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How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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"Bittman’s latest tome cements his position as encyclopedist of modern cooking. Here he focuses on the process of baking, presenting more than 2,000 recipes. It surprises no one that he inventories cakes, cookies, pies, breads, and all manner of pastries, but Bittman delves deep into less expected crackers and their cousins, flatbreads. He also gives instructions for fillings and frostings to top those baked items. Other nonbaked recipes embrace frozen desserts, sauces, and even some candies. Bittman’s gift is the ability to share myriad intelligent approaches to basic recipes, making one formula yield multiple results and encouraging readers to use their own imaginations. Tables and sidebars throughout offer equipment and technique tips. He even shows how to reformat standard recipes into vegan-friendly alternatives. In his quest to leave no baking question unanswered, Bittman advises how to repurpose burned cookies to ensure that even disaster can be salvaged. This compendium is the next best thing to having the master himself in the kitchen, and should be a staple for all public library collections."—Booklist (starred review)
"Prolific author and food writer Bittman (How to Cook Everything) brings the joy of baking to life in this comprehensive collection of 2,000 recipes demystifying the baking process. He explains its fundamentals, simple techniques, and foundation recipes that serve as springboards for “a number of easy twists” on from-the-oven homemade treats. Bittman is big on improvisational embellishments, adaptability, and recipe flexibility for every diet, and he creates useful “mix-and-match” charts for substitute ingredients, innovative variations, and add-ins. Sidebars contain advice on topics such as the advantages of milling nut flours at home and the importance of cooking with kids. There’s the lowdown on gluten, 18 flour types, sweeteners, fats and oils, dairy options, and types of chocolate. Flowcharts, lexicons defining baking terminology, and recommendations for tools and core items to stock in a baker’s pantry are also included. The marvels of eggs and every genre of pastry dough, especially puff pastry, are celebrated. This tour through the world of baking doesn’t skimp; it has 15 pages on pancakes alone, charts showing ways to dress up cookies, and 10 varieties of fritters. A section on savory baking features cabbage strudel and corn-filled chicken chile cobbler. There’s nothing half-baked about this impressive omnibus as Bittman delivers the promised “everything” in an epic homage to baking."—Publishers Weekly
"Since How To Cook Everything (1998) and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian (2007) are two of my cookbook staples, I was excited to receive How To Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking (Houghton Harcourt. Oct.), the latest release from food journalist and former New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. From bakeware basics to getting started with brownies, pies, or breads, this work will provide bakers at all levels with something new. My husband has already tried a pound cake recipe, plus some frostings to go along with it. Naturally, I plan to experiment with more recipes while watching PBS’s The Great British Baking Show."—Library Journal
“Wow! Once again, Bittman shows that he’s unafraid of the big. He manages to take on ‘everything’ to do with baking without losing track of how simple, fun, and delicious it should be.”—Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Jerusalem, Plenty, and Nopi
“He’s taught us how to cook everything before, and now it’s time to bake. Leaving no question unanswered, here Mark Bittman has mastered all things baking, ensuring that everyone from novices to guys like me can whip, fold, and maybe even knead bakery-worthy breads and pastries from their home ovens.”—Jim Lahey, founder/owner of Sullivan Street Bakery and author of My Bread
“How to Bake Everything is more than a recipe book, it is a constant companion to help navigate the complex vocabulary and techniques of the mysterious and joyous world of baking. Bittman dispels all of my previously perplexing baking phobias so that I can now truly create delicious and satisfying pies, loaves, and slumps with confidence for the first time in my long chef’s life. You NEED this book! It will replace all baking cookbooks in my library and its pages are destined for the same stained and dogeared finish as How to Cook Everything!”—Mario Batali, chef, entrepreneur, and philanthropist
“The genius of Mark Bittman’s approach is his eminent practicality and consistent ability to elucidate and unravel the hows and whys of good cooking. How to Bake Everything is a grand addition to any cook’s repertoire—in simplicity one finds greatness.”—Christopher Kimball, founder of Milk Street Kitchen
"Like all of Bittman’s books, this is incredibly comprehensive — with over 2,000 recipes — and it makes for a perfect starter book for new bakers."—Grub Street
"The prolific Mark Bittman is back with How to Bake Everything. This time, he's taking on the cooking domain often viewed as too rigid and precise for the casual cook and Bittman-ized it, showing us what is negotiable and what isn't, focusing on simple core recipes with lots of variations, along with charts, lists, and illustrations. His aim is to turn us all into confident, creative bakers who can improvise, adapted, and customize, whether baking a tart, a cake, cookies, flat-bread, a crusty baguette or a flaky croissant." — Sybil Pratt, BookPage
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Top customer reviews
I'm not sold on this book yet and wish reviews would be updated by people after they've actually baked from it. Yes it is full of information and there's lots of good sounding recipes, but information and good sounding don't necessarily equate with good results. Baking is much more science than art so the information needs to be spot on. Unlike cooking where questionable results in many cases can be tweaked to be edible or even better than the recipe, this is not always the case with baking. So here's my take so far.
I made the banana bread and like the prior reviewer whose post is no longer viewable, it was dense. Since we both had the same result, I'll keep the current recipe which is loved by all. I made the Overnight Waffles for use in a Belgian waffle maker. The description reads light and chewy. They were definitely chewy. To contrast, I made the King Arthur waffles the next morning and this was undoubtedly the winner.
The first shot at the no knead bread was a gloppy mess, which led to me overworking the dough and eventually throwing it out. Cut to the NYTimes video of Mark and Jim Leahy and voila, my bread came out perfectly using the NYT recipe, which is different than the book. Made the HTBE version again and it was same result as the first time which is runnier and goopier than the NYT version. I baked it and it was fine. Didn't look as nice as the NYT version and not as easy to work with, but texture and flavor were nice. Waited a couple of days and I made it again.
Im going to stick to the NYT version. The ratio of measured ingredients is not the same between the two recipes, which speaks to using weight as the reference in a recipe. Also, short of reading about working with sticky dough six pages earlier, a person not familiar with bread baking would be confused by the optional 2 tbsp of olive oil. There should at least be a mention next to the word optional about greasing the bowl with it.
The recipe for the sourdough starter was a bomb. I now have the KA one finishing up in the kitchen and I will stick to it.
I'm ready to bake from The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie book and will do a comparison between their crust which is not made with a food processor and Mark's which is. I hope more reviewers actually review after trying some of the recipes and not just based on appearances. Certainly I've not made enough to give a full review on all recipes, but felt it important the book not come off as the solution to every homemakers desire to nail baking first time around without anyone commenting on results.
This was the Bittman weekend at my house. Here are the recipes I've tried, with my thoughts on the final items.
Banana Bread. Easy recipe, no problems. I gave the bread 4.5/5. It was a bit too sweet for my taste (maybe the bananas were extra sugary?), but I am biased. I've used an awesome recipe for years that contains sour cream, and Bittman's recipe doesn't. His was a bit firmer than mine, but then again, that's a matter of preference.
Pumpkin pie. That's 2 recipes, the flaky crust (good -- though I might've gotten carried away and over processed it a bit, but it held up fine). The pie could have used more spices, but the texture and mouth-feel were excellent. Definitely beats store bought!
Popovers. I got six giant ones baked in a large size popover pan (recipe for 12 small). Excellent!
And then for the holy grail. Brownies. I've spent my life searching for the perfect one...This might be it. He uses cocoa, not chocolate, but I did add the bonus chocolate chunks, one of the optional tweaks he recommended. Soft, fudgy, chocolatey, gooey.... next attempt will be with Valrohna instead of Hershey's, and I'll know for sure if I the search is over!
I agree with the reviewers who commented on the lack of measurements in weights. I was miffed when a recipe read to use a "stick" of butter, and I had Plugra brand, that's 8 oz, while the usual stick in the US is 4oz, one of four in the package. I played safe and used 4oz of it, and the recipe worked. I suspect the lack of weight measurements may be a carry-over from his cooking books, but baking needs to be more exact, and the oversight is almost inexcusable. So, I'm with the other reviewers on that, and am knocking off a star.
However, I'm discovering that I prefer the format and style of this book more so than my previous go-to all-purpose baking tome, the King Arthur Flour Bakers Companion, which has been relegated to the Goodwill pile. It's easier for me to riff off a "master" recipe than to pore through ten similar recipes (e.g. Muffins with variations vs. pages of different muffins that are all essentially the same basic recipe). This may be preferable to those of us who are somewhat experienced bakers, might be harder for brand new ones. For this, though, I'm giving 3/4 of a star back.
Final verdict: 4.75 stars.
I have a few more recipes planned for this week. If there is a significant change to my rating, I will update the review.
One last disclaimer: I paid for this book, wasn't given any freebies, and I don't know Mr Bittman!
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