- Ring-bound: 552 pages
- Publisher: America's Test Kitchen; Lslf edition (September 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1933615222
- ISBN-13: 978-1933615226
- Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 9.6 x 2.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book Ring-bound – October 15, 2013
100 Books for a Lifetime of Eating & Drinking
If you want to make an authentic tagine, bake mouth-watering cakes, or vicariously experience the life of a chef, you’ll find the book for it on this list.
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From Publishers Weekly
Expert bakers and novices scared of baking's requisite exactitude can all learn something from this hefty, all-purpose home baking volume. The editors of America's Test Kitchen, known for their painstaking recipe testing, offer more than 700 recipes, helpfully illustrated by 1,000-plus color photos. The recipes themselves are indeed family appropriate—no architectural restaurant-style desserts here, but rather appealing basics in a wide variety of categories, including breads, pizzas, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, custards and toppings. Easier items, such as Simple Drop Biscuits, Peanut Butter Blondies, and Red Velvet Layer Cake are labeled great for beginners; potentially intimidating confections, such as Croissants, Grand Marnier Soufflé and even a Classic Three-Tier Wedding Cake have step-by-step instructions that make them accessible. While the tone of the book is decidedly technical, the vibe isn't cold. And the info-packed introduction, with details on ingredients and equipment (the editors get specific and suggest their tried and true favorite brands) is worth reading carefully. (Sept.)
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Top Customer Reviews
It has great photos to walk you through difficult recipes (like buttercream frosting), and lots of tip boxes to steer you away from common mistakes (with suggestions on how to fix them). It has almost everything you need to get started baking.
I only gave it 4 stars because I ran into one recipe that was flat wrong--the recipe for french macarons. It didn't work for me at all--I basically ended up making regular old cookies with frosting between them. I ended up using an online recipe instead and that came out much better.
Everything else I've made out of this book was fantastic, and they taught me why my cakes always came out wrong before! ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS are key! Love this book, would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn to bake. The front and back indices are super helpful for conversions, too.
This book is a very well-rounded, staple baking book that I can see myself using for years. But what makes it stand out from all the other cookbooks and baking books that sit on my shelf, gathering dust?
I no longer feel intimidated to try my hand at baking something from scratch. This book is very good at explaining, in simple terms, the "science" of baking. I am always amazed at why two people can follow the same recipe and have such strikingly different results.
The Test Kitchen baking book claims to "make the mistakes, so you don't have to." It has a great introductory section which explains the importance of: preheating your oven, using the right measuring methods, choosing quality ingredients, using the right equipment, watching your baked goods instead of relying solely on a timer, etc. It also explains the differences between the variety of flours, and why they make a difference in your recipes - as well as many other ingredients. It also goes through a variety of other pantry staples to have on hand, as well as baking pans and other equipment... recommending their favorite brands.
I didn't realize so many things can affect your recipe, like using the wrong temperature of butter. The last time I made cookies with my Mom, she "freaked out" when I added dry ingredients before properly creaming the butter and sugar. I thought she was crazy, but now I understand why proper creaming is important for cookie texture. There are even pictures to show me the under creamed, over creamed, and "just right" level.
It explains basic cooking techniques and shows photos of the process, such as whipping egg whites or melting chocolate.
So, not only does the book equip you with a great set of recipes that have been tested in their home kitchen for ease of use, it also gives you the basics you need when following the recipe, to make sure it turns out well. I think this is what takes it beyond a book that "sits on the shelf" to one I'm ready to dig in and start using. Also, the recipes themselves are great - things Mom and Grandma used to make, not too fancy, but not too basic either. The book isn't dedicated to dessert - there is also a section of pizzas, calzones, breads and breakfast items such as scones and muffins.
I've made many recipes from the America's Test Kitchen Family cookbook, which is laid out just like the Family baking book. Not only is there a photo of most recipes, often there are photographs of the various steps involved. This is so helpful for a new baker in discovering the way things are supposed to look and get a visual picture of some more complicated steps. I think even an old baker can learn a trick or two.
I highly recommend this book for college students, wedding presents, or housewarming gift - or to anyone who aspires to be a better baker. The recipes that are good for beginners are even marked so, giving those "intimidated bakers" in your life a great starting point. There are so many tasty items in here that I can't wait to get baking! So in that respect this book has already done its job.
Thanks, America's Test Kitchen, for inspiring us willing but intimidated chefs and bakers into action!