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28 Reviews
5 star:
 (18)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book for New Bakers & House Warming Gifts
Wonderfully illustrated (actual photos) of essential steps
to get a sense along the way of what things SHOULD look like.

Explains things reasonably well and in a logical order.
I would have liked a few more technical details,
but it does have many time-saver or finishing tips.

This is a very good book even for seasoned bakers...
Published on April 16, 2012 by Baker Bear

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful pics, not so great outcomes
I have been baking all my life so was really impressed with the amount of pictures & step by step instructions this book had to offer. My daughter has been asking me to teach her how to bake so I thought this was the perfect book for her. I bought it and we immediately tried the gingerbread recipe. The dough was so dry it wouldn't even stick together for rolling. I had to...
Published on December 10, 2011 by baker1


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful pics, not so great outcomes, December 10, 2011
This review is from: Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) (Hardcover)
I have been baking all my life so was really impressed with the amount of pictures & step by step instructions this book had to offer. My daughter has been asking me to teach her how to bake so I thought this was the perfect book for her. I bought it and we immediately tried the gingerbread recipe. The dough was so dry it wouldn't even stick together for rolling. I had to add more liquid and then at least it rolled OK. Even though the cookies had good flavor they had the consistency of a ginger snap (very crispy). Then we tried the chocolate cupcakes & choc frosting. The frosting also did not call for enough liquid so we had to add a Tblsp of cream in order to get the consistency we needed for spreading. Everything tasted OK, but the cake was not light and fluffy. I'm dissapointed. Maybe liquids and butter are just different in the US vs. GB? I would not recommen this book unless you are a real experienced baker and want to modify the recipes.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No longer enjoying this recipe book, December 26, 2011
By 
S. LeVan (Rochester, MN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) (Hardcover)
My original review gave this book 4 stars because I had initial success and loved the appearance and design, which features great step-by-step photos. However, I have struggled with the ingredient ratios for several recipes. After reading another reviewer's complaint about the buttermilk biscuit dough, I attempted to make them myself - twice. Each time, even with very careful measurements, I had a bowl of liquid. Adding an cup of self-rising flour helped me get a workable dough. That's quite off from the suggested flour and liquid amounts, more than could be justified by temperature and humidity variations.

I also tried the sourdough bread recipe. As an experienced bread baker, I know what a good starter should look like and once again, this was just all water. I let it ferment for 24 hours as is and I was displeased with the results. There was a bit of the wine smell but there was nothing bubbling. I added a cup of flour and a bit of sugar to feed the yeast and let it sit another day. It's better but still not what it needs to be so I gave up.

I am not sure I want to waste my money buying ingredients for any other recipes now.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:
I just received this book as a holiday gift from my wish list and I'm not disappointed. I bake a lot (several times a week) and have already prepared two recipes from the book. The first was chocolate brownies, my first time baking brownies from scratch. Even with my own mistakes in measurement, they were delicious! Definitely tasted like bakery brownies, rich and fudgy, rather than the box mix. My miscalculation led to brownies that are moister than they would be but the family enjoyed them nonetheless.

My second attempt from the book was the custard pie. I'm a huge fan of baked custard, reminiscing my grandmother's nutmeg dusted custards on snow days. The "instant" varieties just don't cut it and I've had little success from internet recipes. What I wanted was something like the Baker's Square custard pie and what I got was even better.

Many of the recipes seem like a lot of work, but with time dedicated to prepping ingredients and careful measurements, it's possible to be successful the first couple of times you rely on this book. I did not give five stars because the times (not including baking time) seem to be based on someone who has a lot of experience with pastry baking or who has done most of the prep ahead of time. I'll test out a few more recipes to see if this continues to be a problem.

Overall, the photographs are clear and instructive, the ingredients mostly either what you'd have on hand or are easy to get at a traditional market, and the book has recipes for some of the most beautiful and enticing desserts that I've seen at fine dining restaurants and high-end bakeries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the same as the hardcover version, July 28, 2013
By 
qsunshine (St George, Barbados) - See all my reviews
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I thought it was the kindle version of the hard cover book but it doesn't have in all the recipes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book for New Bakers & House Warming Gifts, April 16, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) (Hardcover)
Wonderfully illustrated (actual photos) of essential steps
to get a sense along the way of what things SHOULD look like.

Explains things reasonably well and in a logical order.
I would have liked a few more technical details,
but it does have many time-saver or finishing tips.

This is a very good book even for seasoned bakers.
(but for pro cake decorating techniques look to Wilton books).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars European measures tricky!, March 29, 2013
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This review is from: Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) (Hardcover)
All right, here is my experience. I bought this book simply for its amazing looks. A couple of days ago I needed a quick banana bread recipe, and I decided to try the one in this cookbook. I thought I used the right conversion (13 oz of flour are a little over 1 1/2 cups, right?), and the result was a batter with the consistency of syrup. Puzzled (and, I have to admit, a bit upset), I started adding and adding flour, until the batter looked the right consistency. The final result was nevertheless great, my family loved the bread.
Afterwards I read the other reviews, and I saw that other people had the same problem with the batter being too liquid. I did some "conversion" research online, and, to my surprise, converting grams and ounces to cups is indeed peculiar. It turns out that in what concerns flour, 1 cup = 136 g = 4.8 oz (I found this on allrecipes.com). Well, that makes a LOT of difference. I wish the publishers had in mind American bakers as well, and provided cup measurements, or at least include them in the "Useful Information" charts from the inside of the covers.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It is a summarized version of The original hardcover, December 11, 2012
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I Thought it had all the original recipes but was completely disappointed when i realized it only had part of the book. I would not have purchased it if i had known.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites!, October 28, 2011
By 
Cait "Cait" (Durango, CO, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) (Hardcover)
I recently picked this one up and as someone who loves baking and has done quite a bit at home but never professionally, it's absolutely perfect! Many of the recipes have photos along with the step by step instructions and even those recipes without photos are extremely easy to follow. Every recipe I've made from it (especially the Marbled Cheesecake) has been an absolute hit! As a warning though, if you don't already have a scale, I'd advise getting one. The author seems to rely on weights as much as measuring spoons or cups. You can guestimate and she often provides approximations (like listing "about 41 cookies" as well as the weight
"6 oz of cookies") but it's definitely handier to have the scale. I haven't tried the more advanced recipes yet but I like that she allows the average baker to make something that can look truly impressive!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy bake, September 17, 2011
This review is from: Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) (Hardcover)
This is a big, heavy, bulky book which does make for big full size pictures and larger than normal pictures (approximately 2"x2") of their step by step instructions. Not all recipes have step by step pictures, but there are step by step instructions and explanations for all and pictures of the finished product. There is also an easy to understand key for each: servings, prep time, and cooking time, freezing or storing information. Special equipment is also noted; such as loaf pan, brioche molds. There are some pictures in the beginning that have no identification which could easily have been remedied.
The inside covers contain useful charts of volume, oven temperature, cake pan, yeast, weight, volume, butter equivlilants and calculating pastry quantities. The book contains; everyday, celebration and small cakes, patisserie, cookies and slices, meringues and soufflés, cheesecakes, sweet and savory tarts and pies, classic, artisan, flat, quick breads and batters. There is also an index.

This is absolutely wonderful, in many ways for a beginning cook or even those who are not used to baking from scratch and its joys. The book does miss some helpful points, that beginning cooks would need; like warning when you zest oranges and lemons not to get the pith/white part in and avoiding the bitterness it would bring. Then there is the method of making sourdough, which they do admit is cheating, by using flour and yeast and water and letting it sit for a few days and that really doesn't work very well.

The savory pie section is absolutely a hit in our family. The crab and shrimp tart with saffron is marvelous as is the steak and wild mushroom pie, fish pie, steak and kidney double crust pie, cold chicken and ham pie. There is a wonderful version of beef wellington - relatively easy and will impress the heck out of your family or guests and even the sourdough rolls are good (but I did use my own sourdough starter for them).
So beginning cooks and even more experienced ones might enjoy purchasing this book or especially getting it for a gift.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely OFF I want a refund and reimbursed time and suffering!, November 20, 2011
This review is from: Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) (Hardcover)
Bought this for full price at Barnes and Noble...thank goodness I have the receipt. piece of Junk. I was soooooo excited and am now very disappointed. Made the buttermilk biscuits this morning using the book's recipe. I am not an expert baker but have back probablybaked numerous things in my lifetime. I looked at this recipe and thought "no way is this accurate" and quadruple checked the amounts of ingredients while doing it because it just looked so wrong. 1 1/3cup flour and 1 1/2 cup liquid...and that's supposed to come out as a "rough dough" ? It DOESN'T. Came out a soupy mess. So I look at the bag of self rising flour and on the back is a recipe for buttermilk biscuits...2cups flour to 1 1/4c liquid. the grocery store flour bag also used half a stick of butter...this recipe calls for twice the butter almost. First recipe out of this big beautiful book and it came out completely wrong. It will be the last one I make from it. It goes back to the store!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 7, 2014
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This review is from: Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) (Hardcover)
Wonderful book! Great pictures!
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Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books)
Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books) by Caroline Bretherton (Hardcover - August 29, 2011)
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