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A Reliable Baking Book
on February 26, 2004
I am skeptical of most of the cookbooks that are based on PBS TV cooking shows, plus some of Julia Child's early cookbooks had many recipes that were involved and difficult for the casual home cook to do. This book, however, is a reliable resource that you can depend on for baked goods in your home oven.
The most important feature of this book is that all of the recipes are written by professional bakers (of whom there are some 2 dozen or so, some you will recognize, all are seasoned bakers from various commercial settings), and the recipes are scaled-down versions of reliable production recipes. The instructions are exemplary in their detail and completeness. All things considered, this is also an excellent learning tool for the beginner. When I need to learn something new (such as rugelach or naan), this is one of the first books I reach for.
The first chapter has an extensive section on basic techniques and words that you do not usually get in even a good baking book. It has some basic recipes that must be mastered before you go on to the recipes in the rest of the book, like genoise or meringue. It also has chapters on bread (Daily; Artisanal, Flatbreads), breakfast goods and quick breads, cakes (Everyday, Showstoppers, Wedding Cake, Cookies), and pastries (Pies, Grand, Savory). It has a good selection of all the major categories you are likely to want to do at home.