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 Forkish, well-made bread is more than just a pleasure—it is a passion that has led him to create some of the best and most critically lauded breads and pizzas in the country.
In Flour Water Salt Yeast, Forkish translates his obsessively honed craft into scores of recipes for rustic boules and Neapolitan-style pizzas, all suited for the home baker. Forkish developed and tested all of the recipes in his home oven, and his impeccable formulas and clear instructions result in top-quality artisan breads and pizzas that stand up against those sold in the best bakeries anywhere.
Whether you’re a total beginner or a serious baker, Flour Water Salt Yeast has a recipe that suits your skill level and time constraints: Start with a straight dough and have fresh bread ready by supper time, or explore pre-ferments with a bread that uses biga or poolish. If you’re ready to take your baking to the next level, follow Forkish’s step-by-step guide to making a levain starter with only flour and water, and be amazed by the delicious complexity of your naturally leavened bread. Pizza lovers can experiment with a variety of doughs and sauces to create the perfect pie using either a pizza stone or a cast-iron skillet.
Flour Water Salt Yeast is more than just a collection of recipes for amazing bread and pizza—it offers a complete baking education, with a thorough yet accessible explanation of the tools and techniques that set artisan bread apart. Featuring a tutorial on baker’s percentages, advice for manipulating ingredients ratios to create custom doughs, tips for adapting bread baking schedules to fit your day-to-day life, and an entire chapter that demystifies the levain-making process, Flour Water Salt Yeast is an indispensable resource for bakers who want to make their daily bread exceptional bread.
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About the Author
After a twenty-year career in the tech industry, KEN FORKISH decided to leave Silicon Valley and corporate America behind to become a baker. He moved to Portland, Oregon, and opened Ken's Artisan Bakery in 2001, followed by Ken's Artisan Pizza in 2006 and Trifecta Tavern in 2013. His first book, Flour Water Salt Yeast, won both a James Beard and IACP award.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Part 1: The Principles of Artisan Bread
1: The Backstory
2: Eight Details for Great Bread and Pizza
3: Equipment and Ingredients
Essay: Where Does Our Flour Come From?
Part 2: Basic Bread Recipes
4: Basic Bread Method
5: Straight Doughs
6: Doughs Made with
Essay: The Early Morning Bread Baker’s Routine
Part 3: Levain Bread Recipes
7: Understanding Levain
8: Levain Method
9: Hybrid Leavening Doughs
Essay: The 3-Kilo Boule
10: Pure Levain Doughs
11: Advanced Levain Doughs
Essay: Making a Bread (or Pizza) Dough You Can Call Your Own
Part 4: Pizza Recipes
12: Pizza and Focaccia Method
13: Pizza Doughs
14: Pizza and focaccia
Metric Conversion Charts
What People are Saying About This
“If books full of stunning bread porn — all craggy crusts, yeasty bubbles and floured work surfaces — are your thing, here's Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish.”
"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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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!
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.