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The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book Hardcover – October 1, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 199 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

This book has been tested, written, and edited by the test cooks, editors, food scientists, tasters, and cookware specialists at America’s Test Kitchen, a 2,500-square-foot kitchen located just outside Boston. It is the home of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and Cook’s Country magazine, the public television cooking shows America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen Radio, and the online America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 518 pages
  • Publisher: Cook's Illustrated (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936493586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936493586
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.4 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book is a 518 page tome that compiles 450 recipes of delicious baked goods that most cooks can pull off in a home kitchen. It is divided as follows: baking basics; quick breads, muffins, and scones; sweet rolls, doughnuts, and coffee cakes; griddle cakes, waffles, and granola; yeasted rolls and loaves; pizza and focaccia; cookies; brownies and bars; snack cakes and fruit cakes; chiffon cakes, angel food cakes, pound cakes, and bundt cakes; layer cakes; fruit desserts and crepes; pies and tarts; savory tarts and quiches; pastry; baked custards, puddings, and soufflés; shopping guide; conversion notes; and index. As you can see, the editors at Cook's Illustrated were serious about giving the reader an encyclopedic array of baked goods to choose from and just in time for the fall and holiday baking frenzy.

The book is well bound. It is obviously heavy--you'll be using both hands and probably your lap if you carry this to bed for a little late night studying. It also stays open well on its own if you cook without a cookbook stand. The recipes are written in the well-known Cook's Illustrated style which includes a handy few paragraphs preceding each recipe on what makes the recipe work so well for the home cook whether that be using room temperature butter or whipping egg whites in a copper bowl. It's the basic science of the recipe that is covered in these introductions without getting too technical if that turns off the home cook. Many of the recipes also have some cooking techniques illustrated in the simple but easy to understand black and white line drawings that many readers are accustomed to seeing in the magazine. The index seems to be well cross-referenced and easy to use.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
ATK has an interesting history with second editions; they often retitle them so it gets a little confusing sometimes whether the new one is a supplement or replacement for the old one. This is an extreme case; this book is a ground-up rewrite of Baking Illustrated, which is still in print. Since the original is a remarkably awesome book as both a tutorial and baking reference, it's worth examining this book in that context.

What's remarkable about it is how much has changed about what's fashionable in cooking trends in only nine years. The old book came before Jim Lahey's bread, something that radically changed home bread baking; accordingly, ATK's almost no-knead bread appears here. Their vodka-mediated pie dough appears here as well as their laminated blueberry scones. In other words, this book basically includes all the best work that they've done since the original book came out. It's a beautiful book, too; although the black-and-white photographs might be a bit off-putting to some people, there's plenty of how-to diagrams, sidebars, and callouts to get information across effectively.

But... there's that four-star rating, you ask. Well... first off, Baking Illustrated contained a lot of information on how the recipes were developed, as you would expect from a Best Recipe book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book, the latest from Cook's Illustrated, arrived on my doorstep I found myself in a bit of a quandary. First, I was flabbergasted that the book had been entirely printed in black and white, even the photographs. Black and white photography does have a place and can be extremely artistic, but these photos are not art photos. The most recently published cookbook I've seen with this type of photography is from 1953. (The other 100% black and white cookbook my collection contains is from 1932.) It left me wondering what on earth the designer had in mind other than saving pennies on printing costs, but never mind. This is a cookbook after all, and cookbooks are all about the recipes! So, I started going over the recipes . . .

I was surprised that I didn't find anything new or unusual in the way of recipes in the pages of The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book. These are the sort of recipes that have appeared in every baking book published in the US for the last 50 years or more - Blueberry Muffins, Oatmeal Cookies, Chocolate Sheet Cake, Cherry Pie - and there are some prominent omissions. There is, for example, no section at all on holiday baking. No recipe for Pavlova, which has become a classic here in the US. No recipe for the beautifully colored and filled French-style Macarons that have become so popular, a recipe everyone is dying to learn.

Reading a recipe from Cook's or America's Test Kitchen can be a bit of a chore.
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