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Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America Hardcover – September 27, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"…a reassuringly substantial volume, carefully informative, with glossy color photos giving step-by-step guidance.." (Associated Press, December 10, 2004)

This gorgeous cookbook makes delicious perfection look doable. Replete with artful color photos of flawless custards, silky glazes and deftly done tortes, it also includes expert tips and techniques. (USA Today, November 25, 2004)

About the Author

Founded in 1946, THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA is an independent, not-for-profit college offering bachelor's and associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts, Latin cuisines, and wine and beverage studies. A network of more than 45,000 alumni has helped the CIA earn its reputation as the world's premier culinary college. The CIA, which also offers courses for professionals and food enthusiasts, as well as consulting services for the foodservice and hospitality industry, has campuses in Hyde Park, New York; St. Helena, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Singapore.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (August 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471450952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471450955
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 1.2 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jason Rabin on August 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was one of those books that actually angered me. In the introduction, they go out of their way to explain to you why mass measurements are superior to volume measurements, but then go ahead and supply volume only measurements for all of their recipes. This is unacceptable. It's one thing to find "American" style measurements in a casual chocolate chip cookie book, but for a large expensive baking book supposedly written by professionals, it behooves them to include mass measurements for serious home bakers.

But the real reason I disliked this book was that the recipes I tried simply did not work as advertised. The challah recipe was not a standard recipe; it seemed extremely large for a single loaf, the mixing technique was not like what I had encountered in amateur and professional books before, but I perservered and followed the directions fastidiously. The loaf was edible, but otherwise a failure. The fact that there is no explanation for this, and no anticipation of the problems I encountered is unacceptable. I have made dozens of challah recipes and I never had a problem before. Usually, when something goes wrong, I blame myself. I can tell when I have made a mistake and I take responsibility for my failures. This was one of those times where I blamed the recipe. This was just an odd ball recipe.

Similarly, the mudslide cookies did not work as the recipe stated they would. How hard is it to make a simple cookie recipe function properly? In the end, I managed to salvage these cookies through ingenuity and improvisation, but that's no excuse; careful faithfulness to the recipe should yield perfect results. Again, no explanation or attempt to anticipate such problems.

That was the last time I wasted my time with this book. Do yourself a favor and instead of buying this expensive paper weight, get yourself one of Pierre Herme's books, or Bo Friberg's Professional Pastry chef.
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Format: Hardcover
The how-to information provided is really basic and assumes the reader is new to baking. Nothing here for the intermediate or advanced baker wanting to learn something or to be challenged, just a collection of recipes. Unfortunate for the beginner, there are errors in the recipes that the beginner wouldn't recognize. For example, the Banana Nut Bread on p. 82 should say 1-1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda. (Instead it lists 1/2 tsp baking powder.) Silly me, I second guessed my instinct and followed the recipe as written. I really should have searched the 'net for errata BEFORE I made the banana bread. Another criticism of the book is, as others have noted, the use of volume measurements rather than weights. ("Three medium bananas" isn't quite specific enough for my liking.) There really are other, better books to teach baking skills. I'd recommend instead Labensky's On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals, or for a more in depth approach, Figoni's How Baking Works.
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By pp on January 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have been baking for few years now and even though my cakes turn really well, I was not aware of all those small tips that make baking more convenient and efficient. Tempering eggs, making custard( finally with pictures!!) or even kneading yeast dough to make it strong and elastic - all you can find it here.
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By Chef Kim on December 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just got this, great information, recipes and a nice size book. I took off a star because it only tells you about puff pastry but it does not instruct on how to make it, so there are no FRENCH pastry recipes aside from the pate Choux , pate sucree dough, and some sauces, so it's for the home baker, but not limited to. The info is very detailed and easy to understand, I can use this in my training.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I happened to see a video on Mahalo.com about making your own Rugelach. Not sure of the spelling. Anyhow, I found out they had the recipe in this book plus tons of other fantastic ones. If you love to bake you must get this book. Well written and very easy to follow the recipes in this book. I love this book!!!
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Format: Hardcover
I too have had a little difficulty with some of the recipes, but nothing major. My bread was done about 10 minutes before the baking time given, but was able to rescue it since I was watching. I love how thorough the introductions and what not are. I had no idea about the development of gluten and how essential it is to a good bread. I'm still working my way through this book but would recommend it to anyone who enjoys baking.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first started to learn how to bake, this book proved to be invaluable. It covers a lot of the techniques and basic recipes. I really appreciate the variety of different baked goods to provide the home baker with an arsenal of crowd pleasers.

I do have to offer a warning, though. No book can truly substitute a hands on learning course. As much as book can describe what the right stage is for mixing dough for choux for cream puffs, it does not compare to someone who is experienced standing beside you and telling you what you are doing wrong. I maximized the use out of this book because I enrolled in a fundamental baking class. It also helped me to hone many of the recipes.

The success of the recipes partly lies in the quality of ingredients the baker selects. I recommend that if you don't go cheap, then most of the recipes should turn out fine. Another challenge that I discovered in baking is that my oven sucks - and this plays a large large role in the success of some of the recipes. I had to adapt many of them to accommodate the deficiencies of my oven.

Addressing some of the criticisms of the volume vs weight, there is a reason for this, though not great. The original series of books by CIA, such as The Professional Chef, deal with training exactly that, professional chefs. Therefore the recipes are for 10 or more servings and all are given in weight. This book is more like an excerpt and development from their other book. The problem is that this approach is not "friendly" to many home cooks/bakers as they are accustomed to dealing in volume (or mired in tradition). I figure it was a bit of a compromise in order to sell more books that were appealing to general public.
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