HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Cookbook of the Month April 2013 BOUCHON BAKERY: All recipes

Welcome to Thomas Keller month.

Please post your full-length reviews of all recipes from THE BOUCHON BAKERY here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

I can't wait to see your reviews - happy cooking!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. gg you are awesome! Thanks so much for posting this. Of all the books, I look forward to this one the most. I just rec'd it on Thursday and everything looks delicious. I resolved to bake more this year so I do hope to attempt something from this book over the course of the month ahead. I look forward to reading of everyone's baking adventures.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      Yes, me to. I want to see how the recipes turned out for most people as I'm a keen baker and am always on the lookout for new baking cookbooks.

      But Thomas Keller scares me. I made a number of recipes from his famous French Laundry cookbook and while most of them turned out tasty enough the amount of effort and time required was exhausting and ultimately negated any joy from eating the creations. To top it, I had more failures from his cookbook despite following recipes to the letter and using the best quality ingredients I could find. Keller is a highly sophisticated chef as is the French Laundry and food from these places are not easily duplicated in a home kitchen.

    2. Epic fail on the Easter dessert: Rum Cake. Will post details when I've fully recovered.

      5 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        Ahhh, bummer pikawicca. I'm so sorry to hear this. What a disappointment. I hope this isn't indicative of things to come...

        I look forward to your report.

        1. re: pikawicca

          Oh noes! I made an awesome rum cake the other day from Dan Lepard's awesome books, Short and Sweet. I know that doesn't help but thought I'd share!

          1. re: pikawicca

            Followed directions to butter, chill, and coat with sugar my (Kaiser non-stick) bundt pan. After baking (took 20 minutes longer that stated in recipe), standing for 10 minutes, tried to turn it out. The entire bottom of the cake stuck to the pan. It was a horrific mess. Ended up making trifle with the cake pieces. It did have a nice crumb, but overall nothing special.

            The recipe is, IMHO, overly fussy, besides; the instructions for adding the eggs are simply bizarre.

            1. re: pikawicca

              Oh dear, so sorry to read this Pika. Hope it wasn't too debilitating.

            2. From previous endeavours,


              Lemon/Poppy seed, p.80
              Banana, p.81
              Carrot, p.83

              Subbed plain yogurt for creme fraiche when unavailable. Didnt make the various toppings suggested. Otherwise, followed directions to the T, which is usually critical to achieve kelleresque results. So yes, you need to weight the egg and everything else. (for the egg, I found it a little easier to blend it than to sieve it through a strainer before).

              Admittedly, I'm a Thomas Keller devotee. But these muffins were the best I have ever tasted. Light, airy, deep and lingering taste. Almost cakelike. Only critic would be the slight greasiness of the carrot one, which uses canola oil instead of butter as the fat component. Maybe user error on my part.

              Use of cake flour (instead of AP) and the long resting time (overnight up to 36 hours) seems the key. Doubled batches without problem. They also freeze great, shrink wrapped.

              I'm sure the rest of the muffin recipes will become part of my repertoire in the near future.

              3 Replies
              1. re: sir_jiffy

                Ooh - thank you for these reviews, sir_jiffy. Muffins seem like a good entry point for this rather daunting cookbook. I'll give them a shot!

                1. re: sir_jiffy

                  That carrot one might be calling my name.


                  1. re: sir_jiffy

                    I made the pumpkin muffins from Bouchon Bakery as posted here: http://tishboyle.blogspot.ca/2012/10/...

                    Also a success! Moist and flavourful, will be making these again for sure.

                  2. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies p. 32

                    I have to say, when I first got this cookbook, I was skeptical – I mean, will 144 grams of flour instead of 145 make that big of a difference? But, I went out and bought the digital scale and followed the recipe as is. I thought I would start with cookies since the recipe was pretty straightforward.

                    I have to say, these were the best oatmeal raisin cookies I’ve ever made. Crispy outside, chewy inside, perfect amount of cinnamon. I had one, and an hour later, my husband had eaten the rest. So, there’s another endorsement, but I may need to make more…

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: GBMicki

                      I've had them from the Bakery, and I agree they are very good cookies.

                      1. re: GBMicki

                        These were a big hit when I made them. I will never need another oatmeal cookie recipe.

                        1. re: GBMicki

                          Hi GB (and anyone else who's made the Bouchon Bakery Oatmeal Raisin Cookies),

                          I plan to make these much, much smaller than even the small ones they discuss at the very end of the recipe which are 72 grams dough each. I think I won't go higher than about 40 grams dough per cookie. I will adjust baking time downward and watch like a hawk. In your estimation, what should the cookies look like at the time they should be removed from the oven?


                          1. re: soccermom13

                            Hi soccermom13,

                            I just baked them today and took a picture of my cookies side by side. I forgot to reverse them halfway into baking, though. :) The batch on the left is made by convection oven and the ones on the right are by standard oven.

                            1. re: wench31

                              wench31 your cookies look lovely and what a striking difference between the convection baked and conventionally-baked versions. I have only baked one item using convection so I'd be most grateful for any tips you might have. Did you adjust the temperature or baking duration when using convection?

                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                I followed his instructions at 325 for 16 mins for convection and 325 for 21 mins in standard in smaller batches (12 cookies at 72 gms each)

                                1. re: wench31

                                  Thanks so much for this wench31. Have you tasted both versions? I'm wondering if you have a preference and what the differences are (if any) in terms of texture. The convection version look as though they may be more tender perhaps?

                                  Your post is very helpful, thanks again.

                                2. re: wench31

                                  wench31---Thank you so much for the photo. But now I have serious convention oven envy! While both pans of cookies look great, the cookies baked in the convection oven are the ones I'd grab first. Do you think using doubled cookie sheets in my conventional oven would help me produce cookies that look more like your convection cookies?
                                  Thanks again.

                            2. Yesterday, I went to the Bouchon Bakery in BH for the first time. I am still waiting for my copy of the baking book to come into the library, but if what I tasted is any indicator, we are in for quite a treat. I had this poofy pastry filled with a salted carmel custard, no idea what it was called. Incredible.

                              I plan on going to the sidewalk cafe and the bistro later this month, purely for research purposes, ahem. Will report back.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: dkennedy

                                Thanks for taking one for the team, dkennedy. That's what I love about chowhounders - selfless to a tee!

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  I don't think that recipe is in the book, which is my one issue with it: some of my favorites weren't included!

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      No, unfortunately... one is the PB and jelly macaron and the other is the lemon and cream cheese pastry/danish.

                                2. I made the macarons for Easter. While the ones that worked were delicious, they were fussy. The first batch in the oven were undercooked, as I feared baking them too long and another batch cracked, because I didn't let them sit out long enough before baking (my fault.)

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: nyfashionintern

                                    They look amazing though. Very impressive.

                                      1. re: nyfashionintern

                                        Wow, those look great! Have you made macarons before?

                                        1. re: geekmom

                                          Thanks! No, this was my first time. I was over-ambitious and made 4 colors/flavors. I may make again, but next time will just choose 1. I definitely under-calculated how long they would take to do, which resulted in a panicky/long night before Easter.

                                          1. re: nyfashionintern

                                            You've inspired me to give this a try. Though I will take your advice and just pick one flavour. :-)

                                            1. re: geekmom

                                              Good! Can't wait to hear how they turn out! :)

                                                1. re: nyfashionintern

                                                  Well, I made attempt #1 at vanilla macarons on Friday, though this is the first chance I've had to post about it. I was careful to follow the instructions to the letter, and even double-checked some sites online when I got to the point where I had to figure out how much meringue to mix in with the almond paste. The macarons failed to rise properly; instead they flatted and spread out on the parchment and several of them cracked. I think I must have overworked the meringue, or something. I am undaunted and have stocked up on more almond meal & icing sugar.Watch this space!

                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                    2nd time's a charm I'm sure :) keep us posted!

                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                      Same thing happened to me.... After all that work and expensive almond flour..

                                                      Did you ever try again ?

                                                      1. re: Siegal

                                                        Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear yours didn't work.

                                                        As for trying again... Not *yet*... but I have watched more cooking shows in which macarons are made and I realize some of the things I could do differently. I will try again sometime this winter, when life hands me the luxury of a whole day at home with nothing else pressing to do. :-)

                                          2. I used their sourdough instructions to start my first successful starter - best instructions I've seen.

                                            1. Just made the bacon cheddar scones this morning. Couldn't wait to eat them so rather than place them on the cooling rack i ate one. Unfortunately, i was overwhelmed by the cheesy taste. Fast forward and after cooling down, big difference. I've made the palet d'or on several occassions and it was amazing. I wouldn't recommend it for a children's birthday party as it may be a little too rich but otherwise its perfect. I also made the lemon meringue tart, banana muffins, oatmeal raisin cookies, and oh ohs. All were phenomenal. I want to try the croissants next. Pretty much want to try everything except the macarons. Thats the domain of Pierre Hermes.

                                              1. English muffins

                                                I was all set to make the English muffins and then discovered he doesn't use English muffin rings but a fancy cylinder form pan. At $100 for this pan, I am out of the running. Has anyone tried this recipe with either traditional rings or another more commonly owned baking vessel?

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                  What? Seriously? I think they should offer a lower-cost alternative.

                                                  Here is a blogger who used ring molds http://cookinghaven.com/2012/03/29/ho... her results look good!

                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                    Yes, but that is Ruhlman's recipe, not Bouchon Bakery. I have been very happy with the Bread Baker's Apprentice version which uses ring molds.

                                                    I am intrigued by the use of a levain in the Bouchon's published recipe but don't want to bother if the stated pans are required. I think I will tweet Ruhlman and see what he has to say. He is pretty good about responding.

                                                2. OK. So I love this thread for 2 reasons. One, I have this beautiful book and have been dying for an excuse to test drive it. Two, we stopped in Vegas on our move from Pittsburgh, PA to Northern California and we had brunch at Bouchon(took our pastry basket to go with us for our road trip). We are currently in a rental house, waiting for our house to be built, and I had to rifle through numerous boxes of packed cookbooks in the garage(I have an enormous collection) to find my copy of Bouchon Bakery.

                                                  The first recipe I chose to make was the Classic Chocolate Chunk Cookie on page 34. It is simple, I had all the ingredients on hand and I make very good choc chip cookies, so I wanted to see how these compared. The recipe is a little fussy for such a straightforward drop cookie but the end result is a delicious version of this timeless classic.
                                                  The ingredients are pretty standard: butter, sugar eggs, flour, soda and chocolate(no vanilla here, which I often omit myself). The quantities are very specific, such as 5.9(not 6) oz butter and 3 T plus 2 1/2 tsp eggs. I did weigh everything and measured accurately for this first run, although, confession time, I used 1 whole egg which was 7 grams short of the weight required by the recipe. I was not going to crack a whole egg to obtain 7 grams. I used half each Ghirardelli 60% dark chips and half Milk Choc chips and did not put them in a strainer, since I had no crumbs from chopping chocolate anyway. I followed the mixing procedure outlined in the recipe(except, confession time again) I did not pre-mix the sugars and molasses - just added them to the creamed butter in the mixer bowl) I did pre-mix the dry ingredients and combined all as directed. Chilled the dough for 30 plus minutes and made 8 giant cookie dough balls. These I weighed to make sure they were all the same weight for even baking.
                                                  I do not currently have a convection oven, just an electric, smooth top, Whirlpool in this rental house. I checked the oven temp with a thermometer so I knew the oven was @ the requisite 325F. The cookies baked close to 20 minutes - maybe 19 and were gorgeous, not too thick, not too flat, right in between.(I apologize for not getting a photo - did not realize I was going to write this review and now they are gone) I promise to take a photo next time and post it in a follow up.

                                                  This recipe really does produce a righteous cookie, crispy edges, chewy center and great balance of cookie to chocolate(confession 3: I used a total of one cup of chocolate and recipe calls for just slightly more) and sweet to salty.

                                                  Conclusion. I will be making this one again but do not know if it differs enough from my standard recipe to be so fussy(again knowing that I have made a lot of chocolate chip cookies over the years,including professionally) Having said that, I appreciate the attention to detail and the clear instructions, because if you follow the recipe and directions you will end up with one tasty, giant, perfect chocolate chip cookie!

                                                  I cannot wait to bake something else out of this book. This is my first Thomas Keller cookbook, and I have my eye on Ad Hoc at Home now. It is in my cart on Amazon, and I just might have to pull the trigger, before the month ends.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: nadiam1000

                                                    Wow, thanks for this very enthusiastic write-up. I will definitely be trying these cookies!

                                                    You might want to browse the other threads where we're cooking & baking from Ad Hoc at Home. I got it from the library and I'm glad I did so, because after trying a half-dozen recipes which were mostly a lot of work, I've had only mixed results. But Bouchon Bakery is a book I already own & I really want to delve into it. Looks like cookies are the way to go!

                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                      Hi Geekmom,

                                                      Thank you for the reply. I may try to find the book at the library and try out some recipes first. I will go look at that thread and see the feedback - I know there are a few recipes on the web from Ad Hoc at Home. If I bake anything else, I will post a review.

                                                  2. Gluten-Free Brioche Rolls - Bouchon Bakery, p. 335

                                                    I'm not sure what to say about these. They look very pretty in the book, that's for sure.

                                                    I have celiac disease, so I am always being lured by the promise of a better gluten-free bread. That said, I've been baking gluten-free for 12 years now, so again and again I find that the latest thing in gluten-free breads is not as good as what I can make on my own. Still, this called to me like a siren song.

                                                    Feeling that I needed to follow the recipe precisely to give it a fair review, I shelled out $20 for 3 lbs of the "Cup4Cup" flour at Williams-Sonoma. And I followed this recipe to a T, weighing every single ingredient, including the eggs. The recipe came together without a hitch. It really is not that different from other gluten-free bread recipes. The one thing a bit different than this one is that it called for a double rise, where most g.f. recipes call for one (and there are some really idiotic ones out there that use yeast and allow for no rise time at all). Another little oddity in this recipe was that it called for instant yeast, and yet still had you "proof" the yeast (mix with sugar and water before adding to the bread). This is supposed to be unnecessary with instant yeast.

                                                    To summarize the procedure, you mix the Cup4Cup flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. You add melted butter, honey, egg and egg yolk to the proofed yeast, then you add that to the flour, mixing on low. The dough, which, like most gluten-free doughs, is more of a batter in consistency, is then mixed on medium speed for 10 minutes. This gets to rise for about an hour or until doubled. Then it is scraped down, stirred, and refrigerated for two hours. The recipe specifies 1/3 cup of dough per muffin cup, but since 1/3 cup is almost a full cup, there is no need to measure. Just divide between 12 cups, filling each almost to the top. Each portion is brushed with egg wash, and then sprinkled with Maldon salt. I skipped the sprinkle of salt (more on that later). It then gets portioned into muffin tins, and allowed to rise again for 40 minutes. Finally, they get baked 15-17 minutes at 350F.

                                                    These came out looking very, very much like the photo in the book. So far, so good. But all was not well with these rolls.

                                                    I had seen some comments about these online that they are overly salty. I was determined to ignore them and make the recipe as written to see for myself. I tasted the batter before baking, and it was obvious that it was indeed very salty, which is why I skipped that sprinkle of salt on the tip. So out of the oven, cooled and out of the tins, I finally tasted, and yes, way too salty. Now, I kind of understand why they would have done this. Gluten-free flours tend to be bland and flat tasting, so it helps to go heavy on the salt. But there are other ways of adding flavor to gluten-free breads that work better than relying on salt alone, which is what they did here.

                                                    Still warm from the pan, these rolls had a very light, cakelike texture. Not my ideal in a brioche, but common in gluten-free baked goods. Not bad, though. Generally, gluten-free breads do not hold well. They are OK warm, but as they cool, they get dry and gritty. Different recipes perform better or worse in this regard. These particular rolls were on the far end of the spectrum... the wrong end. Just during the course of dinner, as they cooled, they became inedibly dry. I will blame this on the mix of flours. They did regain most of their original texture when reheated the next day, so it's not a total loss.

                                                    So, to sum it up... I don't think Cup4Cup flour is the answer to anyone's prayers. It doesn't perform any better than other mixes out there, and it doesn't perform as well as what I can put together at home. The Brioche is way, way over salted, using salt alone to make up for a bland flour mix. The texture holds poorly, even for a gluten-free bread, and that's a pretty low bar. On the upside, they are good-looking..

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                      Thanks for sending such a detailed report. I had my eye on this recipe but hadn't tried it due to wanting to stay far, far away from Williams-Sonoma; I can't get out of there without spending a lot (last time this was compounded by getting a parking ticket because I was in there so long... sigh). Now I think I'd rather give these rolls a miss.

                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                        They might work fine with a different flour mix, and about 1/2 the salt. I wouldn't hesistate to try the recipe with whatever gluten-free flour you have on hand, to see how it works, using and equal weight. The Cup4Cup if definitely not worth the exorbitant price.

                                                      2. re: MelMM

                                                        I have made this recipe three times -- twice as rolls, once baked flat in a 1/4 sheet pan. I used olive oil in lieu of butter, and added lemon zest and rosemary. My experience has been quite different. The bread maintains its moisture for several days stored covered at room temperature. It doesn't have the toothsome-ness of wheat based rolls, but the texture is more similar to "regular" bread than any I have tried. I detect no grittiness. It knocks the offerings at the local GF bakery out of the park. I will be baking this bread on a somewhat regular basis.

                                                      3. I made a few things:
                                                        Shortbread: good, slightly floury, maybe I undertakes

                                                        Oh ohs: awesome, the only change I made was I made my own chocolate coating

                                                        Macaroons: disaster! They spread out so thin. I don't know what happened. Maybe my kitchen was to hot.

                                                        1. I love this book. That said, I question the mixing times on the yeast recipes. Mix for...20 minutes...30 minutes....etc. I made the doughnuts for breakfast today, and even though I cut the mixing time from 30 minutes to about 8, they were too chewy; not tender like doughnuts should be.

                                                          Does something happen at 30 minutes that causing the gluten to magically disappear, and thus I should have kept the mixer going for that long?

                                                          The mixing time for the pain de champagne is 20 minutes; I have had great results without mixing it for that long.

                                                          I think that the giant commercial mixers move more slowly and that a giant mass of dough develops gluten more slowly - can anyone out there confirm this? If so, commercial recipes need to take this into consideration....

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            I read that recipe also...I don't know I just don't think traditional doughnuts can be made with bread dough (like how he used brioche) and come out as we expect traditional doughnuts to be.

                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                              Bread dough can easily overheat in a mixer resulting in irreparable damage and the character of your bread being destroyed. Have not seen this recipe but always best to knead anything with yeast by hand. Also, it needs to be kneaded until it reaches the optimal elasticity and stretchiness. This can take a while. Try taking a small amount and stretching it. If it can be stretched until it is almost translucent, your good. If it tears, it needs more kneading.

                                                              1. re: Iluvliam

                                                                Actually, modern thinking is that kneading is not necessary at all to produce bread with character. I recently have been making artisan sourdough breads without any kneading at all; just stretching and folding once per 45 minutes - 1 hour, three times.

                                                              2. re: sandylc

                                                                I have to admit I am a novice bread maker, just reading through the book to gain some insight, but these instructions do seem a little extreme. A coupl of things to remember: All the recipes in the book were "tested with a KitchenAid 5-quart Artisan mixer" (p26). When he says "low speed", he is referring to the "2" setting on the mixer (p26). At "2" setting, this particular mixer is making 95 rpm's. That means at 20 min, it has made 1900 rotations. Then if you refer to his mixing section (p264), you see the following: 600 revolutions=Short, 1000 revolutions=improved, and 1600 revolutions=intensive. He then states that most of their dough is an "improved" mix. I guess the question is if rpm's of the motor and revolutions in the dough are the same... It would appear they are, but maybe there's some other science behind how the hook interacts with the dough. If you go by straight rpm's, his improved mix baguette dough would mix for approximately 10 1/2 min (1000 rotations / 95 rpm ). This still seems a little long to me. I say go with your gut. People have said baking is not about time or numbers or temperatures, but all of these things combined and a baker that knows his/her dough.

                                                              3. Through an odd set of occurrences, I started with the dog treats. I have no dog, so I can't report on a canine response, but the recipe worked as described and the treats looked very sweet.

                                                                Anyone made the bouchons or the gingerbread?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: THewat

                                                                  Did you make those dog treats for a dog THewat? Thanks for this post, it did give me a chuckle. I've been eyeing that gingerbread btw but haven't tried it as yet.

                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                    The dog treats have, indeed, gone off to a dog. I also made the gougères, which I was very pleased with.

                                                                    I had a gingerbread recently that I thought was outstanding (sold as "ginger cake," served as a rectangle that could have been baked in a sheet pan.) It was very flavorful and beautifully textured - more so than any gingerbread I've ever made. It also came with some smart little garnish - I want to say a tiny slice of pear and a mint leaf? It was something I would never have chosen, but it was really nice.

                                                                    So please do post if you try the Bouchon gingerbread. I'm on the hunt. :)