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4.7 out of 5 stars169
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 8 September 2011
I bought this book as a novice baker, having never made anything fancier than a fairy cake i was a bit overwhelmed looking at these pictures, there was no way i could make any of the fancy pictures shown in this book. But then i looked at the recipes. This book makes everything simple, there aren't ten thousand ingredients in each recipe and the instructions are easy to follow.

The recipes are plain and simple british food, and the recipes produce some brilliant results. My particular favourite is the lemon drizzle cake!!

If you want simple but tasty british recipes then this is for you.
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on 21 January 2011
I'm a relatively new baker, but I'm fairly competent now and thought that I'd get this book as a compendium of ambition - which it certainly is! It has a wonderful selection of cakes and buns and tarts and... well, everything. As other reviewers have already said, there aren't many contributions from the show this book is based on, but I'm not too fussed about that. It still serves as an excellent encyclopedia of eye-candy with excellent layout and detailed instructions.

However, given that my mum taught me most of what I know, I really dislike the fact that the measurements are only given in metric, not pounds and ounces (it's so much easier to look for the 2oz line than the fiddly, cramped little 50g lines or whatever). But hey, that can be easily rectified with a bit of nifty mental arithmetic.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem I've had with this book is that some of the recipes don't seem to have been tested very well. I made the treacle tart with the pastry they recommended and ended up with easily double the amount of pastry, but not quite enough filling. The lemon meringue pie doesn't have a clear oven time given for the last blast in the oven it gets for the meringue (I went for Gas 4, but who knows?). As I said at the beginning, I'm still fairly inexperienced so this can be really challenging when only realise half way through that something in the recipe isn't quite right. There's been nothing disastrous so far, but for new cooks it can be a bit nerve wracking. On the other hand, it does mean that I'm getting more confident in my own skills of recognising where something might need altering, which is something of a silver lining.

Either way, I've started using this book for an ideas guide and then double check the recipes online before I start. Others have been fine! Just... be cautious. I'd still recommend this volume because of its pictures, descriptions and the volume of traditional British bakes held within, all collected in one easily-referenced place.
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on 15 December 2010
Loved the programme and the idea of making home baking fashionable again.
Bought the book while the series was till running so possibly an early print run.
I say this because I have found a couple of errors in the recipe ingreds and have had to change quantities of some ingreds in the Cornish Pasty (potato) and parkin (flour /oatmeal) recipes to make them work.
In the case of the Cornish Pasty recipe the recipe on the website was quite different.
This is disappointing and I wonder has anyone else had the same problem ? ... hopefully later printings may have been corrected.

Still love the book and other recipes have worked well ... Grasmere Gingerbread so easy and delicious and Fat Rascals are wonderful.
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on 21 January 2011
I love this book, it has turned into my Baking Bible. I have set myself a challenge to cook every single recipe in the book over the course of a year. I have cooked 35 out of the 120 recipes so far and I can recommend this as THE book to buy if you are a newcomer to baking. I had never made my own pastry before, due to a lack of confidence and relied on Jus-rol! Now I have mastered shortcrust and puff pastry which the book explains easily. My only quibble is that although there are some of the contestant's recipes from the GBBO series in the book, there were also some other recipes that were on the programme that haven't been included. I think you could print them off the internet at the time but it would have been lovely to have had them in the book. However, this does not spoil the book and I know this is going to be well used for many occasion in years to come.
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on 4 September 2010
I bought this book as a present, but found the recepies so tempting and easy to follow that I had to buy two copies.

This book follows the format of the TV series tackling a major area of baking in chapters; biscuits, breads, puddings etc. If you are a fan of old fashioned baking, but want recipies presented in a modern format that haven't been messed around with by modern TV cooks, then this is the book for you!
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on 9 February 2011
This really surprised me.

I watched the series and just happened to see it at my local library, and now, well now I'm actually considering buying it. Not because the recipes are innovative (anyone can find a scone recipe right?) but because the recipes are actually rather, to the teeniest ounce, really damn good. No fail, to be exact.

I've learned a lot, Parkin anyone? Butteries? Scripture Cake? This is also a throwback to school days and those yummy Home Ec lessons with formidable yet frothy Mrs Selby in her WI apron. Time and time again I've gone back to the scone, bakewell tart and more. Moreover, it's reinvented what I thought were the nasty Chelsea Buns and other stale offerings lining the bakery shelves. Having tried them myself, I can confirm Britain does indeed have a proud baking tradition to be reckoned with (just, well maybe not as finished and sophisticated as our neighbourly French bunnies across the pond....)

If you're interested in the series' contenders' rec's, there all there. Good photography, and simple instructions.

Most importantly, for the home baker, ingredients aren't off the wall extravagant and accessible at your local Co-op. Lots of dried fruits, cheap cuts, suet, marg (oh, yes indeed, and lard for the sinner) etc.

There's also a prelim intro to each chapter on the history (for the buffs, fascinating) and basics: shortcrust, custard, buttercream etc., even puff pastry. So much for the lazy TV chefs advising us to buy our puff, Ha! Shame on you! So nay to the one who dares deems the home baker as somehow lacking dexterity and industry. Who fears rolling blocks of butter several times over? Pouff, it's just a unpretentious croissant, right?

So hats off, and cheerio to my floury and splattered Reader's Digest oldie. This is a modern classic.

Now I must try the contender's recipes....so many to choose from.
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on 4 October 2010
An excellent book, very clear instructions. Most recipes require ingredients found in most store cupboards - no vastly unusual things to have to buy.
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on 11 September 2010
It's a great book, but with one major drawback ... it doesn't include the best recipes from the show, e.g. several mouth-watering recipes shown on TV are missing from the book, like the peach and blueberry boy-bait. This is a major failing.
Just as bad, if you go to the BBC site, there are no recipes either. Come on you guys at the BEEB, get your rocks off, give us the recipes, and do what the TV show says it intends: get us cooking!
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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2011
I was in two minds over whether to buy this particular title - but what convinced me was a friend starting to cook his way through it and achieving good results. So I bit the bullet and am glad I did.

It is a good collection of British classics (with a few new twists) - well presented with some excellent photography.

Some reviewers have commented on the lack of recipes from contestants in the Great British Bake Off series. This doesn't worry me at all - the book is a companion to that competition rather than being the book of the series. It is what it says it is - a book on British baking - plain and simple.

What stops me from giving this top marks is the fact that we don't have a table of contents. The book is split into 7 sections - which is fine - but there is no way of knowing what is in each part (and some of the categorisations are a little arbitrary with the boundary between cakes and breads being rather ill-defined).

So this is a good book on baking but, perhaps, not a great one. Take a look in your local bookshop before you buy - just to be certain it is for you.
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on 5 September 2011
Without exaggerating, this should be the one and only cookbook on British baking you will ever need! All recipes are beautifully written and illustrated. I sincerely fell in love with the pictures of landscapes the book is enriched with. Reading it and trying these wonderful traditional recipes -there's not a single one I baked and not having turned out great and my whole family begging for more- I each time embark on an imaginary but oh so vivid trip to my beloved Britain! LOVE it!
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