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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 15 April 2008
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.
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on 2 May 2011
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.

GOOD
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.

NOT GOOD
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.

OVERALL
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.
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on 31 October 2007
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.
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on 20 March 2010
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.
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on 11 March 2008
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!
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on 15 March 2016
What a great book, loving the recipes and have tried a few already with many more that I want to have a go at. Well written and presented with clear instructions. I am going to be looking for more Leiths cookery books in the near future.
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on 9 February 2016
I love this book!
I wanted a book that covers recipes for all areas of baking, and this book delivers. The recipes are easy to follow, and they work really well. So far I've made the marble cake and brownies and they were absolutely outstanding. I particularly love the introduction/basics section and the forwards to each section eg. for cakes, there are a few pages explaining the main methods of making cakes, why this produces different results, etc. It also includes essential tips and things to look out for. LOVE IT!
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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2010
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.
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on 6 May 2008
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
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on 7 September 2015
For anyone who wants a bit more of a technical understanding when it comes to their baking, this book is perfect for you! Plenty of recipes and details, enough to keep even the most keen bakers occupied for months
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