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BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes Hardcover – October 28, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
There are many things to like about this book. It is a very detailed book, and provides a lot of background about each recipe. It's well organized, with chapters devoted to Cakes, Puff Pastry, Pies, Cookies, and Breads. And it provides a lot of good information about baking: how to tell if a recipe will work, what purpose different ingredients serve, useful and novel techniques. However, this is not a very good book of recipes.
After getting this book, I plunged right in, making her recipe for "Blueberry and Cream Muffins." The recipe promised moist, delicious muffins. They were really delicious, but the texture was oily and gummy. I tried the recipe a second time, carefully measuring every item, checking my oven temperature with a thermometer, and made a second batch. The second batch was slightly better, but was still greasy and gummy. I was surprised; how could the queen of food science provide recipes that don't work? I sat down and started reading the book from the beginning. At last, I realized what was wrong.Read more ›
Second, several times she'll give a recipe with a kind of caveat, like Pop Corriher's Applesauce Cake. The idea is that she made it, didn't like it, and then sets about to 'fix' it, taking the reader along on the journey. Not only does this cut into the *new* recipes she could be offering, it sometimes seems kinda mean. I've decided if Shirley Corriher ever asks me for a recipe, say no, because she's going to savage it in her next book.
One of her fixes she explores in the poundcake section is, for example, different varieties of fats one can use in a cake--oil, butter, shortening, whipped cream, etc. She ultimately decides on a combination of fats and the addition of potato granules to the cake. Her explanation is sound, but this kind of cooking comes from the kitchen of someone who has minions to do all sorts of scut work for her--what I call the Many Little Bowls School of Cooking. Not likely to see me whipping that one up for a little snack for my coworkers!
But, and this is what is irreplaceable about this book for the hard core baker: I'm sure that that poundcake will be phenomenally good. Her discussion of the science behind baking is fascinating to read, and I started thinking about the structure of cakes a whole new way (I learned why, for example, my cookies and biscuits turned out so different after I left the South--turns out it was the protein content in the flour!).Read more ›
Bakewise is divided up into chapters on cakes, and cake-like baking (muffins, quickbreads, etc.) puff pastry, pies, cookies and breads. At the beginning of each chapter you have a section that gives you an overview of what you will learn by making the recipes contained in it. For example, the cake chapter will teach you: "How to create your own perfect cakes," "How to spot cakes that won't work and how to fix them," "How to make cakes, muffins and quick breads more moist," "Even if you have never baked, how to ice a cake as spotlessly smooth as glass and looking as if it came from an elegant professional baker," and more. Recipes are then broken down into types, such as "Favorites" or "Elegant cakes." Finally there are the recipes, and here Corriher really goes to town.
She leads off with a classic, or very basic recipe, one which we all know, and probably have tried to make in the past. She discusses it, the theories and techniques behind it, and may even show you the process by which the recipe has been perfected. At the head of the recipe is a box that tells you what the recipe will show you.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book, has many recipes I like. Mrs. Corriher is a food scientist who explains well the food reactionsPublished 21 days ago by ruthywa
For those of you complaining the recipes didn't work for you, I have sympathy. I too have had some failures using Shirley's recipes, and I am a very experienced (50 yrs! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kuchenbaaker
Was disappointed to find there were far fewer recipes than I expected.Published 7 months ago by PollyT.
Well written explanations of the whys of baking, with plenty of examples.Published 8 months ago by DR BELA S BUSLIG