How to Bake: Complete Guide to Perfect Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Tarts, Breads, Pizzas, Muffins,

How to Bake: Complete Guide to Perfect Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Tarts, Breads, Pizzas, Muffins,

by Nick Malgieri

How To Bake is as necessary and essential as a good oven; it is the most comprehensive and accessible guide to baking available in English. In a single, illustrated volume, Nick Malgieri, one of America's preeminent bakers and baking teachers, leads cooks through the simple art of creating an international assortment of delicious sweet and savory baked

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How To Bake is as necessary and essential as a good oven; it is the most comprehensive and accessible guide to baking available in English. In a single, illustrated volume, Nick Malgieri, one of America's preeminent bakers and baking teachers, leads cooks through the simple art of creating an international assortment of delicious sweet and savory baked goods.

Here are the best recipes for breads, including such quick ones as Buttermilk Corn Bread, Irish Soda Bread, Classic Southern Biscuits, and Currant Tea Scones, as well as such delicious yeast-risen breads as Italian Bread Rings, Swiss Rye Bread, Challah, and English Muffins. Malgieri also offers recipes for savory treats like Old-Fashioned Chicken Pie, Pepper and Onion Frittata Tart, Cheese Quiche, and Rosemary Focaccia; and for sweet pastries ranging from puff pastries—Apple Turnovers, Banana Feuilletés with Caramel Sauce, Brioches, Strawberry Savarin, and Croissants—to pies and tarts, cobblers, and cookies of every stripe—drop, bar, rolled, and filled; brownies, macaroons, and rugelach. Cakes, too, are here, from layered to rolled, from angel to devil's food.

The recipes in How to Bake are clear and methodical. Master recipes explain all the steps to making a classic dish. They are frequently followed by creative variations so that the baker's palate and skills will always be accommodated and challenged. Start out with a simple spice cake, for example, and transform it, under Malgieri's reassuring guidance, into a lavishly decorated celebration cake.

In addition to an exhaustive and tempting selection of recipes, Malgieri offers clear, detailed instructions, interweaving techniques and helpful sidebars: how to make a pastry bag out of parchment paper; what baking pans to buy; mastering pie and cake toppings; learning to decorate a cake so it looks as if it came from the bakery; and scores of other helpful tips. All this is punctuated with precise explanatory illustrations and thirty-two pages of luscious color photographs to inspire and guide the baker. How to Bake is a one-volume "bible" for bakers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Packed as tightly as a cup of brown sugar, this tome on home baking is sure to become a classic reference. Malgieri (Great Italian Desserts, Perfect Pastry) distills years of teaching and experience into these detailed recipes for virtually every savory or sweet yeast bread, quick bread, muffin, pastry, dough and batter. Recipes are thorough and include descriptions of how batters and doughs are supposed to appear at each stage of preparation. ``If it still looks a little curdled, that's O.K.,'' writes Malgieri, depicting the addition of eggs to a rich, cheesy batter for Parmesan bread. ``Hold each peeled peach gently in your left hand over a mixing bowl (if you are left handed, reverse)'' begins his 93-word description of how to efficiently slice a peach. Such advice, along with other hints for success and some of the more methodical of recipes, may slow down the more experienced baker, but for a beginner, Malgieri's approach is like panne from heaven. Advice on stocking the baker's pantry, lists of mail-order sources for such ingredients as pearl sugar or pizza yeast and an index nicely finish off this collection of more than 400 recipes. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Author of Great Italian Desserts (LJ 12/90) and Nick Malgieri's Perfect Pastry (LJ 10/15/89), Malgieri is the director of the baking program at Peter Kump's Cooking School in New York City. In his ambitious new book, he presents a good introduction to the world of baking, covering breads, savory pastries, and sweet baked goods of all kinds. Chapters are organized as an extended cooking course, with fundamental techniques included in earlier recipes, more complicated skills in the later ones. Most of the recipes could be regarded as minilessons, and chapter introductions and headnotes provide essential information on a variety of topics. The recipes include standards as well as a decent selection of specialties from other cuisines-in short, a good sampler of baked goods from Irish Soda Bread to Petits Pains au Chocolat. Highly recommended.
Barbara Jacobs
Malgieri proffers such an overwhelming selection of recipes (more than 400), and with such an authoritative voice, that readers will believe his baking book is the best they've seen in years. Each recipe features easy-to-follow directions, some historical notes, and step-by-step illustrations. The color photographs by Tom Eckerle do justice to Malgieri's talent.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.45(d)

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Easy Italian Focaccia

One 10 1/2 X 15 1/2-Inch rectangular or 14-inch round focaccia, enough for 4 to 6 servings

1 1/3 cups warm tap water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt

One 10 1/2X 15 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan, or a 14-inch round pan, plus a second pan of the same size or larger to insulate the first pan if the bottom of the focaccia begins to brown too quickly

If you're pressed for time but still would like to serve a homemade bread, try this focaccia. Though you can't skimp on the rising time, the mixing and shaping require so little work that the focaccia practically makes itself.

Mix the focaccia. in the morning, then let it rise in the refrigerator all day. At the end of the day (or whenever you need to bake it) press the dough onto the oiled pan and let it rise before baking it.

A plain focaccia such as this one makes a great accompaniment to first courses or to an entire meal; one with a topping is an excellent hors d'oeuvre to serve with drinks.

1. Measure the water into a bowl and whisk in the yeast and 3 tablespoons of the oil. Measure the flour and 2 teaspoons salt into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture until all the flour is evenly moistened, then beat vigorously for a minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

2. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining oil on thebaking pan. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the pan and pat and press until the dough fills the pan completely. If the dough resists, let it rest for a few minutes before continuing. Cover the dough with a piece of oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) and allow it to rise again until doubled, up to 1hour.

3. Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

4. Dimple the surface of the risen focaccia by using your fingertip to poke cavities in the dough at 2-inch intervals. Drizzle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with the kosher or coarse salt.

5. Bake the focaccia for about 25 minutes, or until deep golden. Lift the side of the focaccia with a spatula or pancake turner and check the bottom about halfway through baking time. If it is getting too dark, slide the pan onto another pan to insulate the bottom.

6. To serve immediately, slide the focaccia from the pan to a cutting board. If it will be served later, slide it off the pan onto a rack to cool.

Serving: Cut narrow slices or squares to split horizontally for sandwiches.

Storage: Keep the focaccia loosely covered at room temperature, if it will be served on the day it is made. For longer storage, wrap, in plastic and freeze. Unwrap and reheat the focaccia for about7 minutes at 375 degrees.

Hint For Success: When pressing the dough into the pan, keep the thickness even.


Herb Focaccia: Sprinkle the top of the focaccia with 2 or 3 tablespoons of such coarsely chopped fresh herbs as rosemary, thyme, or sage, immediately before baking.

Sage or Rosemary Focaccia: Insert leaf of fresh sage or sprig of rosemary into each cavity when you press the dimples into the dough.

Onion Focaccia: Peel and thinly slice 2 medium yellow onions, about 4 or 5 ounces each, and cook them in 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saut� pan, covered, for about 20 minutes, until they just begin to color slightly. Season the onions with salt and pepper and cool. Spread the onions on the risen focaccia and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano.

Onion and Garlic Focaccia: Add 2 peeled and thinly sliced cloves garlic to the onions before cooking them.

Tomato and Olive Focaccia: Scatter 1 cup seeded, chopped, and drained canned plum tomatoes on the risen focaccia. Sprinkle with salt; pepper; oregano; 2 or 3 tablespoons of halved and pitted oil-cured olives; and 1 clove garlic, sliced into paper-thin shreds.

Fresh Raspberry Linzertorte

One 9-inch cake, about 8 servings


1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (about 4 ounces) blanched almonds, ground
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1teaspoon baking powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/3 cup raspberry preserves
2 baskets raspberries
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) toasted sliced almonds
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

One 9-inch springform or 2-inch-deep layer pan, buttered and lined with a disk of parchment or wax paper

The flavor combination of nuts and spice in a buttery cake such as this is one of my favorites. Here the Linzer dough is baked without the traditional jam filling and then used as a base for raspberry preserves and a topping of fresh berries.

1. Set a rack at the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. To make the dough, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub in the butter finely by hand. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and yolk together with the lemon zest and vanilla extract and stir into the dough with a fork--the dough will be very soft.

3. Spread two thirds of the dough evenly in the pan. Place the remaining dough in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tube (Ateco #6) and pipe a border of dots around the edge.

4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is well colored and firm, but not dry. Cool in the pan. Unmold and slide or invert onto a platter.

5. To finish, spread the preserves on top of the cooled cake, avoiding the raised border formed by the dots of dough. Arrange the raspberries on the preserves. Decorate the edge with the almonds and dust lightly with the confectioners' sugar.

Serving: Serve a little whipped cream with the Linzertorte.

Storage: Keep the finished dessert at room temperature for up to several hours. For advance preparation, bake the cake base early in the day, then finish with the preserves and fruit several hours before serving. The cake base may be refrigerated for several days or frozen for several months.

Hint For Success: Avoid having the butter too soft or overmixing and melting it into the dry ingredients, or the baked cake will have a tough, rather than a tender texture.

How To Bake. Copyright � by Nick Malgieri. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Nick Malgieri is the author of seven books, including A Baker's Tour, Perfect Cakes, Chocolate, and the James Beard Award–winning How to Bake. He is director of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. His website, www.nickmalgieri .com, includes a schedule of his guest teacher appearances across the country.

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