The Baking Bible


Rose Levy Beranbaum

It occurred to me that with all the book reviews I have written over the last 18 months, I have not written one on my favorite pastime – baking!  Typically, I just read the recipe I am following in my cookbooks.  Recently, I have been spending more time reading about the science behind the baking.  I am hopeful that understanding why it is or is not important to use a specific ingredient or blend ingredients in a specific way will be helpful to upping my game.  For example, I just made my first batch of French Macarons and it was helpful to understand the importance in allowing the meringue cookies rest for an hour before putting them into the oven.

I recently read all the technical sections of The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  Reading this information was far from overwhelming.  The author delivers essential information in a concise manner and repeats it in various places within the cookbook.  For example, I learned that you can’t just use any flour that you have on hand.  Unbleached flour has more protein than bleached flour which is why my last pie crust was tougher than usual as I used unbleached flour.  The author also shares her favorite “go to” vendors for ingredients such as vanilla, chocolate and more. 

Baking is more than just following the recipe; it’s about understanding the why behind the process so that you can understand what might be preventing your baked good from being the best.  I promised myself that I would not buy any more cookbooks but I see that Beranbaum has written other baking books.  I might just break that promise to myself and if I do, it will be for a worthy cause.