My new baking book arrived well within the delivery time slot, thanks again Amazon. What a treasure of a book, I have searched for a book of this content for years and I am thrilled! I love American baking because of it's simplicity and taste impact. The book is jam packed with goodies, no other English recipe book gives so much variety. Have baked from this book every day since it arrived, everything beautifully cooked to perfection because the recipes have been so well tested. You are missing out if you don't have this book in your collection. For beginners and advanced bakers alike.
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This is the baking book i use the most, all the tried and tested recipes work everytime as long as you get your conversions right. Anyone looking for a great alternative to the usual celebrity cooks baking books will love this one.
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I was astounded when I unboxed this brilliantly conceived cookbook (baking book). It is instantly recognizable that this one is near-perfect... and when one gets a chance to really look it over and use it, you additionally discover that, in fact, it's TOTALLY perfect! Here's why:
1. There are 700 high-quality, well-tested recipes.
2. This book is STURDY and lies open to your recipe perfectly.
3. The recipes are bound with 5 strong clasp-type binders, allowing you to remove the individual recipe that you wish to use (or, to add your own!)
4. The text is easy to read.
5. The organization of the text is terrific with "quick tabs" which stick out from the pages so you can go directly to the section that you want (17 of these, and you can read them from both sides).
6. The paper stock is heavy (no ripping of the page holes) and is of a slick texture as to resist stains from spills.
7. There are HUNDREDS of beautiful color illustrations throughout the text which illustrate techniques, "common mistakes," finished dishes, etc.
8. The substitution, equivalency, and conversion charts are all located on the inside of the front and rear covers.
9. There are nice sections on kitchen equipment (illustrated), basic techniques, and ingredients.
10. Beginners' recipes are so noted.
11. There's a beautifully-organized one-page table of contents.
12. The recipes are mostly one per page so there's no hassle with having to flip pages as you try to prep ingredients or bake.
The baking recipes here are comprehensive but you'll be absolutely certain to find every old stand-by that you need such as Banana Cream Pie, Red Velvet Cake, Baguette (bread), Biscuits (multiple versions), Pizza, Calzones, Parker House Rolls, Soufflés, and many more. Trust me, ALL the baking recipes that you'll ever require are found in here.
I do not award stars easily for cookbooks (you can check my reviews of such texts) but this is the first cookbook of any sort in which I can find nothing whatever to critisize -- it's simply marvellous.
I'm a very experienced home cook (I cook from scratch every day and have about 300 of my own recipes posted on Recipezaar ["Bone Man" over there]; I have also been responsible for multiple large restaurant operations and have cooked in commercial kitchens. I can assure you that this fine baking book will fulfill your every recipe need in the home and commercial chefs would notably benefit from owning this fine text as well.
The outer dimensions are 10" x 9 1/4", and the recipe pages are nice and large at 9 1/2" x 6 3/4". The books weighs 4 1/4 pounds and there are 544 pages in all, not counting "tab" pages.
Most highly recommended!
67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
I give it ten stars! Where oh where has this cookbook been all my life? I have been looking for this type of comprehensive baking cookbook for years but have been very disappointed with every one I find. Not any more. I can honestly see myself spending the rest of my life cooking my way through every recipe in this volume.
OK - why am I so in love with this book? Because the baked goods are everyday, homestyle, "like Momma used to make" recipes. Most cookbooks are a variety of everyday recipes mixed with what I call "fantasy" baking - nice to look at but not practical to make - or eat. Not this volume. There's not one intimidating recipe in the entire book. These items are the memories of my childhood. They are also the recipes that I never tried but always wanted to make. Plus there are elegant baked goods and rustic breads that will make you look like a super star instead of a super snob. Everyone will love them.
Where do I start with my praise? The photos. The cookbook is full of color photos - not the occasional giant, glossy photo of finished products - but smaller, relevant color photos for each section, each recipe, each baking food or product recommended, and each process. Almost EVERY recipe has its own set of instructional photos that follow the recipe through it's steps to the finished product. Where has this book been all my life?
Besides the excellent compilation of recipes, another big selling point of this cookbook is its "accessibility." Everyone from the most novice cook to an experienced baker will find something to admire in this volume. A novice baker will find lists of ingredients essential to baking along with photos, explanations about each item, and brand name recommendations. The same is true for a list of the most essential tools used in a baker's kitchen - including a "don't waste your cash" list of over-hyped products. There's even a price list (which will become dated) so you will know what you are getting into before you hit the stores.
Each recipe also has a tip section. These address common mistakes many cooks make BEFORE you make them, with photos of course. There are also remedies and explanations of common mistakes and mishaps AFTER they happen, again complete with photos!
This amazing cookbook is in a large ring binder, which I love. I can take out pages and make copies for family and friends that want my recipes instead of handwriting them or squishing a volume into a copier at Kinkos. As a cookbook freak, this will come in very handy.
What else can I say? There is tons of info, advice, guides, charts, conversion, etc. throughout this thing. If you like to bake, this is FOR YOU. If you've never baked before but want to try, this is FOR YOU.
I've eyeballed the recipes and the proportions and combinations look good. I haven't baked anything from it yet, but I have been baking from scratch for over 40 years - so I think I can recognize a good recipe when I see it. When I start baking from this volume this weekend, I'll come back and edit this review with a critique of the recipes themselves. After all, that's what we buy cookbooks for in the first place.
76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
This is one of those cookbooks that you can use forever and then pass down to a loved one. The recipes are classic and anyone, from novice up to experienced baker, can find something new to do or to learn.
A few of the things I found most impressive about the cookbook:
1. It's very solid. The construction is not cheap and will help it last through many years of baking, flying flour and all.
2. There's a terrific pantry section in the front that covers the most common baking ingredients - it describes (and pictures) what the ingredient is, how it's used, and if applicable, any substitutions or ways to make your own.
3. Following the pantry section is one called "Bakeware and More: Stocking Your Kitchen". It shows pictures and describes what to look for in equipment, as well as listing test kitchen favorites and their prices. Each category shows several items, with the "must-have items" having a light yellow background to make them easy to pick out. Then come the specialty items, and just as important, the "10 Baking Gadgets You Don't Need".
4. The recipes cover the whole spectrum from basic to complicated and everything in between. Basic recipes are easy to pick out - they have a spoon and "great for beginners" in red. This would be a great cookbook for those with children to teach them the basics of baking. I plan on using it with my own two kids!
5. There are a TON of photos, hints and tips. Even if you've been baking for years, there will be *something* to learn.
Ok, so there are more than a few reasons I like this cookbook. All the more reason to add it to your collection!
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
If you've never seen America's Test Kitchen, stop reading right now, go find your local PBS station listings, and make a note to catch it next week. Their modus operandi is simple--take a dish, find a jillion recipes, test them to find which ones are best, and then experiment to see if they can improve the dish even more. The magnum opus is The New Best Recipe, but they also have cookbooks for quick meals, restaurant classics, light cooking, etc. etc.
The ATK folks have another baking book besides this one (Baking Illustrated), which I own, so I thought I would compare the two. First of all, the physical format is different: BI is a standard, hardbound book--a rather large one, at 8.5 x 11 and over an inch and a half thick. The FBB, by contrast, is delivered in a hardbound five-ring binder, 9 x 10 and two inches thick. They thoughtfully packaged the contents in such a way as to keep them intact during shipping. You do have to insert the tab dividers yourself, but that's just a good excuse to get acquainted with the contents of the book. :-) The pages are printed on glossy paper of a decent weight. The five-ring punch makes it unlikely that these will tear out under normal use, and it stays open more easily than the BI book.
The next difference is the style. BI follows the style of the New Best Recipe--that is, there may be up to a page or more talking about what they tried and the special features of any given recipe before you actually get to the recipe. The potential pitfalls of a recipe or the tricks that make it extra special, all are covered in the "article" before the recipe. The FBB, on the other hand, cuts to the chase. Recipe follows recipe with no exposition. Myself, I really enjoy reading the "article"--if you're in a hurry, you can always skip it, right? The FBB does have sections on baking basics and bakeware, so even if you're a rank beginner, there is hope for you. High-altitude bakers get a page of troubleshooting advice, and there are equivalents and conversions.
Recipes? Both books cover both sweet and savory baking: breads and rolls as well as cookies, cakes, and pies. The FBB has several recipes that were developed since BI was published, and here's its real edge--they include several must-haves that were developed in the test kitchens since BI was published:
- the best blueberry scone recipe on the face of the earth - an incredible pie crust that is super easy to roll out and yet bakes up ultra-flaky (secret ingredient: vodka!) - simple drop biscuits that are easy to make and fabulous to eat - brown-sugar cookies made with browned butter (beurre noisette) that are scrumptious - and the fabulous improvement on the famous no-knead bread, "Almost No-Knead Bread"--generally agreed to be just as easy but to taste even better than the original
Alas, like all the ATK books, if you have one, you'll find recycled recipes in the other... it looks to me like about two-thirds of the recipes in BI are in FBB as well. Even so, I found that the new inclusions in the FBB to be worth it. And the recycled recipes are best of class.
So... Two (floury) thumbs up from The Baker of the family for the ATK Family Baking Book!
49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Love the content, but the way it is presented SUCKS!17 Dec. 2009
Kristen M. Miller
- Published on Amazon.com
I have the Family Baking Book as well as the Family Cookbook. My Mom has the "New Best Recipes" version. I bought mine after reading hers and loving the content and the way each recipe is written and the tips and tricks are SO helpful.
People RAVE over the chocolate chip cookies whenever I make them.
However, I Have to give both of these cookbooks a 3 star rating, because the book itself is worthless. The binder is too full and the pages are flimsy. So many of my pages have been ripped out by accident (just by flipping the pages!) The paper its printed on is thin. I saw a nicer version in my local BJ's wholesale that had thicker, coated pages. Why aren't all of them made that way? Made me so mad that I wasted my money on the inferior version.
Watch out and make sure you get the version with the coated pages.