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Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking Hardcover – October 1, 2003


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Hardcover, October 1, 2003
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Product Details

  • Series: Williams-Sonoma Essentials
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxmoor House (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0848727797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0848727796
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 9.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Hot cinnamon rolls sticky with caramelized sugar and spice. A tart-sweet strawberry-rhubarb crisp, it's juices nearly bubbling over the sides of the pan. A platter of chewy, fragrant gingersnaps alongside a pitcher of ice-cold milk. A warm apple pie cooling on the windowsill. A loaf of olive bread in the oven, filling the kitchen with its enticing aroma. A featherlight chocolate souffle towering above the rim of its dish. The secrets behind making these irresistible sweet and savory baked goods and dozens more can be found in Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking.

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Customer Reviews

I was given one as a gift and have since bought it for others!
Julia M. Anderson
The recipes are easy to follow because of very detailed step by step instructions.
geekworld
All of the recipes I have tried so far produced wonderful results.
bellscamp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amalfi Coast Girl on April 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
To put this review into perspective for you, it is written by a serious student of cooking that has been actively studying food on their own for 25 years. I have been focusing on Italian food for the last 10 years. My favorite cookbook is "The Professional Chef" by the Culinary Institute of America.

If you are a frustrated baker who can't make your bread turn out right this is an excellent starting point for that purpose. The book contains all the bakery standards that you would expect and some that might be a new experience for you.

The Lavender-Polenta Coffee Cake is a very nice recipe. The Carrot Cake Recipe is also very good. Try adding a little maple syrup to the cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake. To quote my husband, Yum Yum.

The book does a nice job of outlining the various stages of the baking process in good detail with pictures. I think it would be very easy for a beginner to follow and make a nice loaf of bread the first time out.

I have shared the French Baquette recipe with a few novice bakers and they claim to have had good results.

If you are looking for a decent baking primer this is a good place to begin. The directions and the pictures are well done for those that need the guidance.
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Eric Altson on March 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I saw this cookbook I just couldn't resist. It was William Sonoma after all, and looked like just what I needed to get started as a beginning baker. As far as presentation goes, this book is beautiful. The photography will have you drooling over many of the pages in no time at all.

Like most beginning cookbooks, this one has very nice sections at the beginning covering equipment and ingredients as well as basic techniques for things like measuring and preparing pans. But the real test of a cookbook is the recipes themselves.

There's a wonderful selection of classic as well as specialty recipes in all the basic categories, and the book included some of my favorites like Challah and Pumpernickel bread. And although delicious when successfully baked, the book suffers terribly from what appears to be errors in quantity. In the dozen or so recipes that I have attempted so far, about three quarters had significant trouble caused by issues that could only be attributed to the quantity of goods. Being new to baking, I assumed at first that this was just something to do with me or the way that I measured things. But after a while, and with the purchase of a very nice cooking scale, I had to admit that I was indeed measuring correctly. I am a guy and all, which makes me anal about such things to begin with. But I'm also a graphic designer who was raised by a mechanical engineer. Attention to detail, was my personal mantra growing up. It wasn't me.

After a few frustrating attempts with breads, I thought that much of the problem had to do with their tendency to simply be vague about certain key things. They called for 2-3 `extra' cups of flour in their Sourdough bread to get a "soft dough", and "the juice from one lemon" in their Apple Pie filling.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Jackson on December 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got the first edition of this book from the library and rushed to buy it...only to find that WS had revised it. The addition of the Chocolate chapter won me over instantly. I have made at least five recipes from each chapter.
They work. And not only that: they work well.
For example, I made the Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and people actually asked me where they could buy one (the pie, not the book). If I hadn't already proven myself to be a *fantastic* baker, no one would have believed I had made it. Yes, it was that good.
The Brioche is unbelievable (and believe them when they say you will be Huffing and Puffing if you do it by hand).
The Chocolate Meringues melt in your mouth. As does the Chocolate Shortbread.
As if that wasn't enough, the photographs (a must in my opinion; who wants a cookbook without photos) are sublime. The only thing better than this book is the WS website (where they have tons of free recipes).
But for me, what does it is the information. How much does a cookbook tell about the recipes? ingredients? equipment? WS starts every chapter with a brief backstory, including photographs of techniques and "This Is How It Looks When You've Done It Wrong". I love the way they give you instructions for hand-mixing, mixer-mixing (hand or stand) and/or food processor (where appropriate). The recipes are in volume and weight (if this matters to you) and the ingredients are neither wildly expensive (like Barefoot Contessa) nor WS "exclusives" (like sometimes happens with King Arthur Flour).
The only book on my shelf that ranks above this one is: The Easy-To-Use Beginner's First Cook Book: The Cook's Guide to Frying, Baking, Poaching, Casseroling, Steaming and Roasting a Fabulous Range of 140 T

**I accidentally submitted the same review below as a Kid's review**
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Milda Ruffo on November 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I collect cookbooks and can never resist buying another one that sounds promising. This cookbook is a keeper. I have tried 12 of the recipes so far with perfect results and compliments from the eaters! I like a well-illustrated book with easy-to-read print and clear but not pretentiously over-explained directions. This cookbook meets all my criteria. I am very impressed. The Apple Cake with optional Maple Icing got rave reviews at a recent bake sale, and my grandchildren love it as a snack without the icing. The Vanilla Wafers are tender and delicious. The Lemon Chiffon Cake turned out looking exactly as illustrated. The recipes are all interesting but do not require one to be a professional chef to achieve professional results. Highly recommended.
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