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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
Veteran pastry chef Mushet puts her decades of experience to work in this dense, informative baking guide from Seattle-based gourmet cookware retailer Sur La Table (thankfully light on advertorials), opening with a comprehensive overview of crucial equipment and a 30 page guide to pantry stocking (butter, flour and sugar get three pages each, chocolate gets five). Covering all aspects of the baking spectrum, Mushet gives yeast-based breads, quick breads, cookies and bars, layered pastries and other specialties their turn, doing admirable work with standards like pizza dough and dinner rolls, as well as trendier riffs like pesto rolls and rustic olive and thyme bread that give cooks room to stretch in each category. Mushet's invaluable lessons in ensuring oven accuracy, incorporating butter into dough for layered pastries (with step-by-step photos) and the causes of falling soufflés will get novices up to speed, and experts ready to tackle Mushet's compelling cheesecake batter-in-a-food-processor technique will find her inventive hors d'oeuvre Stilton Cheesecake with Port-Braised Pears a big hit at the next cocktail party. Those already comfortable with baking will get the most out of the book's 250 recipes, but there are plenty of dishes well within the reach of those new to Crème Brulee and lemon bar construction, making this a great volume to learn and grow with.
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