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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pastry cook book
This cookbook has well written explanations and recipes that come out true to expectations (if you have been to the bakery) or otherwise very well (read: delicious). I have been to the Standard Baking Co. bakery a handful of times, and love their brownies. In truth, the brownies were the reason I wanted to get the cookbook. However, I have been extremely satisfied with...
Published 18 months ago by ylime

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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good recipes, no weights, only measure
From the ones I've tried so far (caramel apple tart, brownies), these are good recipes. It's annoying, however, that the recipes provide only the measure of each ingredient, and not the weight, except for the croissant recipe. If you buy your butter in a 1 lb. block, it's pretty hard to figure out 3/4 cup plus 2 T., or 1 1/3 stick. You have no choice but to convert to...
Published 19 months ago by T. Johnson


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pastry cook book, March 24, 2013
This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
This cookbook has well written explanations and recipes that come out true to expectations (if you have been to the bakery) or otherwise very well (read: delicious). I have been to the Standard Baking Co. bakery a handful of times, and love their brownies. In truth, the brownies were the reason I wanted to get the cookbook. However, I have been extremely satisfied with all the recipes I have tried so far, including the brownie recipe. In addition to the fact that the recipes work and are delicious, they are not too involved: no esoteric techniques that I've come across so far, and any more complicated processes are well explained. I highly recommend this cookbook as a source for excellent sweet pastry recipes (not including frosted cakes). More details below if you want:

The book contains mostly sweet pastry recipes: croissants/scones/coffecake like pastries, then tarts, then "cakes" and cookies. There is also a small section of savory and snack items (like granola bars). The "cakes" section contains brownies, bundt cakes, tea cakes and the like - no frosted airy cakes or anything like that, a fact that they point out in their commentary as their bakery does not have a refrigerated case. There are also no bread recipes.

I have tried three of the four pastry dough recipes (the sweet, perfect and rustic tart pastries - there is a chocolate pastry recipe I have yet to try) and am so happy with them I am going to adopt them as my standby pie doughs. I was very impressed with them for three reasons, 1) two of the recipes (the sweet and perfect) use a stand mixer which worked surprisingly well and I found to be easier than 'cutting' the butter into the flour and less hassle than blending in the food processor, not to mention the results were wonderful; 2) all of the doughs came out very well, and; 3) all of the doughs came out very differently: the sweet dough is like a cookie crust, the 'perfect' dough is light and flaky, almost like a puff pastry except without the height, and the rustic dough is just that, lots of rough character and flavor in a crisp and crumbly crust.

The tarts I made with the doughs were also very good. The Irish whiskey chocolate tarts are deadly - extremely rich, tender and chocolaty. The 'perfect' pastry that goes with it both balances the chocolate flavor and also helps it stand out through the flavor contrast. The frangipane is lovely but intense and very buttery. This is the only recipe I probably won't make again, but not because I don't like it. I have another recipe that I prefer because it is more subtle. However, I will always use the poached pear recipe from this book for any frangipane I do, as it intensifies the pear flavor. Finally, the rustic apple tart has become our new apple pie standby, and my husband has stated that it the best tart he's ever had.

Finally, the brownies. I made these the day before yesterday, and they did not disappoint. They are as rich and decadent as the ones you buy at the bakery. They say in the recipe description that while everyone goes back and forth about cake-like brownies versus fudge-like brownies, these brownies are simply the best. I completely agree. The density and texture are very pleasing, however when you eat one of these brownies those thoughts only come after the pure chocolate bliss passes. These brownies are beyond cake-like or fudge-like being a concern.

I don't usually write reviews, but have been so impressed with this cookbook I was compelled to do so. It has been rare for me to find a cook book where the recipes come out consistently well. If you are looking for a collection of delicious pastry recipes, then this is the book for you.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good recipes, no weights, only measure, March 9, 2013
By 
T. Johnson (Des Moines, IA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
From the ones I've tried so far (caramel apple tart, brownies), these are good recipes. It's annoying, however, that the recipes provide only the measure of each ingredient, and not the weight, except for the croissant recipe. If you buy your butter in a 1 lb. block, it's pretty hard to figure out 3/4 cup plus 2 T., or 1 1/3 stick. You have no choice but to convert to weight. And pros measure ingredients by weight only anyway. You know from the precision and industry that they already had the weight, and converted to measure for the home baker, but did not leave the weights in as an alternative means of measuring the ingredients out, like the best baking books. Too bad, it would have made the book easier to use for a broader audience.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scrumptious!, October 15, 2012
This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
Finally, one of the most exceptional bakeries in the northeast offers a book of delicious pastries that are sophisticated without being fussy, with recipes that are unintimidating and easy to follow. Best of all, the results don't leave you scratching your head wondering where you went wrong or what the author secretly left out so as not to duplicate her masterful work; they're lovely to look at and even lovelier to eat and share. Clearly, much work went into the testing of these recipes, and it pays off. Follow the instructions and you'll feel like a pro! Timeless, intimate photos are as elegant as the pastries. This book will make a perfect gift for any pastry lover.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So far, so delicious, February 10, 2013
This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
Baked two recipes, Gingerbread and Wild Blueberry Oat Scones. The verdict for both has been a definite yes. Made the Gingerbread in six 1 cup bundt pans, instead of the recommended 6 cup pan, thus had to add another ˝ tsp baking soda (See Beranbaum's Cake Bible page 492, text and baking powder amounts table) and baked them for 25 minutes. See picture above. The dessert was delicious without being overly sweet. Presentation was nice but would have been better if I had followed the directions of sifting the confectionary sugar so as not to end up with a lumpy lemon glaze. Homemade meyer lemon marmalade made a delicious accompaniment. The Wild Blueberry Oat Scones were made with commercial blueberries and I made 14 instead of 9 scones. The scones were more cake-like, and definitely not flaky. But they were very tasty and somewhat addictive.

I bake by weight, not volume. This book is by volume only. But the authors do tell how to measure the flour. So using their method, I converted 1c of flour to 130g of unbleached flour. After making the two recipes, I realized that the croissant recipe (I did not look at the recipe because Tartine's croissant recipe makes the most perfect croissants for me) has both volume and weight. The croissant dough uses 140g per 1c unbleached flour. But because both recipes worked so well with 130g, I think I will stay with that.

Look forward to trying more recipes.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional bakery!, October 11, 2012
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This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
In the mid 1990's, I was fortunate enough to land a job at this incredible bakery (then, still on Wharf Street in Portland, ME), and the experience completely changed my life as a baker. The owners took the time to teach their staff how to consistently create artisan baked goods that people lined up for on a daily basis. I was so thrilled to see this gorgeous book arrive on my doorstep in Colorado, and I now have the opportunity to make all the treats I've missed so much since moving away from the East Coast. The currant scone is what dreams are made of. I remember having one every day as I settled into my work day at the bakery. If you have a chance to visit Portland, Me, this is an absolute must-stop. Not only are the pastries indescribably good, the breads are equally as perfect. And if you can't, this beautiful book will surely become a favorite in your cookbook repetoire. Bravo!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Standard, April 3, 2013
This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
When we last visited the Standard Baking Company (a must whenever we are in Portland) I was overjoyed to see this little book, listing a recipe for the very rugalachs we just bought. Many cookbooks, written by (or, in many case, probably ghost-written by) famous restaurant owners or chefs, contain dumbed-down versions of their signature dishes, omitting just those ingredients or tweaks that make these items so popular (try to find the original Sachertorte recipe in Hotel Sacher's pastry book!). The authors of "Pastries" are courageous and generous enough to give you the real deal!
So far I baked rugalachs and croissants, also the almond croissant variation. The instructions are detailled, and easy to follow, and the results outstanding! The book's layout is clean and pleasing, and easy to work with. The matte paper that one reviewer attributed to the publishers need to save a buck (have you ever seen their gorgeous glossy "DownEast Magazine"?), contributes, in my opinion, to the books's attractive look, indicating that it's meant for the kitchen, and not the tea table.
As a European, I would have liked to see also weight measurements in all recipes, but this is a minor gripe compared to the overall quality of "Pastries".
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cookbook from a Great Bakery!, November 4, 2012
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This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
Standard Baking Co. in Portland Maine is one of a few premier bakeries on the New England coast. They are known for their wonderful bread and for the wide variety of high-end pastries they offer. As a resident of Portland, I can vouch for the quality and goodness of their products. I eat their bread daily, but my favorite items come from the pastry end of the business. The cork, caramel apple tartlette, the taralli, and fennel pepper crackers (among others!) are all included here. I can't wait to try my hand at some of these recipes!

The book itself is quite beautiful. There are many artfully done color photographs scattered throughout the text, and the binding and cover look and feel well done and sturdy. The recipes are clearly written in a step by step manner, and I feel they'd be easy to grasp for both the occasional and weekly baker (I'm somewhere in between). The recipes are grouped by type (ie., cookies, cakes, savory snacks, etc) and included are a number of "mother" recipes that can be used for recipes both within and without the cookbook. Also of interest are the philosophical statements by the authors in the foreword, as well as the commentary interspersed throughout the cookbook. It seems clear that the authors are passionate about their work, and that they want to share that passion with the rest of us!

So far, I've only attempted the molasses cookies, and they turned out great. As I mentioned, I'm looking forward to delving deeper over the winter months. I'm thinking this book will be off the shelf more than on for some time to come!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok so far....., June 25, 2013
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This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
I was excited to get this book and although Im sure the pastries from this bakery are wonderful I cannot say the same for the recipes I have tried thus far. Granted, it has only been three and I will be sure to return to improve my review if I try more and am impressed with the results. The scone recipes so far have not turned out that good considering all the great reviews I was expecting more. I am a pretty experienced baker and have made my fare share of scones but like I said I will try some more recipes in the near future.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Things Come in Small Packages, April 5, 2013
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This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
Again, I was apprehensive about buying another baking book. I have purchased several in the past year and considered not buying anymore. I'd have to say this is one of my favorites because the recipes I have tried so far have come out outstanding. I initially got it from the library and was impressed. So far I've tried the Mediterranean Lemon Cake, Pecan Financiers and Butter Croissants recipes. The croissants had a crispy exterior and delicate interior. I'm looking forward to trying more recipes and would highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I can get anywhere close to their Pain au Chocolat..., December 24, 2013
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This review is from: Standard Baking Co. Pastries (Hardcover)
So... I found the wonderful Standard Baking Co. on a recent trip to Portland; their Pain au Chocolat was amazing. Light, flaky, not the least bit of heaviness or greasy feel. The kind of food experience that you just keep raving about all day. The kind of experience that makes you think that an hour and a half in the car might not be a bad trade off for exquisite food.

I am an enthusiastic home baker and the type of food nerd who has read cookbooks like storybooks since I was was old enough to do so. This cookbook has gorgeous photos of beautiful baked items, and I can vouch for the fact that they look just as lovely as they did in the display case at Standard.

I made the croissant dough over Thanksgiving weekend and found that it yielded very successful results. I'm sure croissant dough is something that gets better as one works the recipe repeatedly, and I did find myself double and triple checking the timeline and instructions to make sure I was following carefully (something I rarely do with non-baked-good recipes). I have to say the recipe was explicit, well written, and it worked, even for a person who had zero experience with the rather tedious process. I have read other reviews citing the fact that weight measures are not provided, and, while that would be nice, it's easy enough to use a conversion table to accomplish this if one wishes. I don't think that a lost battle with the publisher means that the book is of no use to the serious baker.

It is difficult to review a cookbook based on one recipe. I would have to say that croissant dough is one of the more difficult items in the book, and if success can be had the first time through with this, I am truly looking forward to trying some of the other recipes. Thank you to Allison and Tara for sharing the wealth!
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Standard Baking Co. Pastries
Standard Baking Co. Pastries by Tara Smith (Hardcover - October 16, 2012)
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