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The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook A James Beard Award Winner (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks) Hardcover – 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 280 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The King Arthur company has produced flour and other baking ingredients of high reputation for over two centuries. Similarly trustworthy, and reflecting their years of kitchen experience, The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion offers over 400 recipes for all kinds of basic and up-to-the-minute specialties--from pancakes and waffles to muffins and quickbreads; from coffee cakes, pizzas and crackers, to hearthbreads, cakes and cookies, including two complete chocolate chip recipes, for soft and crispy kinds. This is one of those books that no baking kitchen should lack--not only for its comprehensive repertoire and recipe dependability, but for the intimate ease with which it fulfills its promise. What this means, partly, is that technical information is perfectly pitched to ensure relaxed understanding, offering neither too much nor too little detail. It's the range and quality of these baking "backstories," including, for example, how to control cookie-dough spreading while baking, plus numerous hints and shortcuts, that help make the book so valuable.

Beginning, sensibly, with a concise section on measuring--the authors "first plea" is that readers buy and use a scale--the book then treats breakfast specialties, such as Gingerbread Pancakes and Pumpkin Praline Waffles; pursues quickbreads like Maple Cornbread; cobblers including those made under both cake and pie crusts; Sesame Crisps among other crackers; and yeast breads, such as bagels, a basic White Bread 101, and an exemplary Italian Bread, among others. An entire chapter is devoted to sourdough with instructions for creating your own starter. Readers will also want to try Strawberry-Lemon Chess Pies, Chocolate Lava Cake, and Pumpkin Cheesecake. A concluding everything-you've-always-wanted-to know ingredients glossary includes explorations on flour milling; of "faux fats" and sweeteners; the use of eggs in a dough or batter, in yeast breads and custards; information on the latest in European-style cultured butters, among much else. Color photos and numerous step-by-step technical drawings provide further guidance. With an illustrated section on tools, too, both high-tech and homey, such as the flour wand, the book has it all, for new and seasoned bakers alike. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

The company that makes one of the pantry's most recognized baking ingredients-flour-presents this practical and comprehensive baking cookbook. The book begins, of course, with a no-nonsense discussion of measuring flour, a step in the baking process that thwarts many would-be pastry chefs (the authors urge homecooks to use a scale). Recipes are divided into category-based chapters-from breakfasts (with dozens of derivatives of pancakes and waffles), fried doughs, and quickbreads to yeasted breads, cookies and bars, and cakes. Carb-haters, beware: there's not much protein in these pages. Many recipes are tried-and-true formulas for favorite dishes, such as the Simple But Perfect Pancake, Simple Sugar Cookies, and Classic Blueberry Muffins; others are more daring variations on a theme, such as White Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake, and Potato, Dill and Onion Crackers. Detailed and logical explanations of how baking works, plus an in-depth discussion of baking ingredients make this a valuable guide for beginning bakers and an informative addition for pastry aficionados. 16 pages of color photos. 200 line drawings.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: King Arthur Flour Cookbooks
  • Hardcover: 620 pages
  • Publisher: The Countryman Press; 1 edition (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881505811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881505818
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 2.1 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennifer Juday VINE VOICE on November 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
THE KING ARTHUR FLOUR BAKER'S COMPANION is a delight, both as a book to read and enjoy, and as a cookbook. The slightly oversized pages allow for plenty of room for the well-laid out text. Ink and paper colors make it easy to read. The handful of photos is attractive and inspiring. Line drawings are well rendered and do a great job of illustrating techniques. Each recipe includes a short or not-so-short comment on the recipe from the King Arthur team. The comments are chatty and interesting enough that you may find yourself paging through the book, reading it for pleasure.

As a guidebook and manual, THE KING ARTHUR FLOUR BAKER'S COMPANION is excellent. The book is designed to make it easy to scan and plan. Each recipe tells you how much you'll make. Quantities of ingredients are given in both cups/teaspoons and in ounces. When a dish is made in distinct stages (such as crust and filling), both the ingredients and the instructions are separately labeled. Each recipe also -- though you may not want to know! -- gives very complete nutritional information (calories; grams of fat, protein, carbohydrates, sugars, and fiber; mg of cholesterol and sodium; vitamins and minerals).

Like THE JOY OF COOKING, THE KING ARTHUR FLOUR BAKER'S COMPANION includes long sections that talk about the basics, in addition to great specific recipes. I am comfortable with the basics of making piecrust. I read their section on basic piecrusts and it was very solid information. I was so inspired that I decided to step out and try a variation, the Long Flake Method. The instructions were very clear and easy to understand and follow. It was like having a master baker there to give you great bits of advice like "Give your chilled dough 10-15 minutes to warm since you made it with all butter.
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Format: Hardcover
This volume, subtitled the `All Purpose Baking Cookbook' perfectly fits the criteria I typically apply to a book in order to decide if I want to give it five stars. A book gets three stars if it meets my expectations. A book gets four stars if it meets my expectations in a very successful way. Typically, that means that it has few or no detected mistakes. A book gets five stars if it exceeds my expectations. This book certainly exceeded my expectations.
What I anticipated when I opened this book was a dry, technical work steeped in discussions of the effects of gluten and altitude and humidity on bread making, similar to some of the more detailed parts of better books on bread baking. All of these discussions are here, plus others on the finer points of measuring flour and types of flour, but with a difference.
The biggest surprise in the book was the light, personal touch of the writing. It all has the tone you may expect in a very good book on regional cooking. And, lo and behold, there is a hint of regionality and local tradition in the selection of materials in the book. In spite of the fact that King Arthur products are available throughout the country (unlike White Lily, for example), the book retains a very New England tone to it's selection of recipes. One prominent example is in the recipe for biscuits, where it advises all experienced Southern biscuit makers to simply skip that page, as since `we don't want to shock you with the way we make biscuits up north'.
That doesn't mean the book does not touch on every subject you may expect it to cover. As I said in my opening paragraph, it easily covers much more than what I expected. The very first chapter dealing with breakfast foods covers material not commonly covered in conventional baking surveys.
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Format: Hardcover
If you need a fantastic baking book on how to bake virtually everything, then this is the book for you!
Most cookbooks out there fail to mention little things that are extremely important in a recipe, such as sifting flour, using eggs that are at room temperature, which type of oil to use etc. Most cookbook authors either know this information and figure you do too, or the author does not know these techniques and those recipes in those books are not all they could be. And most cookbook buyers know how to read a recipe, yet do not understand it.
King Arthur Flour is a company that has been in business for over 200 years. It is their business to know flour, and to understand how to use it. It is also to their benefit to educate their flour buyers in how to bake better, so they will be happier with the end product, and thus buy more flour and even recommend their flour to their friends. In their latest book: The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook they explain why you need to sift your flour (it adds air to the mixtures which aids in leavening), why French Toast bread should be stale, why you only fry in certain oils and much more. They also offer recipes for virtually everything; from breakfast foods to quick breads, from doughnuts to yeast breads, from cobblers to cookies and cakes, as well as pies and quiches. This book even offers a section on which kitchen tools are the best for your baking projects: from type of chocolates to pie pans. This is a must-read section for any baker.
This cookbook is designed for 90% of the cookbook buying population. This cookbook is fantastic as now you can understand what you are doing rather than just following directions.
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