Customer Review

49 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 of some of the best flavors, textures, taste combos, and comfort foods you can find on the market today, in 1 great book, October 28, 2012
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This review is from: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle (Hardcover)
Besides the amazing recipes in this book , I was really excited about how the authors explain every technique you need to succeed with the many mouth-watering foods. One could be a complete novice and if the techniques and directions are followed succcess is insured. There are a lot of small techniques that make a huge difference in the quality of the finished product these are a gift not often included in cookbooks to everyone from the brand new baker to the seasoned cook. Included are essintial and invalualbe baking tips as follows: about weighing ingerdients, why weighing is better than measuring, why are some ingredients required to be brought to room temperature before using , what is the best way to chop,shave,and make chocolate curls, how to toast nuts and how long and at what oven temp,for different types of nuts, the proper way to fold in ingredients, and more, and more, and more. In addition tips and techniques are included with the recipes if it is unique to making the end result the best of the best for that particuar recipe.
The best chocolates to use, including percentage of cacao solids. How to make vanilla sugar using vanilla beans. Included is what brands are favorites of this very well known baker, like what brand of flour they use and why, what sizes of pans they use, tips for extra equipment and the use of each piece of equipment, this helps the cook decide what they need and don't need for their own foods they want to make.
Some of the recipes are very involved, some are very easy, and most hit the middle road.
Included is the famous Dahlia english muffin recipe, or if you don't want to make your own english muffins there are several mouth-watering recipes for sandwich fillings that could be used on purcahsed english muffins, or any bread you love.
For someone (not me) that wants to take the time there is a Basic Brioche Dough for Doughnuts recipe with variations that are going to prove to be light, and have a sumptious texture , there are recipes included to use as toppings or fillings, like cinnamon sugar, mascarpone, and jam. Yummy. The amazing brioche dough can be used to make monkey bread ( my style, easier) and a dreamy caramel sauce to dip your warm monkey bread in.
There is a plethora of muffin, scone,buscuit, coffe cake ,quick breads and more that are not your mothers recipes, I can't wait to try some of these like the carrot muffins with brown butter and currants . Cookie recipes that look better than any cookie recipes I have ever seen - Toasted Pine Nut Amaretti!!!!! plug in the espresso machine.
Pies::: Including the amazing Dahilia Triple Coconut Cream Pie recipe and 21 more pies, rustic pies, and crisps.Pasrty tarts and apple dumplings, Tangy lemon curd,chocolate caramel pecan tart. Cake and cupcake recipes that promise the super chocolaty, perfect moisture and texture, amazing fresh fruit garnishes to add to the incredible cakes if you want to go the extra step,like brachetto cherries with fresh lime ,using fresh cherries, sugar,the brachetto sparkling red wine, fresh lime juice and zest. Wow! An entire chapter dedicated to puddings, pastry creams, and eclairs, which are unbelievably easy to make .For the eclairs ther is a maple cream filling with maple sugar glaze,a lemon curd filling ( I am making this one first!!!). A chapter for homemade ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. A chapter with a really rich, smooth, creamy tomato soup and various Grilled cheese sandwich recipes,and a recipe for grilled cheese croutons for tomato soup and basil pesto recipe to add to your favorite cheese for a mouthful of delicious. Another chapter includes jams and jellies that are of the refrigerator type so no canning involved, blueberry jam, peach-vanilla jam, and orange marmalade to name several. For the few hard to find ingredients, and there are not many, the author has included sources to purchase these items on line.
This book is a feast for the eyes, can be used by someone who has never picked up a whisk or a cookie sheet, is of great value simply for the tips that will make any skill level baker a better baker, includes very usable recipes for all kinds of food that hold the promise of making any of us look like pros, it is all here ,quality bakers recipes, intense,satisfying flavor combos.great use of fresh fruits that let the fruit shine through. It is as close as going to Dahlia cooking classess as you can get. I just cannot say enough good things about this gift of some of the best bakery food recipes out there. It is a rare thing to find a cookbook that actually delivers the best of techniques, tips, and foods to die for.You will find enough in the Dahlia book to deliver top notch foods for years to come. Comfort foods that you want to eat, the indugences that you dream of for that special day with special people or just for curling up with your favorite beverage on a day when you need some pampering just for you.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 31, 2012 12:09:20 PM PDT
Sammyjay says:
I know you mentioned weighing ingredients in your first paragraph so I just need verification that the recipes are given by weight. I would not be asking if not for the fact that I had bought a book (at about the same time I bought Joanne Chang's 'Flour")that devoted about 200 words on weighing ingredients followed with only volume measurements for the recipes.
Thanks for the review. This changes the book from a want-to-buy to a must-buy (after Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery)>

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2012 7:28:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 31, 2012 7:32:27 PM PDT
bas bleu says:
The measurements are given both ways. for instance say a recipe calls for 4 cups of water. The ingredient reads thus 4 cups(32oz/907grams) water-- another example--- 3 small to medium pears(about 7 ounces each/21 ounces/595grams), ripe but firm. All the recipes are very specific like this, making for a gem of a book! I bought a scale that does lbs, ounces and grams a couple of years ago a good one can be had for under $40.00.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 12:42:57 PM PST
Sammyjay says:
Thanks for the reply. Since I will not be buying this book until December/January, how about a review update when or if you tackle that brioche dough recipe?

Posted on Feb 25, 2013 4:30:32 PM PST
You mention "Included is the famous Dahlia english muffin recipe,..." but have you actually made the english muffins?? The recipe equates to 86% hydration. Good luck making that one! Frustrating is the countless problems with the measuring in this book such as 300 gm for 1 cup of sugar (typical is 200 gm; wow). I understand that most cookbooks have errors but I was hoping at this point the author would have issued an errata sheet somewhere on his site. I would give this book 5 stars only as a menu which you have done AS A MENU but as a cookbook, it certainly doesn't (or should I say "shouldn't") deserve the rating you gave it. Believe me I took this out of the library and want to love this book. And I have looked into justifying buying it and am still on the fence. Although an extensive review, it sounds more like a sales pitch or a review of the bakery.

My intent isn't to ridicule your review but just want to enlighten those reading it. No harm intended. The book does look so good that I may still purchase it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2013 8:03:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2013 8:16:15 PM PST
bas bleu says:
I have had no problems with the recipes I have used. I have not made the English muffins . I would definitely go by the scaled weight of the amount of ingredients listed. 1 cup on a scale is going to weigh the same every time, and then needed corrections , I would write next to the ingredient that has an errant wieght.
As with any cookbook not all recipes are perfect nor are they all something you want to make again. For me the quantity of really good recipes outweighs the not so great ones. I would not trade my copy for anything,(but will be passing it to my daughter, as my doctor has just diagnosed me with celiac disease, which means no more wheat, ever) but we all have different styles and methods and foods we enjoy. When you come across a recipe that is not working, remember the weather factors, they affect humidity, esp. with breads. Also, you sound like a seasoned cook so use that skill and knowledge to adjust the recipe to your liking.
Not to worry , I do not feel like you were ridculing my review, the book may not be perfect but it is much more near perfect than 100's of books out there which for me makes it a rare and valuable asset to my collection and cooking. And because cookbooks of this calibur don't come along every day it deserves a 5 rating. Even with flaws it is a rare delight of a book.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2013 8:13:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2013 8:14:29 PM PST
bas bleu says:
To Sammy J
Have you got the book yet? I have not made the broche , my Doc has just diagnosed me with celiac disease which means no wheat, ever. At least I got to eat some of the goodies from the book, and will be passing it along to my daughter , she is an avid cook with a big family, so at least someone will get to enjoy all those goodies.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2013 9:05:55 PM PST
Sammyjay says:
I got the book and made the sour cream coffee cake with cinnamon streusel. The recipe advised that the batter would be thick, which it was and just about turned into a play-dough consistancy after adding 'frozen' blueberries to it. The finished product was delicious, a definite keeper along with the book itself.

Sorry to hear about your celiac disease. I read somewhere that a super or special strain of wheat is grown here in the states. I wonder what the disease rates are in other wheat consuming countries. You would think it would be off the scale in Italy.

good luck....

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2013 7:09:30 AM PST
I added the last paragraph in my comment before I hit "post" after proof reading it (sounded a little rough). Thanks for your follow up. It truly is one cookbook that the majority of the recipes I would try. After taking a quick glance of the cookbooks that we own, this one does stand out as one to own. It is just frustrating when you have that kind of appreciation but think that it could have been perfect. I have spent more time evaluating this book than any other that I can remember.

I have looked at other books by Tom Douglas, the author, and none are even close to striking me like this one; none of the recipes really "grabbed us". Your original review is a good one especially after a re-read. And I too am sorry to hear about your celiac disease.
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