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How to Bake: Complete Guide to Perfect Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Tarts, Breads, Pizzas, Muffins, Sweet and Savory Hardcover – September 21, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Packed as tightly as a cup of brown sugar, this tome on home baking is sure to become a classic reference. Malgieri (Great Italian Desserts, Perfect Pastry) distills years of teaching and experience into these detailed recipes for virtually every savory or sweet yeast bread, quick bread, muffin, pastry, dough and batter. Recipes are thorough and include descriptions of how batters and doughs are supposed to appear at each stage of preparation. "If it still looks a little curdled, that's O.K.," writes Malgieri, depicting the addition of eggs to a rich, cheesy batter for Parmesan bread. "Hold each peeled peach gently in your left hand over a mixing bowl (if you are left handed, reverse)" begins his 93-word description of how to efficiently slice a peach. Such advice, along with other hints for success and some of the more methodical of recipes, may slow down the more experienced baker, but for a beginner, Malgieri's approach is like panne from heaven. Advice on stocking the baker's pantry, lists of mail-order sources for such ingredients as pearl sugar or pizza yeast and an index nicely finish off this collection of more than 400 recipes.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Author of Great Italian Desserts (LJ 12/90) and Nick Malgieri's Perfect Pastry (LJ 10/15/89), Malgieri is the director of the baking program at Peter Kump's Cooking School in New York City. In his ambitious new book, he presents a good introduction to the world of baking, covering breads, savory pastries, and sweet baked goods of all kinds. Chapters are organized as an extended cooking course, with fundamental techniques included in earlier recipes, more complicated skills in the later ones. Most of the recipes could be regarded as minilessons, and chapter introductions and headnotes provide essential information on a variety of topics. The recipes include standards as well as a decent selection of specialties from other cuisines?in short, a good sampler of baked goods from Irish Soda Bread to Petits Pains au Chocolat. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060168196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060168193
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The strength of this book is the breads section. The pizza recipes are great, and the scones and yeast breads are delectable. But I don't feel that I can always count on Mr. Malgieri's selection of recipes, and I find Maida Heatter, for example, to be much more reliable and careful in both her choice of recipes and in her instructions.
The Chocolate Chip Cookies are, hands-down, the worst I've ever made: I was skeptical when I noticed that his recipe didn't include vanilla or even a pinch of salt. The resulting cookies were lackluster --not good enough to serve to company. The Coconut Layer Cake yielded too little batter for the 9" layer cake pans that were called for, leaving me with two VERY thin layers, and the directions for the accompanying coconut buttercream frosting weren't helpful enough.
Although the Apricot Crumb Cake was outstanding, a Hazelnut Gugelhupf was just okay, the Banana Cake was ho-hum,and the Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake was dry and dull. The cheesecake recipes are very good, though.
Also, I feel that the title "How to Bake" is misleading. This is a big collection of recipes, and there are tips for success included with each, but I haven't found this a manual to learn by.
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Format: Hardcover
Nick Malgieri's book `How to Bake' is not perfect, but it is a very, very good survey of baking methods and baking recipes by one of the most widely respected and referenced baking experts in the country. That some reviewers have observed that he is a less than nice man to students and admirers in book signing lines is irrelevant. I have baked several recipes from this book and all have produced very successful products. In each case, I have also baked the same product from an alternate recipe and Malgieri's recipe has produced a superior result. To those who have not had any luck with his recipes, I would suggest they try some of the simpler recipes first.
While Malgieri is a widely recognized teacher of baking at some important culinary schools and this book's title may lead you to believe it is a textbook covering all aspects of baking, I believe it does not succeed as a textbook on several counts. The most important is that Malgieri makes several statements, which are scientifically incorrect. One was that glass conducts heat much faster than metal. This is patently false. The odd thing is, he uses this statement to give a false reason for using glass pie plates, which may still be the best choice for other reasons. Another false statement is that yeast is mixed with warm water until it dissolves. Strictly speaking, the proper word should be `incorporated' or `combined'. Microorganisms cannot dissolve in water. Again, while the statement is false, it has no effect on the efficacy of the recipe. I only point these out because Malgieri is an educator and should know better.
There is another sense in which I believe this cannot be a textbook for baking. This is the fact that I believe the coverage of bread baking is rather light.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a big baking fan, and this book has become my bible. I have tried about 2/3 of all the recipes, and all came out perfect.
First of all, this is one of the few American baking books that uses an appropriate amount of sugar for sweet cakes......most books use a ratio of 3 parts flour, 2 parts sugar, which is too sweet for me. In this book, the author uses the classical 2 parts flour, 1 part sugar.
One of the biggest successes is his recipe for the genoise. Unlike other recipes, he uses extra yolks instead of butter, which makes them super, super soft and moist. The pizza dough is to die for, a pizzeria can't make it any better.
The book has a good balance between easily understandable recipes, variations to all recipes, guides, notes and general explanations as to how to get great results. Each chapter starts with a general comment on the kind of cake/pizza/pastry that is to be baked, where the recipe originated, possible variations of the recipe, and a perfect description of the consistency and taste of the finished product.
The bread section gives a wonderful explanation about the different starters, the effect of the different risings in bread, and it has great quick breads as well as some wonderful artesian breads with a crackly-crunchy crust.
If you don't want to invest in a lot of specialized baking books, this is the ideal book: it covers everything from pizza to bread to cookies to croissants to cakes. And if you already have a great collection of cooking and baking books, this one is an absolute necessity!
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Format: Hardcover
Again, I was impressed. This book has recipes for many different kinds of baked goodies. From breads to tarts and cakes to pies, this relatively easy book almost has it all.
I must warn you, if you are going to buy this book to learn "How to Bake", then this book is really not for you. Nick Malgieri does not go into any type of specific detail about 'how to bake' in the meaning itself, but he does tell us how to bake many delicious treats.
This book is packed with recipes for assorted breads, scones, biscuits and muffins. Pizza and Focaccia, chicken and fruit pies. Many different fruit and creme tarts. Beautiful to look at and eat Cookies and Filled Cookies. He has included a wide assortment of Cakes (my family's favorite), with frosting. He even has plenty of recipes using certain types of dough, such as Pate a Choux, to make many different kinds of pastries. Some of the pastry doughs are a little time consuming, as are some of the bread recipes, but they are pretty uncomplicated, and very much worth the time and effort.
I have tried out several different kinds of breads and pastries, which of course, were all superb. Every recipe is clear in its description, and there are illustrations for many of them. There are two sections of beautiful color pictures that are pleasing to the eye as well as the pallette.
This book is a welcome addition to any cooks library. I love the variety of different recipes all packed into one book. If you want to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills, then I suggest giving this book a try.
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