Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Baking Illustrated: A Best Recipe Classic Hardcover – March 1, 2004
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
The mysteries of cream of tartar revealed! How to make maximum use of blackening bananas! The hidden meaning of folding in dry ingredients until just blended! Perfect pie crusts for perfect fools! It's all here in Baking Illustrated, from banana bread to pecan bars, and everything imaginable in between--500-plus pages of densely packed, illustration rich, photo finished information all devoted to baking. Tools, techniques, ingredients, tips, and perfect, tested recipes.
There's cooking and there's baking, and the two should never be confused. Good cooks are ever commendable. Good bakers, on the other hand, have something about them bigger than skill or imagination, something that reaches back to the beginning of agriculture and the first inklings of civilization. Good bakers are their own mystic society. So hats off to Cook's Illustrated for throwing open the doors and sharing the mysteries with the rest of us. Baking Illustrated absolutely has it all. You'll find chapters devoted to "Quick Breads, Muffins, Biscuits, and Scones"; "Yeast Breads and Rolls"; "Pizza, Focaccia, and Flatbread"; "Pies and Tarts"; "Pastry"; "Crisps, Cobblers, and Other Fruit Desserts"; "Cakes"; and "Cookies, Brownies, and Bar Cookies". No mean undertaking, all that. Tools are tested and names are named. Techniques are stripped back then rebuilt. Cook's Illustrated carries all this off with a style and relish for inquiry and detail that sets a standard. Nothing is taken for granted because there's no fudge room with baking. It works or it doesn't. So trust is a big issue. And the end result of all the mighty labors of the Cooks Illustrated staff is text you can trust. This is a baking book that works.
And those blackening bananas? Simply keep adding them to a Ziplock bag you store in the freezer, then use them when you wish and as you like. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
With refreshing wit and patience for the home cook, the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine present their collective wisdom in an easy-to-use format. Whether readers are baking Brownies or Peanut Butter Cookies, or want to try the more advanced Crescent-Shaped Rugelach with Raisin-Walnut Filling or Fallen Chocolate Cake, or if they're in the mood for something savory, such as Soft Pretzels or Buttermilk Biscuits, they'll find everything (and possibly more) here. The criteria are stringent: a brownie "must not be so sweet as to make your teeth ache, and it must certainly have a thin, shiny, papery crust... offering a contrast with the brownie's moist center." Lengthy prologues explain the tests the editors conducted to arrive at each recipe, with humorous characterizations of what not to do (for example, readers learn to avoid the "lean, mean, whole-wheat-flour oatmeal scone"). The testers often start with professional chef recipes, tinkering as they go. Blueberry muffins get an overhaul in the "Blueberry Muffin Hall of Shame," with mug shots of the guilty muffins' characteristics (e.g., mashed, sticky surface, flat top). Even casual readers will appreciate the editors' narrative flair and baking science (e.g., quiche gets cooled on a rack to prevent condensation), and there's a refreshing absence of diet-conscious recipes here. With step-by-step illustrations on everything from how to remove bar cookies so they don't crumble to chopping nuts, and a section on ingredients that goes as far as to recommend specific brands, this is an indispensable, comprehensive baking reference.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
There are a lot of recipes here and they are all well-written. Please note, there is an error in their Basic Pie Crust recipe. It should be 1/2 cup of shortening rather than one cup. This was sent to me in an email from the America's Test Kitchen website.
The recipes -- as with all Cooks Illustrated books, the people at America's Test Kitchens have tried every variation reasonably possible to come up with baked goods that taste the best to a majority of people and don't contain any wasted steps (such as macerating apples in sugar before baking them in a pie). For instance, for their cranberry nut bread, which is one of the most delicious baked goods I've ever tried, they experimented with different sweeteners (sugar, brown sugar, orange juice, etc.), different liquids (milk, buttermilk, yoghurt) and various leveners, all to come up with a moist, not-too-sweet, flavorful treat.
The organization -- the book is organized into types of baked goods: quick breads, yeast breads, cakes, pies and tarts, cookies, etc. Each section has an index that lists the recipes in that section plus the variations on each main recipe. For example, under apple pie, there are varations for apple-cranberry, apple-bluberry, apple-ginger and so on.
The pictures -- there aren't a lot of pictures, but the ones ther e are are gorgeous and inspiring.
The illustrations -- there are myriad illustrations showing how to do such things as line a baking pan to make removal of bar cookies clean and easy, how to roll out pie dough, how to toast nuts, etc. These illustrations help make the instructions particularly easy to follow and show how to simplify complicated baking steps. Easily the best thing about this book.
The instructions -- amounts are given in both volume (cups) and weight (ounces) so that bakers with scales can use the most precise measurements but that bakers without scales can use the recipes, too. Everything is crystal clear, including decriptions for how to tell when something is done by how the dessert looks and behaves, so that you don't have to worry so much about whether your oven is exactly the same as the ones the authors used. Instructions run from purchasing items all the way through to slicing.
The tips -- plenty of useful tips on ingredients, which equipment works the best for each task (down to brand names) and which is the best value, to how to prepare, shop, store and work with different pieces of equipment and ingredients.
The summaries -- some people don't care about all the things the authors tried, but there is a summary for each recipe if you're interested, and it helps to explain why to use certain ingredients and when you can substitute, which helps one to become a better baker all around and eventually lets you personalize the recipes to suit your taste, not to mention helping you learn to create your own. This eliminates a slew of baking errors as they tell you what not to do as well as what works. But you can just as easily ignore the summaries and follow the recipes alone.
It would have been nice had they included some non-baked desserts , such as ice cream. The ice cream recipes in The New Best Recipe are fantastic, but they would make sense in a book that has so many desserts that go well with ice cream. Also, you won't find anything fancy here -- the recipes are for pretty basic items, although anything basic you want is probably in here, with the possible exception of an all-butter pie crust, which is inexplicably left out. You only get items that the authors think are the easiest and best all-around for the category. In any event, since other bakers aren't always as thorough in trying out recipes, when I want to make something fancy, I find it helpful to consult Baking Illustrated for techniques and ingredients so that I can intelligently change recipes from other cookbooks that don't quite work.
This book has a shocking number of significant typos and inconsistencies. Two examples: The recipe for basic pie dough calls for twice as much shortening as is correct. After making a gooey mess, I double-checked the recipe in The New Best Recipe and in Cooks Illustrated online, and found that Baking Illustrated indeed contains a typo -- the amount of shortening should be 1/2 cup, not 1 cup. In the recipe for Pecan Bars, the crust calls for 1/4 cup of pecans, and the filling for 2 cups, but in the instructions for the filling it says to add the remaing 1 3/4 cups. Thankfully I have a subscription to Cooks Illustrated online (a fantastic website), so I could confirm that the 1 3/4 cups was correct. (As an aside, the recipe online calls for the same ingredients as in the book, but with an entirely different technique).
In short, this is a great book other than the sloppy editing job and is highly recommended for both beginning and experienced bakers.
If you absolutely don't need the few extra recipes Baking Illustrated offers extra from The New Best Recipe (and you already have The New Best Recipe) then go for another cookbook.
Onto the cooking aspect, the explanations are a plus. The instructions are clear and I've made a couple of the recipes so far and they came out great (even with a mess up on my part)!