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197 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a foolproof book on how to bake!
I'm not very fond of 'reality' type TV programmes and do my best to avoid them. But my wife and I have enjoyed this series on baking despite it being a reality show.

So, the TV programme is pretty good (for a reality show!), but is the book any good?

Even if you've not seen the TV programme we heartily recommend this book. We were really impressed...
Published on 1 Sep 2011 by A. Darbyshire

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some nice recipes but a little disappointing.
I enjoyed the series and this book looked excellent. Have made a few of the recipes so far, I have to say they are good but not great.
The chocolate-chilli cake needed three times as much chilli as called for and it was still only just about tasteable (my friend fed it to her small children without them even noticing the chilli in it). The marmalade cake was nice but...
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by ekk100


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197 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a foolproof book on how to bake!, 1 Sep 2011
By 
A. Darbyshire "Tony D" (Gerrards Cross, Bucks, England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
I'm not very fond of 'reality' type TV programmes and do my best to avoid them. But my wife and I have enjoyed this series on baking despite it being a reality show.

So, the TV programme is pretty good (for a reality show!), but is the book any good?

Even if you've not seen the TV programme we heartily recommend this book. We were really impressed with three things. Firstly the quality of the book, particularly the photography (and the typography) is first class and beautifully produced. Secondly, the recipes are well written out and extremely easy to follow, which means results are guaranteed if you follow them properly. Finally the recipes are scrumptiously delicious! The only downside is that the recipes are very moreish, which is not good for the waistline.

We do collect cook books and we think this is one of the best we've seen on how to bake, and get great results. Thanks to Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, who both inspire and give some great ideas on how to be a master baker, we think we may have found our 'ultimate' baking book!! We highly recommend it to those who aspire to bake... and who want to get top class results without the fear of failure!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some nice recipes but a little disappointing., 24 Oct 2011
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the series and this book looked excellent. Have made a few of the recipes so far, I have to say they are good but not great.
The chocolate-chilli cake needed three times as much chilli as called for and it was still only just about tasteable (my friend fed it to her small children without them even noticing the chilli in it). The marmalade cake was nice but I was very generous with the marmalade compared to the recipe. Other friends who have the book have also reported that many of the recipes are tasteless.
Annother annoying point is the hundreds of photos often put the instructions across multiple pages. The recipe for Paul's focaccia is spread over about 6 pages, which is not great when you have hands covered in sticky bread mix and are trying to turn pages with your elbows (also if like me you like to use a book stand).
I've yet to make the macarrons but was surprised that during the show they made a big thing of tapping them on the counter before they go in the oven, yet there is no mention of this in the book. Strange.
I'm glad I bought it and will be trying out more recipes in the future, I think you just need to be generous with any flavourings.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Bake Off, 1 Oct 2011
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
As a retired chef I would recommend this book to any bakers. Excellent easy to follow instructions, good illustrations. Ties in very well with the series. Even as a chef my choux pastry and hot water pastry were not the best and I avoided making these when I could. However, now they are much improved and my family appreciate this and it is all thanks to this book. It has also revived my interest in baking which since I retired has been put on hold.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 5 Sep 2011
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
Great book to accompany series. Beautiful pictures and well laid out recipes. Even an option to unlock exclusive recipies from the series.
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Cook Book and Good Tie In, 26 Aug 2011
By 
Syriat - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
Great British Bake-off has really gone unnoticed on a TV landscape overflowing with cookery programs and quite why this is I can't explain. This book tie's into series 2. It isn't written by the two judges (Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood). They do however write the foreword and provide the technical tests from the series in the book. Also some of the recipes from the contestants are in here and the finalists recipes can be unlocked from a code contained in the book.

The technical bakes are a real highlight as the step-by-step guides really make it clear what to do. My Tarte au Citron turned out nicely from this. I am yet to try the others. The instructions are clear and there are occasional tips from Mary Berry included as well. Its also very brightly illustrated - although not every bake is illustrated.

I'll try and add to this review as I use this book more and more. I firmly expect to use it a lot as there is a lot here that just begs you to try. It works as a tie-in as well as a baking guide in its own right. If you enjoy the show then this is ideal. If you want to improve your baking and try some new recipes (some standard and some a little more daring) then this also fits the bill.
Update - tried one of the bread recipes. And the hazelnut and apricot loaf worked well. Watching this weeks episode am even happier with it!
Also have tried the rustic loaf. The instructions need careful reading and you need lots of prep time. But it made very good bread
Further Update - got the finalists recipes this morning
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Four recipes in, and not entirely chuffed!, 20 Jan 2012
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
This is a lovely book, with a lot of good information, guidance, and easy to follow advice. It is actually one of those rare cook books that are worth reading cover to cover, rather than just cherry picking recipes and diving straight in.
I received this as a gift, and though I loved the series, I'm not sure I would have bought the book myself.
Strangely there is no note of who baked what. Even just a simple chart of what was cooked in each episode would have been a good start.

The proof of the writing however is in the baking, and I'm now on my fourth recipe in the book.

'Coffee & Walnut Tray Bake' - It was glaringly obvious to me that the cake tin size, and quantity of ingredients were at odds. You need to double the quantity of cake mix (and increase the cooking time by about 10 minutes), or halve the size of the tin (unless you want a 1.5cm high pancake style cake!), and the topping is only correct ratio if you make a double batch of cake mix. Taste wise, this is nothing more than a very traditional Victoria Sponge style cake mix with some coffee and walnuts in it, and makes quite a mediocre and slightly dry cake. The topping could actually do with being plain, and the cake slightly more coffee flavoured (though that is all a matter of personal taste).
'Apple & Maple Tray Bake' - Is FANTASTIC, and true to every last milligram, and despite years of baking, this has to be THE best cake I have ever made. It was light, fluffy, packed with flavour but not intense or cloying, good balance of textures, and it was universally loved.
'Carrot & Pistachio Tray Bake' needs work, if you follow the recipe, you will find there is too much topping and the cake is very dense. I will attempt it again, as it's a nice twist, especially with the different texture and colour of the pistachios adding a quirky element to a traditional favourite. The spice balance was good on this too. I'll probably squeeze the carrot in a sieve to dry it out (and maybe use a little less), and add a little more raising agent to see if this helps with the density.
'Banana and Almond Tray Bake' - Is not bad at all! It's a simple, tasty cake, and the almonds work really well with banana, but I wouldn't bother with putting the flakes on the bottom of the tin, as they just fall off and make a mess when you're eating it!

So, all in all, I wouldn't have bought this book. I am very surprised at the inaccuracies I've already found (that other reviewers have also highlighted), and equally amazed that Mary Berry would put her name to something like this. Books worth having are anything by Good Housekeeping! Tried and triple tested recipes, with numbered steps in each recipe, usually with calorie counts too, and they ALWAYS have pictures of every recipe. Even better is to use the BBC Good Food website, and you can search by ingredient, and see reviews and comments on each recipe so you know how good it is, and any hints or tips before wasting lots of time or ingredients.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good recipes, nice photos, but more photos would be great, 25 Oct 2011
By 
Pawan (Southampton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
I loved last year's bake off book ("the Great British Book of Baking") so I had wondered if this would be distinctly different - and it is. Linda Collister has again got some great recipes, and the explanations are good. Nice to see some of the best recipes from the bake off included as well.

My only complaint is that around half of the recipes don't have photos. Don't get me wrong - the recipes that do have photos look wonderful, and there are some great step-by-step photos illustrating the methods in each chapter; but in this kind of a baking book, it is so helpful to see a picture of what you are aiming for. I'm the kind of person who is inspired by the photo - there are lots of photos of the contestants, and several of twirly bits of bunting and the like - but I would rather see a photo of the cakes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware of making the pork pie pastry, 24 Oct 2011
By 
Mrs. S. Pyke "DOOGALS" (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
i have tried many recipes from this book,and by following and trusting the instructons provided have almost always had good results my cooking does not always resemble the picture - but still tastes good)
when making the pork pies in this book i nearly had a scolding disaster by following the instructions with the recipe provided the recipe states that you add the hot water to melted lard before adding to the flour to make the pastry, which of course i did this resulted in me & my daughter almost being burnt & scolded by the spitting hot fat,so once everything was cleaned up( hot fat gets everywhere we continued to make the pastry by adding a new weighed up amount of melted lard as the previous amount was all over my walls and floor to the flour and then the hot water to the flour this proved a better success ,we then continued to make the pork pies and they were a good success. but i will make more of my own judgement when reading instructions from this book in future.

i feel that last years book was a better book for recipes and instructions
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great all rounder, 7 Aug 2011
By 
H. J. Kennedy (Leicestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
I may well be biased but I have to say that this book is fantastic. It's packed with recipes, has foolproof step by step instructions and to top it off has been beautifully designed. I've only made the perfect white loaf so far and it was delicious. Looking forward to trying lots more recipes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 7 Oct 2011
This review is from: Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets (Hardcover)
We absolutely love the TV series in our house so I was excited to get the cook book and try some of the recipes for myself. I haven't been disappointed. I do bake anyway and have lots of cookery books but I love the step by step explanations and the tips this book gives you, for example place a tray of tap water in bottom of oven when baking bread to give a crisp crust. Have tried quite a few of the recipes and have had delicious results. The book contains some simple recipes suitable for complete beginners and children (my kids love helping) and some more complicated recipes. Some of the recipes are flagged up "good for kids" or "great for celebrations." Must admit I haven't tried any of the complicated recipes yet but I'm sure they'll be easy to follow with the step by step instructions.
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