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Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook Hardcover – November 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 242 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook presents the doyenne of the Better Way in tip-top form. Or rather, it offers the work of a dedicated team who, under Stewart's stewardship, has devised over 200 baking recipes for both savory and sweet treats, ranging from the traditional likes of buttermilk biscuits, gingersnaps, blueberry pie, bagels, and chocolate angel food cake, to the more novel pleasures of Sausage and Feta Hand Pies, Cherry Fragipane Gallete, Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes, and even the buttery-sugary to-die-for yeasted pastry called kouign amans. Also present and accounted-for are Stewartian showpieces like Mocha-Pistachio Wedding Cake.

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

Six years after Stewart's now classic Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook reinvented canapés, here is an end-of-the-meal sequel. General baking tips start things off, most of which are beginner focused ("Read a recipe all the way through"), along with an illustrated guide to baking equipment. Along with expertise, Stewart is also selling the fantasy of wealth; she keeps a vast collection of pots, pans and implements in her own pantry. At times, readers may wish she would offer more suggestions of substitutions for these tools and gadgets (for instance, nearly all the recipes require a stand-up mixer). All the same, this work is, as promised, an essential guide. The recipes include 42 different cookies and 30 cakes, plus pies, tarts, coffee cakes, scones, biscuits, muffins, crackers, bread, fine pastries and more. They range from Classic Apple Pie to twists on standards, like a Tarte Tatin that involves cooking the apples entirely in the oven (instead of on the stovetop) and international goodies like Torta della Nonna. Instructions and sidebars are exhaustive yet accessible. Naturally, the book is exquisitely designed, with beautiful food styling and the spare, closeup photography that's become a hallmark of Stewart publications. Additionally, Stewart includes instructions for decorative crusts, coconut shavings and pastry twists that make her creations look so appealing. (On sale Nov. 1)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307236722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307236722
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.3 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`Martha Stewart's Cooking Handbook' is Martha Stewart Omnimedia's first book since Miss Martha has been out of the slammer, and it is her first big book in several years. That, combined with the fact that it's name promises to be a serious manual on baking techniques gives me high expectations for this new title.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I have baked EVERY recipe cover-to-cover in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook - sequentially, with documented photographs, with emailed commentary to Martha - and with periodic bake-through telephone & live appearances on "MARTHA" chronically my experiences with each of her recipes in this Baking Handbook.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
After spending two hours curled up by the fire last night, and flipping through each exquisite page of this book, all I can say is that I'm clearing my calendar for the next six months of weekends so I can make each and every thing is this delightful book. Martha's -- and her staff's, for that matter -- attention to detail is unfailing and results in perfect finished products. The pages are sumptuous in the hands, the pictures are enticing and so realistic you can almost smell the baked goods and feel their fresh-from-the-oven warmth. I've tried a few of the recipes and can testify to their elegance: often times simple, always impressive, and absolutely delectable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Knowing how great Martha's recipes are I purchased this book only after seeing its cover on amazon.com. It's not about what it was about but because I knew I can depend on her for precise, great and imaginative yet edible ideas.

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.
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