Daniel Álvarez (Dalua, Elche) is one of Spain’s best exponents of the resurgence that viennoiserie specialties are going through in pastry. A resurgence that has to do, as he himself comments, with a return to the origins, and a taste for lifelong, well-made products. Although in recent years many of these specialties had been relegated to price wars where quality was not as important, today more than ever many professionals have found in them the way to distinguish themselves and gain followers.
Daniel Álvarez’s millefeuille, croissant, or panettone have become great little gastronomic gems that are increasingly appreciated, not only by those living close to Dalua, but also by professionals from all over the world who come to the courses he teaches, eager to learn. That is why, alongside Grupo Vilbo, Daniel Álvarez has been working on a book that now comes to light with the title Sweet Devotion, a modern vision of artisan bakery.
In this book, he takes an exhaustive look at two great families of products: the puffed pastry doughs and the brioche doughs. Daniel’s concern, who also explains the success of his courses, is not to stay alone in a recipe. Bakery products actually have a very simple appearance, since they are made with very few ingredients. Its complexity resides in the creation process and in the many variables that can affect a correct development, from the kneading until the cooking, to obtain an optimum result.
Signature bakery products are also possible
From the different lamination techniques, the aspects to be taken into account for the manipulation of a fat as noble but delicate as butter, to endless step-by-step instructions with which to acquire an adequate notion of each dough, each shape, of every creation process, Sweet Devotion is detached from other manuals by the zeal its author has put in the explanations. It also reveals the keys that allow you to personalize a product such as the Neapolitan or the puff pastry band, the kouglof, the savarin or the bostock, and thus take it to an artisan philosophy, more intertwined with a business of proximity.
Glutinous mesh and fermentation
In the part dedicated to the brioche doughs, the author expands on the keys to reaching a good kneading in function of the wanted result. Aspects such as the integration of butter, the achievement of a glutinous mesh with adequate parameters of elasticity, the suitability of using a dough and a type of fermentation, are analyzed and explained in detail. The objective is to provide the reader with the key tools so that they can make their own way in each of these products.
The book reviews the main specialties of each family, whether we are talking about croissants, puff pastry, brioche, or panettone, in addition to displaying all kinds of formats and variants. It goes into products as characteristic and emblematic as the aforementioned panettone, the kouglof, the doughnut, or the kouign amann, as well as dedicating an important part of its pages to local products such as the roscón de reyes, the ensaimada, magdalenas, or cremadets.
The result is a book of more than 250 pages, with hundreds of photos and in which each recipe is accompanied by comments, tricks, tips and concepts that aim to encourage personal judgment without losing sight of the fundamental notions of the development of all these products.