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Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook Hardcover – 1 Nov 2005
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Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook presents the doyenne of the Better Way in tip-top form. Or rather, it offers the work of a dedicated team who, under Stewart's stewardship, has devised over 200 baking recipes for both savory and sweet treats, ranging from the traditional likes of buttermilk biscuits, gingersnaps, blueberry pie, bagels, and chocolate angel food cake, to the more novel pleasures of Sausage and Feta Hand Pies, Cherry Fragipane Gallete, Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes, and even the buttery-sugary to-die-for yeasted pastry called kouign amans. Also present and accounted-for are Stewartian showpieces like Mocha-Pistachio Wedding Cake.
The greatest virtue of the book, apart from the clarity of its recipes, lies in its organization: the chapters, which cover all baking stops, begin with relevant tips, followed by notes on equipment and techniques, all photo-illustrated. These set-ups supply context that maximizes the possibility of pleasurable, goof-free baking. Photo-illustrated how-to's in the formulas further the cause. A quibble is the absence in many of the recipe headnotes of descriptive material about the baked good they introduce--it's important to provide info on techniques and ingredients, as the headnotes do, but baking recipes in particular cry out for descriptions of what, for example, sfogliatelle (an Italian pastry), or lime-glazed cookies are. This said, the book is immensely appealing and will excite as well as instruct a wide range of bakers, from the would-be to the accomplished. --Arthur Boehm
This new volume may add to global warming as cooks all over the country start up their ovens to produce the extraordinary baked goods that Stewart proposes. Few of Stewart's recipes are completely original. Martha's genius rests in her uncanny ability to see a recipe in a novel way. Thus, her roulade has a filling of blackberry fool. Pineapple upside-down cake replaces the pineapple's core with mango. Caramel sticks cover the multiple chocolate layers of Dobos Torte. Rather than the little slices of banana customary inside ordinary banana cream pie, Stewart employs dramatic lengthwise slices. In addition to quick breads, Stewart offers yeast-raised loaves and buns, including focaccia, English muffins, croissants, and Danish pastries. Stewart's cookie recipes yield products suitable for gift giving. Illustrations throughout offer some guidance to the perplexed baker, but some recipes, such as the sfogliatelle, almost demand personal, step-by-step treatment. This is not an in-depth treatise on any one particular facet of the baker's art, but what Stewart chooses to deal with, she unfolds with care, grace, aplomb, and total mastery. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The edition itself is gorgeous. It's hard cover, printed on very fancy feeling paper. There's pictures for everything, which I truly appreciate in a cooking book. The procedures are easy to follow, the recipes are simple enough so you don't have to go crazy finding weird ingredients (although you can find anything on amazon, right?!). It is also a very educational book in the sense that it talks about why these ingredients work, or how these ingredients react with each other, or why you should use a specific tool in order to achieve a great looking final product.
If you read the book front cover to back, you will end up being a more knowledgeable baker, for sure. The book covers the basics (and a bit more): from sponge cake, to cut out cookies, to croissants, to pies, tarts, brownies, danish, cupcakes, fillings and frostings, you name it. Sometimes I wish the recipes were a liiiittle bit more interesting, but I can honestly say that if you master the recipes in this book, you can go and make pretty much anything else.
You will be beyond happy when you see what is within these 415 pages of baking joy; I couldn't begin to count how many recipes are within these pages. But there are in all, six chapters of recipes, with the opening section giving you:
A Letter from Martha
General Baking Tips
General Baking Equipment
General Baking Techniques
Each of these above sections come with crystal clear photos that accompany each instruction point made within that area so you know of which pan, spoon, utensil, etc. you need to accomplish which task. This is the trademark of what Martha represents in her desire to give you every detail both visually and in written description.
Then begins the excitement of what chapter to choose from:
One: Simple Baked Goods
Four: Pies, Tarts, Cobblers, and Crisps
Five: Yeasted Baked Goods
The last section is then completed by:
Every single photo is so large, crisp, and so detailed, that you can actually see each delicate layer of puff pastry, when you are looking at the recipe for Chocolate Napoleans. All the breads and cookies and pies.........there is just no end to the spectacular content of this book. I feel that this is by far, one of her very best books, though this is exactly how she approached the creation of all her mediums.
It is definitely "a good thing". Enjoy!