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I'm Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking Hardcover – October 1, 2004
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Baking is a precise science that needs to be followed to the letter if you want success. It is highly recommended to read the introduction and "The Parts Department" section before attempting any of the recipes in this book. The essence of Alton Brown's book is not to simply follow recipes, but to get a deep understanding of what is going on during the baking process. The introduction goes over the layout of the book and how it should be used (the ingenious "method flaps" for instance), the low down on how to read recipes, the importance of measuring by weight vs. volume, and baking's five core steps. The "Parts" section explains just that: ingredients. What is the chemical make up of proteins, carbs, and fats? Why is their interrelationship so important to success? How well do you know flour, eggs, sugar, and baking soda? Once you have the basics down and your parts measured it's time to get mixing. The rest of the book is smartly broken up by the six major mixing methods (Muffin, Biscuit, Creaming, Straight Dough, Egg Foam, and Custards). Each technique is explored in detail with recipes to follow. You won't find any ultra fancy recipes in Baking. The focus here is on the basics and getting the basics down right. Rediscover some old favorites like chocolate cookies and muffins, buttermilk pancakes, biscuits, shortcake, multigrain loaf bread, and good old fashioned cheesecake. There is no denying it, follow Alton's advice and you will be a better baker. Guaranteed. --Rob Bracco
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Just as the master recipe technique is not new, the proper classification of baking techniques is also not entirely new. Good writers on baking have been grouping quick breads with pastry crusts and cheesecake with custard pies for a generation. What Alton has done is similar to Mendeleev's achievement in building the periodic table of the elements. Before Mendeleev, chemists were all very familiar with families of elements corresponding to horizontal and vertical clusters in the full table. It was obvious that fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine had a lot in common. Mendeleev gave us the organization that brought out all those similarities. This was a stepping stone to the early atomic theories which identified electron rings that went on to explain periodic table behavior. This explanation of why different mixing methods give different end products is at the heart of Brown's contribution to the literature on baking.Read more ›
I say this with all honesty...both of Alton Brown's cookbooks are MUST haves for any aspiring chef. They are superb teaching tools. They are a great gift for someone who wants to learn how to cook.
Highly, highly recommended!!!!!
The editorial errors are endless and frustrating. The recipe fixes were available online on Alton's site, but the last time I checked his new site, they hadn't shown up. The page with the changes was still available, but was not linked to his new home page. You can find them online with a quick search--one of the easiest ways is to input the mysterious "tk" found in the brownie recipe with other good key words. There are some inconsistencies where he seems to contradict himself from section to section of the book, and some vagaries in a few of the recipes can be frustrating if you don't have a lot of experience in the kitchen.
That being said, I wouldn't go without this book. I've always been great at improvising with food, because I go off of taste and adjust and play--not so with baking, because all the leavenings and ratios can seem like a mysterious formula. I'm not making up new baking recipes, but with the great science and explanations that Alton gives, I can now take a baking recipe and adjust it to how I like it without throwing it off so it no longer works. The whys and the hows and the science still can't be beat--that's all classic Alton. I love the cracker recipes and my son calls Alton's pancakes from this book his favorite pancakes of all time. I changed the 'base' of the chicken dumpling recipe, because we prefer a thicker--more gravy-- base than broth, but the dumplings themselves were heavenly. We were so content after the meal that we were seriously contemplating if world peace could be achieved if everyone sat down together and had a dish--
Don't buy this book for the recipes, but definitely enjoy the recipes within. The techniques learned will make all of your other baking endeavors so much better.
What I got from the book was a greater understanding of which methods were appropriate for which type of baking product. I've found this useful when following recipes from other cookbooks. Both of AB's books have helped me to cook more flexibly, sometimes winging it, because I know what the ingredient or process is meant to do and can make appropriate substitutions.
If you give this book as a gift, make sure to mention that corrections are available on AB's website.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The explanations about why bakers and cooks don't always get the same results from identical recipes was an eye opener.Published 1 month ago by terryoniel
Alton Brown... you just can't go wrong with his cook book. He doesn't soak everything in butter and sugar, but uses science for the best ingredients and methods.Published 5 months ago by Bunches McGuinty
Not certain how much useful perspective I can offer to other potential readers.
I freely admit to a strong bias in favour of anything by Alton Brown's as his approach to... Read more