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Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking Kindle Edition
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Professional cooks and bakers guard ratios passionately so it wouldn't surprise me a bit if Michael Ruhlman is forced into hiding like a modern-day Prometheus, who in handing us mortals a power better suited to the gods, has changed the balance of kitchen power forever.
I for one am grateful. I suspect you will be too." -- Alton Brown, author of I'm Just Here for the Food
- File Size : 1351 KB
- Publication Date : March 5, 2009
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 272 pages
- Publisher : Scribner; Reprint edition (March 5, 2009)
- ASIN : B001UP63MI
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #180,055 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I love this book! It's written clearly with a just-right amount of information. I also really love experimenting with food and making this up so this book gives me a starting point from which I can run wild.
Some may think it's sparse (he doesn't explain much beyond the basic ratio) but Ruhlman emphasizes the reader's ability to experiment and play with the ratios to make your own creations. I made biscuits using his ratio the other day and they turned out great!! Next time, I'm going to change the liquid I used and add some flavorings. I eventually want to see how the biscuit/muffin ratio can transform into a scone (i'll need to do research for that!) I want to make creme anglaise and pound cake next. I've read sections several times over to the point that I'm looking out for ratios in cookbooks. Yesterday I began compiling Genoise Sponge recipes to find the ratio.
UPDATE: I feel like I have superpowers. I have made muffins on the fly before a trip. Today, I had leftover egg yolks I didnt want to waste and turned them into crepes. Delicious and bright yellow! You will become a superchef with this book
Physical Quality: barely 3-star.
Buy a more durable edition. The paper is thin, easily stained and soaks up even the tiniest amount of moisture. If you actually use this book in the kitchen while you're cooking, you will quickly ruin it with splatters, stains and other unavoidable kitchen messes. The paperback edition simply won't survive for long in the kitchen.
Edited to add content note: be aware that this clearly isn't intended to be what most people think of as a "cookbook." If you're looking for a standard cookbook with detailed recipes, this probably isn't your best choice. Yes it does have recipes, but overall it's intended more as a reference manual for how to build your own recipes. It gives you the framework for a variety of foods, then you modify and build what you want on top of that.
Edited 19 October 2015: Since I've read Ratios cover-to-cover several times now, I found it useful to create a chart of the ratios along with their basic techniques, encase it in clear contact paper, and post it on my fridge. Now, I don't read my extensive collection of cookbooks for recipes, but for ideas and flavor combinations to use with those ratios.
For example, a cook will get some decent bread by using the 5:3 ratio in the book and a standard breadmaking technique. However, if she reduces the water, the bread will be better for bagels and pretzels. If she increases the water, it will tend toward a ciabatta or pugliese. Changing the salt and yeast will affect the rise time and flavor. That's how knowing a ratio becomes useful. The cook knows altering it little in one direction will change the results in a predictable way. Some of this information was haphazardly indicated in the chapter introductions, but it would have been much more effective if it were thoroughly explained and organized in the context of the recipe ratio.
To me, this was the information missing that would have made this book an invaluable resource. It's not just knowing the ratios - it's knowing how to tweak them to get the results I want in each particular instance. I think any mid-level cook knows that adding a few herbs and spices to their homemade biscuits won't break the recipe. But if she wants to be able to tweak her basic biscuit recipe so that just a little more moist and tender to go with fried chicken, or a little more sturdy to stand up to a lot of sausage gravy, this book doesn't offer anything. Many problems with recipes can be solved by altering the ratio slightly: cookies spreading too much, cakes collapsing, biscuits not rising, bread too dense, pie dough overbrowning, etc. (Of course, these problems can also sometimes be solved by technique, but because technique is not the theme of the book, I'm not going to fault Mr. Ruhlman for hardly mentioning it.) If the book explained how slightly altering the standard ratio affects the result, not only could I have improvised the perfect biscuit for each situation, but I could have better used the book to fix unsatisfactory (but promising) recipes.
Since the entire book could probably be summed up in a chart (with baking times and temperatures when required), I think the price is way out of line with its value. Since most passionate home cooks probably already have a decent set of recipes that duplicate what the book offers, I can't say it's even worth the recipes. Two stars for a good idea.
Top reviews from other countries
It is frustrating that Ruhlman mixes up weight ratios with volumes within some of the recipes, but if you accept that it is just another way to make your improvisation easier, it helps. The kindle version obviously misses out on the colour pictures, but it is nevertheless more of a text book than a recipe book.
Ruhlman writes in my language; this will be a go-to for many years to come.