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Confessions of a French Baker: Breadmaking Secrets, Tips, and Recipes

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  435 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Attention bread lovers!In the first of his famous books about Provence, Peter Mayle shared with us news of a bakery in the town of Cavaillon where the baking and appreciation of breads "had been elevated to the status of a minor religion." Its name: Chez Auzet.Now, several hundred visits later, Mayle has joined forces with Gerard Auzet, the proprietor of this most glorious ...more
Hardcover, 91 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  435 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Natashya KitchenPuppies
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a great little book that Peter made with the bread baker in his previous books. It is purse size, contains recipes, and I just wish it was longer! A nice little book for the bus.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This delightful little book transported me back to Provence where the Auzet family has been baking bread for several generations! It’s filled with wonderful descriptions of the French bakery and baking process as well as bread making tips and recipes. Here’s a small ‘taste’:

“And then there’s the bread—a panorama of bread, stretching for perhaps twenty feet behind the counter, bread arranged according to type and size, varying in color from pale gold to a deep chocolate brown, a display as tanne
Jun 25, 2012 rated it liked it
For this read I going to my local (not French but as best as I can do in Winnipeg) baker to get some bread I can munch on while reading. I love baking, I just have not baked a lot of bread. More of a cookie, muffin, squares baker am I.

The introduction is a quick read and several of the recipes look delicious but I am in grad school in the heat of Manitoba. To cook or to graduate? Yep, another day, another time in my life I will have a home that smells of a French bakery. For now, I shall return
Olga Zbranek Biernátová
Gérard Auzet je pekařem v provensálském Cavaillonu a v této útlé knize vám společně s Maylem ukáže, jak se peče pravý francouzský chléb, bulka či bageta. Zvlášť se věnuje i přísadám a fíglům, které zaručí, že svůj pekařský výtvor nezkazíte. Recepty propojuje s historií své rodiny, příslovími a historkami. Tymiánový, meruňkový, slaninový nebo cibulový chléb – zaručeně dostanete chuť na všechny!
Eva Lavrikova
Ani román, ani kuchárska kniha, ani odborná publikácia... Kniha, ktorá síce rozhodne vzbudí chuť na krajček krásne vypečeného chlebíka s mäkkou striedkou a chrumkavou kôrkou, ale pre skutočných záujemcov o pečenie je len akýmsi teaserom. Kto k pečeniu cestu hľadá, tak si narobí akurát viac chutí, ale mnoho otázok zostane nezodpovedaných, pre tých, ktorí už s pečením skúsenosti majú, je knižka zase príliš stručná a mnoho tém síce načína, ale nerozvádza. Každopádne ako "voňavá" chuťovka napríklad ...more
Feb 21, 2016 added it
Not much substance here, but the recipes are handy for reference.

Did I mention that I'm a baker? I reread this recently after returning from an international baker's exposition in Paris where I witnessed a very wide variety of breads, many of which were a delight to the senses.

For someone new to baking bread, there are plenty of handy tips in this book. But for professional or semi-professional bakers with plenty of experience at the art, there's probably nothing new.

Nonetheless, it's a fun r
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Quick read - one sitting - but I've already forgotten everything (sorry!) I know where to look for it when I need it again (haven't baked any bread in awhile - sorry again!) Having spent some time in Europe wandering around in the pre-dawn hours along empty village streets, I especially enjoyed the descriptions early in the book. If you enjoy baking bread, you'll enjoy this book, and it should inspire you to get back into the kitchen... unless you have more books to read (like I do...)
Sep 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: foodie, france
When asked what my "dream job" would be, my stock answer is a baker somewhere in the mountains of France - making bread in the morning and skiing, hiking or biking in the afternoons. Peter Mayle and Gerard Auzet's descriptions of life in a small-town French bakery were a perfect read for me. I only wish it were longer - it's a brief little book, and half of it is giver over to recipes. I would've liked much more than just the single day Mayle spends in the bakery.
Sep 28, 2016 rated it liked it
If you actually want to bake bread, this would be a good book for you. But I mostly just wanted to go behind the scenes of Provencal boulangeries without having to actually work. I got some of that wish satisfied, but not as much as I'd hoped. I imagine it would be fun to try the recipes--I just lack ambition for that right now.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what the confessions actually are, but the good news is there are several recipes that look promising.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
What did I get out of this book?
To bake bread you need to know how to count to 56!
That is the magic number in Celcius for temperature in your kitchen + temperature of the flour + temperature of the water !
Meaning if your kitchen is at 20C and your flour at 22C then you will need your water to be at 14C ! For the perfect bread !
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I wasn't expecting this to be a recipe book, but it was still interesting.
Roisin Hassall
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick read with some good tips, hints and recipes
Rogue Reader
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-writing
Could smell the bread, feel the crust and taste its goodness. Mayle writes so well
Lorraine Sulick-Morecraft
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Peter Mayle has us up early to begin bread baking in Provence. Can you smell the yeasty doughs, see the steam rising from the oven and feel the hollow thump of a crusty baguette baked to perfection? Oui
Sue Smith
Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Thus starts my quest to learn how to bake good bread!

Well - if this is the start - then it's a quick one! This book hardly counts ... small, double lined and lots of pictures!!!! It certainly sounds easy, but like all things I'm sure practise 'bakes' perfect! hahahha! Sorry - personal enjoyment of puns there.

I've yet to try the recipes but will give it a go. My biggest worry is finding a draft free spot in my kitchen ... so I'm setting up the blame for that when all fails! But I am determined to
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Mayle is the author of the Year in Provence series and has been a customer of Auzet's bread shop in the French town of Cavaillon for years. Auzet's family have been bread bakers for over a hundred years and once a week he teaches a class in his kitchen. He approached Mayle with the idea of creating a book of recipes and reminders aimed towards the home baker and this little book is the result. At just under 100 pages, the recipes are easy to understand and the tips are useful, such as how to tel ...more
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Viv - the bread hater
I swear, while reading this book, I could smell the bread baking, hear the crust breaking and taste it melting in my mouth (food is so pornographic no?). And anything that makes a lazy person like moi want to BAKE BREAD WITHOUT A MACHINE can't be that bad...although I haven't actually baked anything yet, the ingredients look simple enough. When school ends and I have more time to spend 5 hours attempting to fashion a loaf, I will update and hopefully the 5 stars remain 5 stars.
Dec 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
Peter Mayle is so excellent describing the world around him. Especially food and wine. This book is primarily a cookbook of bread, so there wasn't as much discussion on taste and experience as I wanted. The recipes seem sound and practical. The book could have easily been expanded with more stories - as is, I read it in about 40 minutes. Thankful I checked it out of the library instead of purchasing it.
N.N. Light
From the author who brought us A Year in Provence comes a small yet impactful book detailing the secrets of French bakers. Gerard Auzet is a friend of Peter’s who has been making bread since he was a boy. In fact, his family has been making bread in the countryside of Provence for several generations. This book is a must-read for all bakers and for anyone who has enjoyed the sheer pleasure of authentic French bread and baguettes.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oh-nine
Peter Mayle was already one of my favorite travel writers but this little book provides a different side - an inside look at the amount of work behind those wonderful french baguettes and patisseries. The baguette recipe in this book is truly incredible. A quick, cute read with lots of great recipes!
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really want to try making a baguette and garlic bread and BACON BREAD now. I had some garlic bacon bread in Paris - now if only I could get a recipe for that...I suppose I could just merge the two in here.

This wasn't much of a book, really but the descriptions really took me back to France and made me miss the bread there dearly.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
A quick book about French bread baking. Short glimpses of a multigenerational family of Provencal bakers in expected Mayle style. Then, recipes and techniques for making your own.Some different detail than my other bread books, some different recipes to try. Later. Probably starting with winemaker's bread - flavored with red wine and several different types of nuts.
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gerard Auzet asked Peter Mayle to write this short book as a souvenir for those who made the pilgrimage to his famous bakery in Provence. It's a fun little diversion, with recipes for those so inclined.
Ron Davidson
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very short book of the author's experiences with a famous French bread baker. The value of the book is in the recipes and baking instructions that follow. I withheld rating the book until I tried a recipe; it turned out rather poorly, but I blame myself for that. I'll try again soon.
Lisa Urso
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads, cookbooks
Was expecting more of a story about the bread makers themselves, and their rich family history, so that was a bit disappointing. That said, the recipes look doable, as if the intermediate home cook can make them. Note I said intermediate, not novice!
James Piper
Another cookbook that doesn't include metric measurements.

I don't know ounces and not about to learn.
Theresa DePaepe
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
A few good tips and some great descriptions, but not a book to add to your cookbook collection if you have good bread baking books there already.
Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Short sweet manual on making happy food - breads! May give it another star the day I start trying out some of the recipe.
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Few easy tips about baking like a French. Even just reading this I could smell freshly baked baguettes. I hope I can manage follow the tips to bake this fabulous french baguettes.
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Peter Mayle (born June 14, 1939, in Brighton) was a British author famous for his series of books detailing life in Provence, France. He spent fifteen years in advertising before leaving the business in 1975 to write educational books, including a series on sex education for children and young people. In 1989, A Year in Provence was published and became an international bestseller. His books have ...more