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9780936184753

Baking Illustrated: A Best Recipe Classic

Cook's Illustrated Magazine Editors

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9780936184753: Baking Illustrated: A Best Recipe Classic

The practical kitchen companion for the home baker with 350 recipes you can trust. Drawing from more than 10 years baking experience and exhaustive equipment and ingredient testing Baking Illustrated is packed with over 500 pages of sweet and savoury recipes including breads, pizza, cookies, cakes, pies and tarts. There are home classics, contemporary favourites and European baked goods.

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Review:

The mysteries of cream of tartar revealed! How to make maximum use of blackening bananas! The hidden meaning of folding in dry ingredients until just blended! Perfect pie crusts for perfect fools! It's all here in Baking Illustrated, from banana bread to pecan bars, and everything imaginable in between--500-plus pages of densely packed, illustration rich, photo finished information all devoted to baking. Tools, techniques, ingredients, tips, and perfect, tested recipes.

There's cooking and there's baking, and the two should never be confused. Good cooks are ever commendable. Good bakers, on the other hand, have something about them bigger than skill or imagination, something that reaches back to the beginning of agriculture and the first inklings of civilization. Good bakers are their own mystic society. So hats off to Cook's Illustrated for throwing open the doors and sharing the mysteries with the rest of us. Baking Illustrated absolutely has it all. You'll find chapters devoted to "Quick Breads, Muffins, Biscuits, and Scones"; "Yeast Breads and Rolls"; "Pizza, Focaccia, and Flatbread"; "Pies and Tarts"; "Pastry"; "Crisps, Cobblers, and Other Fruit Desserts"; "Cakes"; and "Cookies, Brownies, and Bar Cookies". No mean undertaking, all that. Tools are tested and names are named. Techniques are stripped back then rebuilt. Cook's Illustrated carries all this off with a style and relish for inquiry and detail that sets a standard. Nothing is taken for granted because there's no fudge room with baking. It works or it doesn't. So trust is a big issue. And the end result of all the mighty labors of the Cook’s Illustrated staff is text you can trust. This is a baking book that works.

And those blackening bananas? Simply keep adding them to a Ziplock bag you store in the freezer, then use them when you wish and as you like. --Schuyler Ingle

From the Publisher:

This book has been tested, written and edited by the folks at America’s Test Kitchen, a very real, 5,000-square-foot kitchen located just outside of Boston. It is home of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and is the Monday through Friday destination for close to two dozen cooks, editors, food scientists, tasters and cookware specialists. Our mission is to test recipes over and over again until we understand how and why they work and until we arrive at the "best" version. We start the process of testing a recipe with complete lack of conviction. By that I mean we accept no claim, no theory, no technique, and no recipe at face value. We simply assemble as many variations as possible, test half-dozen of the most promising, and taste the results blind. We then construct our hybrid recipe and continue to test it, varying ingredients and techniques, and cooking times until we reach a consensus. The result, we hope, is the "best" version of a particular recipe, but we realize that only you can be the final judge of our success (or failure). As we like to say in the test kitchen, "We make the mistakes so you don’t have to."

All of this would not be possible without the belief that good cooking, much like good music, is indeed based on a foundation of objective technique. Some folks like spicy food and other don’t, but there is a right way to sauté, there is a "best" way to cook a pot roast, and there are measurable scientific principles involved in producing perfectly beaten, stable egg whites. This is our ultimate goal: to investigate the fundamental principles of cooking so that you become a better cook.

You can watch us work (in our actual test kitchen) by tuning into America’s Test Kitchen on public television or by subscribing to Cook’s Illustrated magazine, which is published every other month. We welcome you into our kitchen, where you can stand by our side as we test our way to the "best" recipes in America.

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