Cookbook: The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Overall Impression: Living up to its formidable title, The Baking Bible provides detailed, authoritative instructions to create exceptional cakes, cookies, and breads.
You know those recipes that, at first glance, look simple and fast but in fact turn out to be long or laborious? Happily, The Baking Bible puts up no such facade. Each recipe is broken down so specifically that none fits on a single page — a positive thing when it comes to baking recipes. All that detail ensures the results are as delicious in reality as they sound on the page.
Recipes I Tried
- Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Silk Meringue Buttercream p. 73
- My Chocolate Chip Cookies p. 347
- Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecakes p. 171
Cooking From The Baking Bible
I enjoyed thumbing through the book, taking in the pretty photos (most recipes have one) and learned a lot through the "Golden Rules," "Special Tips," and "Troubleshooting Sections" at the beginning of each chapter. Some individual recipes also include "Highlights for Success" that call attention to why an ingredient is listed a certain way (e.g. why frozen berries are called for over fresh), along with notes for possible substitutions.
The headnotes also call attention to any special equipment required to make the recipe, as well as how far in advance items need to be made. The recipes themselves were often broken down into separate sub-recipes; for example, the cupcakes I made included separate recipes for the cake batter, crème Anglaise, Italian meringue, and completed buttercream. The book is particularly rich with information on cheesecakes, which have their own chapter.
With all the detail Beranbaum has included, following the recipes was easy and the end products were all impressive. The chocolate chip cookies were devoured, the baby blue cheesecakes received rave reviews at a potluck, and our friends couldn't get over how smooth and perfect the coconut silk meringue buttercream was on the cupcakes.
What Could Be Better
Have you ever heard the saying: strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin? While the book's specificity anticipates where you might go wrong and gives you the information you need to successfully execute each beautiful recipe, it can also come off as slightly daunting. I felt like I was undergoing a real project each time I tackled a treat.
My only other minor quibble is that the table of contents includes page numbers for the start of each chapter but not the individual recipes, making them take a little harder to find.
The wealth of explanation and particulars in The Baking Bible can at times be intimidating. (Maybe you want to make chocolate chip cookies without first browning the butter or rubbing the skins off freshly toasted walnuts!) But it also means that anyone from a novice to seasoned baker will be able to pull off an exceptional cake or bread. This cookbook is an excellent choice when you want to impress your guests or need guaranteed results.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.