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Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook Hardcover – November 1, 2005
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The greatest virtue of the book, apart from the clarity of its recipes, lies in its organization: the chapters, which cover all baking stops, begin with relevant tips, followed by notes on equipment and techniques, all photo-illustrated. These set-ups supply context that maximizes the possibility of pleasurable, goof-free baking. Photo-illustrated how-to's in the formulas further the cause. A quibble is the absence in many of the recipe headnotes of descriptive material about the baked good they introduce--it's important to provide info on techniques and ingredients, as the headnotes do, but baking recipes in particular cry out for descriptions of what, for example, sfogliatelle (an Italian pastry), or lime-glazed cookies are. This said, the book is immensely appealing and will excite as well as instruct a wide range of bakers, from the would-be to the accomplished. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
I am really happy to say the book meets or even exceeds my expectations on almost all points. Like the famous `Boy Scout Handbook' which is exclusively a `how to' book on all the basics, this volume covers virtually all the essential baking techniques, without going into any long explanations on why these are the best techniques. Thus, unlike Sherry Yard's excellent `The Secrets of Baking' or Shirley Corriher's `Cookwise' or Alton Brown's `I'm Just Here for More Food', this book spends no time dwelling on how biscuit baking is very similar to pie crust baking or that cheesecake is not really cake, but a custard pie. Instead, Martha and her very large and expert staff of magazine and book writers, editors, and photographers have assembled and excellent tutorial on most of the basic baking skills.
There is another way in which this book is different from most conventional books on baking. It is in the tone I first detected in Martha Stewart's flagship classic, `Entertaining' where she takes the stance of an amateur with good taste and good learning skills, rather than the role of a professional who is showing us amateurs how it's done. This is not to say that we amateurs can't learn a lot from all the baking professionals out there like Peter Reinhart, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Nick Malgieri, and Gayle Ortiz. It's just that Miss Martha sees things from our side of the kitchen counter. This may not explain all the good qualities of this book, but it helps.Read more ›
The following is my "Culinary Commentary" on this book:
The Positives [Many]
* Just as any aspiring cook should start by cooking their way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" Volumes 1 and 2, in my opinion any aspiring baker should start by baking their way through Martha's "Baking Handbook"
o For the aspiring baker Martha's Baking Handbook provides grounding, understanding, confidence and inspiration to find & fuel one's baking passion - & then enabling that aspiring baker to spring forward to more advanced creations.
o Baking through the book cover-to-cover forces one to learn all the basics of baking because the cover-to-cover baking commitment forces you to bake what you might otherwise never choose to try [& hence learn from].
o Baking every recipe requires that one gradually acquire all the "essential" baking equipment - from a heavy duty mixer to baking pans to pastry piping tools.
* What you see is what you [sequentially learn to] bake!
o Each recipe is accompanied by a color photograph of the finished product - & indeed, if you follow the recipe you will create a "picture perfect" rendition of the recipe.
o Each chapter builds on development of culinary skills [e.g.Read more ›
Upon opening this bible like manual for the precise art of baking, one notices how easy and creative the teaching approach of the book is. It's not a hard to comprehend manual with little words, yet it's not a dummy book that teaches you like a child .
I love how creative her ideas are, the cakes, cookies, tarts, popovers, pizzas, breads and pies.
The pages look like something out of a food version of a Vogue magazine. Each recipe has a gorgeous picture. I cannot stop panting and gushing about how great this book looks. It will defiantly get in you in the kitchen baking every weekend but it will excite you about this art. This book is a great fool proof guide and after baking a pumpkin pie last night from it, and having it turned out million items than my favorite recipe I am a believer. This book covers sweet and savory beaks, but mostly on sweets and breads.
This is a baking manual that is understandable yet gorgeous. Great quality and informative publishing from Stewart. Great job, I AM impressed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Kindle version of the book is very disappointing. A book on baking needs to be beautiful and the Kindle version definitely misses the mark. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Okkio
No doughnut cooking instructions so was thinking four stars but its Martha.Published 2 months ago by Colonialman