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The Baker's Dozen Cookbook

Author: Rick Rodgers, Flo Braker, Baker's Dozen

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Morrow Cookbooks, 1st edition (November 1, 2001)

Book Description

More than ten years ago, cookbook author and teacher Marion Cunningham and professional baker Amy Pressman met occasionally to talk about the wonders and mysteries of baking. They chatted, exchanged ideas, offered suggestions, and ended up solving some of their difficult baking problems. Slowly a concept took shape. Suppose groups of like-minded bakers were to meet to exchange ideas and solve baking problems?

At the first meeting of The Baker's Dozen, forty people showed up with forty lemon meringue pies. The topic of the meeting was weeping and shrinking meringues and how to prevent them from happening. (The solution: Heat the egg whites and sugar while beating to avoid weeping; use more egg whites to solve the problem of shrinking.)

The word spread quickly, and The Baker's Dozen has grown to more than ten times the original number -- there are now more than four hundred members in the Bay Area. The groups continue to have two simple goals: Share what you know about baking and learn from one another.

Now you can share the collective experiences and favorite recipes of The Baker's Dozen in The Baker's Dozen Cookbook, with recipes selected and tested by some of the most respected and most accomplished bakers in the business. Lindsey Shere, co-founder and pastry chef of Chez Panisse, shares the secrets of tarts. Authors Carol Field and Fran Gage and baker Peter Reinhart offer their collective wisdom on yeast breads and flatbreads. John Phillip Carroll teaches about easy quick breads, coffee cakes, and muffins. Renowned author and baker Flo Braker and her team share their years of cake-baking experience. Carolyn Weil and her group offer the ultimate advice and techniques for pies and piecrusts. Robert Morocco and Julia Cookenboo divulge their trade secrets of making foolproof cookies equal to those of any quality bakeshop.

The Baker's Dozen Cookbook goes far beyond recipes. You'll benefit from what these bakers learned on their field trips. You'll learn tricks such as using dental floss to cut neat slices of creamy cheesecake. You'll learn the differences between a pastry bag and a parchment cone; between a pâte brisée, a "broken dough," and a pâte sablée, a "sandy dough"; between butter and shortening in determining the flakiness of a crust; and so much more.

So whether you simply want to become a better baker yourself or to form a Baker's Dozen group with others, all you need is The Baker's Dozen Cookbook. It puts four hundred of America's best bakers and everything they know right by your side.

Review by Diana's Desserts:

Over ten years ago, a group of bakers in the San Francisco Bay Area gathered to share information and recipes. The group includes an excellent selection of cooks including Flo Baker, Marion Cunningham, Alice Medrich, and Carolyn Beth Weil but is now part of a group that's 400+ members.

Besides including a fine selection of recipes, there are also sections which discuss ingredients in detail and specific techniques. For instance, the Fresh Ginger-Spice Cookies includes a reference that will tell you how professional chefs form the dough logs that don't contain air bubbles. Following the recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie there are two pages of information about meringue.

Some cookbooks includes lots or pretty pictures and not a lot of content. This is not one of them. While there are some lovely pictures in this book (like the Chocolate Raspberry Cake), some of the pictures are to show you things that would be hard to explain in text (the different stages of beating egg whites). If the choice was between more pictures or more recipes/information, then I believe they made the right choice.

This would be an excellent book for anyone who's really serious about baking -- either a new baker just starting or an experienced baker who wants to expand their knowledge. .......Diana, Diana's Desserts

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