Baking Illustrated

( 16 )

Overview

Have You Ever Devoted a Sunday Afternoon to baking bread only to turn out loaves that are misshapen and dense? Or struggled over piecrust, ending up with a dry and crumbly dough that was impossible to roll out? We have. And that's why we've tested and retested hundreds of recipes to give you the guidance and the confidence to make everything from the perfect zucchini bread -- one that your neighbors will actually want to eat -- to light and flaky croissants that are (almost) as good as what you will find on the ...
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Overview

Have You Ever Devoted a Sunday Afternoon to baking bread only to turn out loaves that are misshapen and dense? Or struggled over piecrust, ending up with a dry and crumbly dough that was impossible to roll out? We have. And that's why we've tested and retested hundreds of recipes to give you the guidance and the confidence to make everything from the perfect zucchini bread -- one that your neighbors will actually want to eat -- to light and flaky croissants that are (almost) as good as what you will find on the streets of Paris. Packed with 350 recipes and 500 illustrations, Baking Illustrated brings you inside America's Test Kitchen, where the test cooks and editors have exhaustively examined every ingredient, technique, and piece of equipment that is critical to your baking success. Have you wondered how long you can keep that can of baking powder in your cabinet or what brand of chocolate will yield the best brownies or flourless chocolate cake? Or puzzled over the key to making pizza crust that is thin and crisp or cookies that bake evenly? The editors at Cook's Illustrated have pulled back the curtain on the seemingly complex world of baking to give you the answers to these and thousands of other questions.

Recipes range from quick breads and yeast breads to pizza, cookies, cakes, pastry, crisps, and cobblers to all manner of pies and tarts. And they feature American home classics (including Southern Cornbread, Pecan Sandies, and Sour Cream Coffeecake) as well as more contemporary favorites (such as Rosemary Focaccia, Orange-Almond Biscotti, and Chocolate Truffle Tart) and European baked goods (such as Brioche, Black Forest Cake, and Tarte Tatin). Every recipe has been exhaustively researched and tested to bring you the "best" recipe (we'll let you be the judge), along with detailed and precise explanations for everything from why you should use unsalted butter to what is the best oven temperature and why it all matters. We've also tested every kind of baking equipment available, from mixers and food processors to the humblest spatulas and loaf pans, and the results of our experiments are described throughout so you can benefit from our trial and error. And because we know that good baking depends on understanding basic techniques, Baking Illustrated features a 16-page, full-color insert that shows you how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls in baking, such as overmixed egg whites, cheesecakes that crack, and bread dough that has overproofed. (We know a lot about mistakes -- we've made them all.)

We don't want you to take the time to bake a layer cake from scratch only to settle for that "homemade" look. The visuals in this insert show you how to do it right. Color photographs demonstrate good results as well as bad, and hand-drawn, step-by-step illustrations help you to perfect your technique for fail-safe baking. Baking Illustrated also gives you handy tutorials on baking basics, including how to stock your pantry and how to store and measure ingredients, cream butter, and roll out pie dough. A master baking class between two covers, Baking Illustrated takes the guesswork out of baking and will expand your repertoire without ever losing sight of your ultimate goal: making family favorites that taste better than ever.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With refreshing wit and patience for the home cook, the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine present their collective wisdom in an easy-to-use format. Whether readers are baking Brownies or Peanut Butter Cookies, or want to try the more advanced Crescent-Shaped Rugelach with Raisin-Walnut Filling or Fallen Chocolate Cake, or if they're in the mood for something savory, such as Soft Pretzels or Buttermilk Biscuits, they'll find everything (and possibly more) here. The criteria are stringent: a brownie "must not be so sweet as to make your teeth ache, and it must certainly have a thin, shiny, papery crust... offering a contrast with the brownie's moist center." Lengthy prologues explain the tests the editors conducted to arrive at each recipe, with humorous characterizations of what not to do (for example, readers learn to avoid the "lean, mean, whole-wheat-flour oatmeal scone"). The testers often start with professional chef recipes, tinkering as they go. Blueberry muffins get an overhaul in the "Blueberry Muffin Hall of Shame," with mug shots of the guilty muffins' characteristics (e.g., mashed, sticky surface, flat top). Even casual readers will appreciate the editors' narrative flair and baking science (e.g., quiche gets cooled on a rack to prevent condensation), and there's a refreshing absence of diet-conscious recipes here. With step-by-step illustrations on everything from how to remove bar cookies so they don't crumble to chopping nuts, and a section on ingredients that goes as far as to recommend specific brands, this is an indispensable, comprehensive baking reference. (Apr.) Forecast: A $100,000 marketing campaign promises to get the word out on this essential tome. The editors will go on a 15-city tour, and the publisher will run ads in the New York Times. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This latest offering from the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine is similar in format to their other outstanding title, The Best Recipe. Test kitchen cooks analyzed brand-name baking ingredients and equipment and here make "best buy" recommendations, with sometimes surprising results. (For example, a panel of pastry chefs was repeatedly unable to tell the difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla in a variety of applications!) The test summaries preceding each recipe include both successes and failures; the resulting recipes (more than 350) cover everything from the simplest quick breads to more complex yeast breads and cookies and pastries. Experienced bakers will gain new insights and be inspired to cast off those traditional methods that have been proven unnecessary or less effective than others. In turn, novices have the opportunity to gain an invaluable understanding of the why's of baking. This is the best instructional book on baking this reviewer has seen; highly recommended for most libraries.-Mary Schlueter, Missouri River Regional Lib., Jefferson City, MO Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780936184753
  • Publisher: America's Test Kitchen
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 239,107
  • Product dimensions: 11.12 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface viii
Welcome to America's Test Kitchen ix
Baking Ingredients and Equipment 1
High-Altitude Baking 18
Chapter 1 Quick Breads, Muffins, Biscuits, and Scones 21
Chapter 2 Yeast Breads and Rolls 69
Chapter 3 Pizza, Focaccia, and Flatbread 151
Chapter 4 Pies and Tarts 177
Chapter 5 Pastry 255
Chapter 6 Crisps, Cobblers, and Other Fruit Desserts 295
Chapter 7 Cakes 319
Chapter 8 Cookies, Brownies, and Bar Cookies 423
Sauces and Accompaniments 499
Index 501
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Home bakers rejoice, professionals embrace!

    Whether you're a timid beginner, or an up-incoming future baker of America, like me, you can find something to love about this book. The description, mouth-watering recipes, and the science behind it pull you in, and make it impossible to resist baking every single item in this book (sure, it takes a long time, but it'll happen). For me, the research behind the recipe tells me why I get a certain texture and helps me create my own recipes. For the home cook, it simply insures that if you like a chewy, thick chocolate chip cookie, you can follow the steps of the recipes and end up with exactly that (not a thin, slightly burnt product). I can't think of a single page that isn't full of useful information. Even if you aren't sure of your ability to succeed in the kitchen or your just like to read, Baking Illustrated will indulge your sweet spot and maybe even change your mind!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2006

    A good READ

    I love cookbooks that read like novels, and this title is no exception. I love that Cook's Illustrated explains all the reasons why the ingredient list is what it is. However, if you have the Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe or the revised CI Best New Recipe, you do not need this book because many of the recipes are included in both.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    Excellent baking cookbook

    I love all of my Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen cookbooks, and this one in no exception. It is my go-to cookbook when I feel like baking bread, making bagels, or trying a new cookie recipe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2005

    Result-proof recipes

    This is the best baking book that I've ever read. Everything turns out exectly what it should be exactly what editor said. You don't have to be worried about the results because it's going to be wonderful as it should be. I fully recommend this book to all serious bakers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2005

    A cook book you can read!!

    I LOVE this book, after showing it to several people at work they ordered it and fell in love with it also. Who would of thought you could curl up on the couch and spend and hour reading a book about baking. So many wonderful recipes and stories. If you love to watch America's Test Kitchen or other cooking shows this is the book for you!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2004

    GREAT BOOK for those who really want to bake!

    This is the best book I have ever had for cooking. It explains the how-to's for how to make your baking go right. There is a page worth of explanation for each recipe discussing what was tried in several of their recipes and how it was improved. Excellent to explain technique and methodology.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2004

    A Must-Have for the baker!

    What a fabulous cookbook! Everything I have made out of this book has been delicious and very easy to make. Nothing but compliments!

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