recipes are really really hood, meaning obe of my best breads are from recipes in this book.

Now, for the disadvantges. Author was convinced he is giving a mini
Don Gillette
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
This is nothing I haven't read before in a dozen books on artisan bread and pizza from Jim Lahey, Peter Reinhart, or a host of other bakers and to be perfectly honest, I didn't like this guy's delivery, the way he spent half the book patting himself on the back, and the whole "talking down to the reader" thing.
Things like saying "levain" is the French word for "sourdough," so (not a direct quote) "you can call it sourdough if you want to, but I shall refer to it as a levain for I am the King of
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, cookbook
This is my new go to reference book for bread. I make the Saturday loaves each week for my neighbor check in and their faces light up each time. I have tried switching to other kinds of bread, but each time my neighbors sheepishly thank me for whatever I have made, and then gush about the bread from this book. Invest in a few cast iron dutch ovens, cut out parchments slings to drop the bread in, and you are going to be in heaven. The addition of a few structured folds and time makes for a fantas ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Forkish, who is a self-described “obsessive” when it comes to bread, provides a complete overview of bread-baking in this cookbook. While I remain very excited to try out his recipes, and appreciate how he builds the cookbook from easy to more difficult recipes, his process is a tad intimidating for me as a home cook. The temperature ranges he gives, for example, are quite small bands, and the process he describes is, at times, painstakingly detailed and granular. I get that this is what is need ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
THIS BOOK. I renewed it from the library three times and now I am just going to buy it. I baked almost every loaf in here, and I LOVED reading the bits about his bakery and his own journey into bread baking. I make better focaccia than any U.S. restaurant I have been to, now. My two Field Blend #1 loaves I baked last weekend didn't even last one day, my friends came over and devoured them. Makes my baker's heart sing! ...more
Spencer Mize
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I reserve the right to change this rating as I attempt the recipes. That said, this book is exactly the step up I was looking for. I've made good progress in my breads and crusts by reading bloggers, but I was missing the "why" behind ratios and techniques. This book clarified many items on vernacular and process while being approachable, realistic (we can't all wake at 3 am to start our baking day!), and flexible. ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, 2018
I enjoyed this book because of the bottom-up approach to bread-making -- the author explains the basics and the science behind making bread. I also liked the focus on artisanal bread and recipes that use time as an ingredient. The instructions are easy to follow even for someone new to baking and the bread is fantastic.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing to apply my learnings! It will NOT be a low-carb winter in Minnesota.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So I'm just about ready to run off and start my own rustic bakery. Very inspiring and gorgeous pictures! ...more
Tyler Hoffman
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book that focuses on just four ingredients, using variations in time and temperature. Will look into purchasing this one.
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The bread I’ve made from this book is always delicious. He breaks the science of breadmaking down so well that even *I* can understand. I also appreciate that he provides the knowledge and tools for creating your own unique percentages. LOVE this book.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An inspirational baking book! I am no way near being able to make anything in this but I loved pouring over the recipes!
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