There are two reasons for buying baking books, to learn and to accumulate recipes. Very rarely, a book comes along that accomplishes both objectives: Dan's book is such a one. Indeed, it is so successful in this that I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone, irrespective of skill level, who wants to make cakes, or bread, or just to make more productive use of their oven. It covers all aspects of home baking: big cakes, small cakes, bread of all kinds, puddings, pancakes, muffins, slices, biscuits, cookies ..... These are grouped into eight logical sections, each section includes background info, techniques, hints and tips, and recipes. Many of the recipes are from Dan's Guardian Web pages, but many are not. Similarly, many of the recipes on the Web pages are necessarily missing from the book. For example, there are about 40 recipes for big cakes in the book, and about 65 on the Web pages. But, let's face it, no book is going to have all recipes for all baking. What you need is the essential how-tos, encouragement, and those necessary fixes that only the pros know. It's all here! Master the book, keep on collecting recipes, and watch the waistline!
So, if it's so good why only 4 stars? I'm afraid, production quality is lacking. The cover for this, one of the most hands-on books I've seen (contents-wise), is pathetic. Mine arrived dirty and slightly battered looking. I won't be sending it back, it has come from the UK to Australia and it's not Amazon's fault, accompanying books were in perfect condition. But, if ever a book cried out for a tough, wipeable cover, this is it. Another reviewer has commented on this, so it's not just me. However, This should not be a deal breaker. You'll have to either buy it a protective cover, or reconcile yourself to the fact that it will soon look used and loved.