57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars success guaranteed
I have tried various baking books and I must say that this one has been the most successful so far with the fewest baking failures ever. In fact, every single cake I have made from this book has risen, baked to a golden yellow, or done exactly what the recipe says it should have. Containing hundreds of recipes for cakes, biscuits, cookies, muffins and breads, you will...
Published on 15 April 2008 by Amazon Customer
24 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect!
It may seem a little harsh to base my review on a single recipe, but the authors claim that all recipes are tried and tested, and they obviously aren't. I used the recipe for Anzac biscuits three times with disappointing results. So, I checked with Margaret Fulton, and other Australian sources. All the Aussies mixed the dry ingredients separately and then combined them...
Published on 12 May 2010 by Thomas Holt
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars success guaranteed,
I have tried various baking books and I must say that this one has been the most successful so far with the fewest baking failures ever. In fact, every single cake I have made from this book has risen, baked to a golden yellow, or done exactly what the recipe says it should have. Containing hundreds of recipes for cakes, biscuits, cookies, muffins and breads, you will find in here an amazing collection of bakes for a special dinner party or simple (but delicious) scones for the kids' dessert. A wonderful home-baking book, this includes all the classics such as Victoria sponge and Madeira cake, as well as classics with a twist, for an example a carrot cake with a pecan-apricot crust - the best carrot cake I have ever eaten. There are plenty of traditionally British puddings and desserts, as well as continental favourites including a delectable and beautiful looking Black Forest cake. Even if you're new to baking, with Leith's Baking Bible you can be sure that this will soon turn into a new hobby and even your earliest attempts will be successful thanks to the clear and concise instructions.
The book contains recipes for citrus cakes, chocolate cakes, nut cakes, tea breads, roulades, and a section on festive baking with a wonderful Christmas cake recipe. There are biscuits for when you have just a few ingredients in your store cupboard as well as some cakes with unusual ingredients - courgette, polenta, potato, or even beetroot.
A few weeks ago I discovered a whole package of easy blend dried yeast in my cupboard which was close to the Use By date. I didn't feel like throwing it away so I decided to make a ciabatta loaf instead, and it was the Leith's Baking Bible which I used for my very first experiment of baking my own bread, which turned out delicious - so good in fact that I have made a number of breads since then. Most of the recipes actually use fresh yeast but the introduction to the Breads section explains really clearly how to used the dried variety.
Whatever your mood or the occasion you will have plenty of recipes to choose from. If I had to pick just one baking book to use forever it would be this one.
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and comprehensive,
Hard to write a short but detailed review about such a big book, so I apologise in advance for the length of this one, but I hope the detail is helpful!
I spent hours agonising over the best book for me. I am a keen and competent home baker, with a particular interest in breads and patisserie, and finally came to the conclusion that this book would be the most interesting and useful. I am very glad that I did.
It is not choc-a-bloc with pictures, although there are some lovely glossy pages at intervals in the book. So from that point of view it's not 'inspiring' (when looking through a recipe book, it is usually the pictures that inspire me). But if you are able to visualise what it is you wish to bake, have a good enough knowledge of baking to understand what certain ingredients and their quantities will result in, or are just happy to pick a recipe and see what you end up with, then you shouldn't mind not having an image for every recipe. Furthermore, what is lacking in the illustration department is more than made up for in the text one: there are HUNDREDS of recipes, each in clear-cut sections which begin with comprehensive explanations about what you may come up against.
The book begins with a number of pages about various ingredients and their properties, as well as necessary equipment for baking. So a section about chocolate for example gives an list of differents types (plain, semi-sweet, couverture, milk etc), before talking about melting chocolate, and specific points to remember; adding liquid to chocolate; tempering chocolate and storing chocolate. This in-depth approach continues alphabetically right up to yoghurt, encompassing dried fruits, flour, sugar and so on.
This part contains the recipes. The sections are:
pastry (with sub headings for savoury tarts and flans, savoury pies, savoury pastries and en-croute dishes, sweet tarts and crumbles and cobblers);
biscuits and cookies (as well as extra sections for festive biscuits, biscotti, savoury biscuits);
savoury quick bread and scones;
cakes (and then sub headings classic, chocolate, citrus, ginger etc.);
brownies and blondies;
icings and fillings;
glazes and sauces;
bread (plus sub-headings like basic breads, olive oil breads, flat breads artisan breads which include starters for sourdoughs etc);
small sections on baking with breadmakers, gluten free baking and high altitude baking.
Each section begins with a detailed introduction with the history of the product(s) and contains pointers as to what you need to remember when making it, why something might have gone wrong and how to correct that etc. The recipes are set out in a clear format, some with little descriptions before them and diagrams of step-by-step processes.
Terminology, glossary of british and american terms, conversion tables and a few suppliers of foods and equipment.
The recipes are in both metric and imperial, but there are no cup conversions in the back or with the recipes. The range of recipes is enormous, with french, english, american and other traditional recipes, plus some twists.
This book covers all the basics as well as venturing out to much more complex and technically challenging recipes and methods, so is suitable for all abilities. It really is a wonderful book from both an aesthetic and practical point of view. I might buy one with lots of pictures though, just to drool over!
Note on 9/10/2011: Book still proving a great success, although I admit that not all the recipes are perfect. However, for the most part it's a joy to use and my copy is well worn now. Glad to see that Amazon now let you "Look Inside" the book, although it renders somewhat pointless my lengthy write up of the index etc!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible.,
Time and time again I come back to this genius of a book for all my baking needs - it simply is the finest of all the baking books available today.
Comprehensive, illustrated, explained, and tested throughout - I just love to sit down and read it randomly to find a new gem of a recipe which I know will work,and taste amazing.
I'm sitting here munching my fresh baked hot cross buns, which despite years of trying, were never a true success until I followed the recipe in this book. (The bread section is amazing, my favourite bit - every bread you can imagine set out logically and simply).
Lots of hints and tips throughout - including a 'what went wrong' section in each part (very useful for unexpected dissapointments), a stunningly thorough glossary, just so much help where and when you need it.
Recommended for novice and experienced bakers alike. Brilliant.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious and not complicated,
I really can't rave about this book enough. I bake - a LOT, and use this book at least once every week. I have yet to try a single recipe that isn't delicious. There are many sections on different typs of cakes, cookies, bread, pastry. There is always something to suit your mood or the ingredients you have at hand.
I HIGHLY recommend this book!
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but ...,
I bought this because Leith's `Simple Cookery' is so wonderful, but I'm disappointed with this one. The back cover and fly-leaf say it's `the only baking book you'll ever need' but don't believe it.
Don't get me wrong - there is a very wide range of good recipes here - and if it hadn't promised to give me everything (and I wasn't comparing it with 'Simple Cookery') I probably wouldn't be disappointed.
A big selection of British and American recipes, including whole chapters on different kinds of cakes (eg Chocolate, Cakes with Fresh Fruit, Fruit Cakes, Traybakes, muffins, brownies, etc).
Also includes some savoury pies and cobblers.
There are many recipes I'd like to try, but a high proportion of complicated ones which I know won't use. There are some simple recipes, but the book doesn't believe in shortcuts even when they exist. So you won't find easy Danish pastries (see Nigella) or quick flaky pastry (see Delia).
Annoyingly, although there are loads of interesting yeast recipes, they only give quantities for fresh yeast. If you can't get this, you're told to turn to another page for info on dried yeast, but this only gives the amount of dried yeast for an 8oz plain white loaf, for richer breads you're on your own.
Any selection of recipes is going to depend on your own taste. What you won't find here are things like South African buttermilk rusks (do an internet search)or Middle Eastern baking. There's a recipe for apple crumble but no variations, so when I wanted to make rhubarb crumble and couldn't remember if you had to cook the rhubarb first, I needed Delia.
Sorry to keep mentioning Leith's 'Simple Cookery', but it tells you how long each recipe is likely to take, both in preparation and in cooking time. Unfortunately this book from the same stable doesn't use the same format - so you can't tell at a glance which are the easy recipes, and which to leave until a very rainy day.
This isn't a book for beginners. Some experience/knowledge is taken for granted.
It's worth being aware that there are very few photos.
I've tried about 5 recipes so far, 3 were very good, one was ok and one didn't work at all, so I guess that's about average.
Overall I'd say that this was a good addition to a cookery book collection, but don't throw away your other baking books.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent,
Im a pastry chef and i found this book fantastic. The bread section is particulary good and explains the actual proccesses of how baking works (or doesn't!). An excellent purchase for the chef or not.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Kitchen Resource,
I've had this book about 2 years now and am loving it more and more each month. At the moment I'm heavily into the bread making section and so far have not had a single duff outcome. What I love about the recipes are that they are scaled down so that the ingredients yield one large or two small loaves - not the huge quantities that some other books seem to imagine everyone wants! I've now developed a rhythm of baking bread on a Sunday, and one of these recipes lasts two of us all week. Perfect.
I've not tried lots of the other recipes, but the ones I have all turned out well: The Pear and Almond Cake is absolutely delicious - not to be missed!
But I'm just happy with the bread section and would heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys making their own bread and wants a wide repertoire of recipes to dip into together with helpful advice about the science of bread-making.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful,
Got this book for Christmas 07 and am slowly but surely working my way through it.
Simple, easy to follow and well explained. My only slight fault would be I would like even just a little picture beside each recipe to see how it's supposed to turn out. Other than that, 10/10
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just great!,
I can cook but I wasn't able to bake anything very well. This book is just jam-packed with great advice on how to make your baking a success. I like the way it explains the science behind baking - acid/alkali interactions, etc. This is a must for anyone learning to bake or for experienced bakers who want to improve their techniques and also find some great new recipes.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love baking then this is a book that you must own,
This book has a splendid collection of recipes that you would like to bake from. It also contains key info on the processes, techniques and do's and don'ts of baking i.e. not to over mix your muffin mixture, which is essential when you want to ensure that what you bake is divinely scrumptious.
It is a book that I refer to often when baking muffins or cakes for my home, kiddie's parties or school fetes. To date ( 2 1/2 years later) I have received nothing but good compliments when I bake from this book.
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Leiths Baking Bible by Fiona Burrell (Paperback - 10 May 2012)