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The Modern Baker: Time-Saving Techniques for Breads, Tarts, Pies, Cakes and Cookies Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2008

39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

A collection of 150 simple step-by-step recipes that still have gourmet appeal, The Modern Baker strives to bring you baking success with the bulk of the preparation taking under one hour. Nick Malgieri distills years of teaching and experience into these detailed recipes for virtually every savory or sweet yeast bread, quick bread, muffin, pastry, dough, and batter. Recipes are thorough and include descriptions of how batters and doughs are supposed to appear at each stage of preparation. The Modern Baker is as necessary and essential as a good oven; Nick Malgieri leads cooks through the simple art of creating an international assortment of delicious sweet and savory baked goods, interweaving techniques and helpful sidebars.

Sample recipe from The Modern Baker: Chocolate Almond and Amaretti Cake

Once fall arrives and the flood of summer fruit and berries dwindles to a trickle, I start to think of using nuts in baking. The new crop of nuts begins to reach stores in the early fall and I love to start using them right away when they're at their peak of freshness and flavor. This chocolate almond and amaretti cake is a perfect vehicle for enjoying the lush sweetness of that newly harvested crop of almonds. Nuts and chocolate are always a great combination, and this rich and delicate cake showcases them particularly well. The presence of the ground amaretti cookies, made from exotic wild apricot kernels, provides a slight bitter almond perfume that pleasantly heightens the flavor and aroma of the almonds in the cake. One taste and you won’t miss those peaches and blueberries at all. --Nick Malgieri

One 10-inch cake, about 8 large servings

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups whole blanched almonds, about 5 1/2 ounces
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed amaretti cookies
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar for finishing

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, setting a rack in the middle level. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan, 2 inches deep, and cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to fit the bottom.

    2. Chop the chocolate finely and place it in a small bowl over hot water to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the pan and cool the chocolate slightly.

    3. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter with half the sugar until it’s soft and light. Beat in the chocolate, then the yolks, one at a time, scraping the bowl and beater(s) often. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and light.

    4. Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and grind them finely, pulsing the machine on and off at 1-second intervals. Be careful that they do not become pasty. Stir the almonds and amaretti crumbs, then the flour, into the batter.

    5. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites until they hold a very soft peak and whip in the remaining sugar in a slow stream. Continue to whip the whites until they hold a soft, glossy peak. Stir a quarter of the whites into the batter, then fold in the rest with a rubber spatula, so that no streaks remain.

    6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake the cake about 40 minutes, until the center is firm when pressed with a fingertip.

    7. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes. The cake may sink slightly, though this does not affect its texture. Trim off any loose crust and invert the cake on a rack, remove the pan, and allow to cool completely.

    8. Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar and slide onto a platter.

  • From Publishers Weekly

    Would-be bakers could hardly ask for a better instructor than Malgieri, a prolific cookbook author (How to Bake, A Baker's Tour, Perfect Cakes) and director of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education. Though his previous books have for years made solid home cooking resources, this volume's clarity and simplicity may make it his most well-received yet. In it, Malgieri manages the considerable feat of condensing his process for creating pies, tarts, cookies and other baked goods into only the most crucial steps, without sacrificing taste or texture. Relying on a food processor for most mixing tasks (in place of labor-intensive steps like folding), Malgieri patiently guides readers through some of the baking world's most daunting delicacies, including French baguettes, brioche, tart dough, and homemade puff pastry. With Malgieri's confidence-building tutelage and a little practice, readers will be frosting cakes and cranking out scones like pros, and the chef offers multiple variations to try once the basics have been mastered. Though the layout leaves something to be desired--a mix of too-small typefaces, especially in ingredient lists, is sure to cause eyestrain--this makes a solid introduction and a dependable resource.
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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    Product Details

    • Hardcover: 320 pages
    • Publisher: DK Publishing (September 1, 2008)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0756639719
    • ASIN: B003R4ZIAI
    • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 11.3 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
    • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,599,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

    More About the Author

    NICK MALGIERI, former Executive Pastry Chef at Windows on the World and 1996 inductee into Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America, is currently director of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education. The author of nine other cookbooks, including the James Beard winner How to Bake and the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook award-winner Chocolate, Nick's recipes have been published widely, including in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Food & Wine, Gourmet, and Bon Appetit. He is a contributing editor of Dessert Professional and writes a monthly column for Tribune Media Services. Nick has appeared on national morning shows and local television throughout the United States, as well Food Network and Martha Stewart. Visit him online at

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Seattle Baker on March 15, 2010
    Format: Hardcover
    The recipes in this book are good and have produced great results, but they are wrought with errors. I have found misspellings, errant directions, omitted directions and an incomplete index. I can't imagine a first-time baker having any success with this book.

    For example, I made the instant Puff Pastry (which was great) but found the directions lacking in many areas: there was no mention of the necessary capacity of the food processor (which I found out the hard way when mine overflowed), there was no descriptive of "pulse" which may mean 5 seconds to me and 10 seconds to the author, there were no descriptive qualities of what the dough should look like once it was pulsed and/or rolled out (large butter chunks, small butter chunks, etc.), and when I finally got to making the strudel there was a folding direction for the bottom layer that was misleading and I eventually discovered was completely wrong.

    After a couple of weeks I decided to go back and try again with croissants. Too bad they were omitted in the index.
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    19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By MrsM on December 6, 2008
    Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
    Nick Malgieri's books are always a delight, and this latest one is no exception. His recipes are wonderful, directions crystal clear. My only complaint (and this complaint is against other baking book writers as well), PLEASE put weights of ingredients in as well as cup amounts. Many home bakers weigh now, and we would love to have more precise measurements.
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    39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By John Goecke on October 9, 2008
    Format: Hardcover
    I'm a bit of a cookbook geek with over 300 in my collection. I have purchased several of Nick Malgieri's books through the years. I have to say that "The Mondern Baker" is by far his best yet. It seems like the book he was meant to write. As with all his books, the instructions are clear and the recipes well tested to make sure they work every time in the home kitchen. What sets this book apart from his other works and most other baking books on the market is the wide range of recipes. They really do resonate with the modern cook. I highly recommend this book and I hope more people will give it a try.
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    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kawage Sol Crist on January 16, 2012
    Format: Hardcover
    I love this book, every single recipe I've tried has turned out fantastic. I can't stop baking from it.
    My review is for the graphic design of this book, its readability and ease of use. It is really awful. Readability is just a joke. The graphic designer (or maybe just an intern?) went for a "modern" look, never minding to ask his or her mother if she managed to understand the text. he ingredient lists are set in very tiny type and it's a headache to make out what they say. If you're reading the recipe while baking you will probably miss something. What I've resorted to doing is transcribe the recipe and then use my notes while baking. Going back to the book is a nightmare.

    Also a recipe for a cake with frosting should have in my opinion two clear procedures. What if I only want to make the frosting? well, I will have to go spelunking through the bad typography to see if I find what I'm looking for. I hope the editor hires a proper typographic designer and fixes these issues. Nick deserves it.
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    10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Coggins on March 27, 2009
    Format: Hardcover
    I took this book out from the library and quickly found many recipes that looked appealing-many tarts, muffins, waffles, etc. I picked a Banana Walnut Tart recipe and after reading it before making it I realized the recipe is incomplete. It says to bake the tart until the crust is baked through and the filling is set... but gives no indication of how long that might take. 10, 20, 30 minutes? I have no clue. Then the last step says to let it cool completely before filling... the problem is the recipe already told me to fill the tart and bake it. It makes no sense.
    I have to agree with others that the Ingredients list for the recipes is in the tiniest font and is hard to read, and I am 23. The photos are great and the recipes sound wonderful but there needs to be more revision.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Holmes on December 20, 2009
    Format: Hardcover
    This is a great cookbook!! I love cooking and I'm always looking up new recipes to try and I have my staple cookbooks for baking (Cake Mix Dr, Betty Crocker, and two church cookbooks)and I have never seen recipes like these. They are very detail-oriented on the technique and it's a total no-fail way to cook (even if you're a total klutz in the kitchen) . If you have the basics of baking down and are looking to get a little more adventurous and learn how to use typical ingredients in new ways and rethink the familiar, or even try your hand at baking something new for the first time, this is your go-to, for sure!!

    I checked this book out on my school library's website (University of Miami), since it was featured as E-book of the month and I liked what I saw so much that I'm thinking about ordering my own copy

    The only reason I take one star away is because some recipes have random ingredients, like cocoa nibs, but it's never a core ingredient and the recipes are super easy for substituting any obscure items out (like I did--I used pecans instead). The whole book is definitely not full of obscure ingredients like that, just a few. I made the brownie recipe and it was AMAZING! The best brownies I've had to date!!

    Get this book and revamp your baking life!! It's really great,even if you feel like you've made it all. This book will show you some new tricks!
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