BAKE FROM SCRATCH

Vol­ume Two: Ar­ti­san Recipes for the Home Baker

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight -

Brian Hart Hoff­man, 83 Press (MARCH) Hard­cover $39.95 (400pp), 978-1-940772-48-6

Bak­ing is chem­istry; bak­ing is alchemy; bak­ing is craft. Brian Hart Hoff­man’s Bake from Scratch: Ar­ti­san Recipes for the Home Baker, Vol­ume Two cel­e­brates all of these as­pects with more than 600 recipes from the sopho­more year of Bake from Scratch mag­a­zine. It’s a hefty, well-il­lus­trated idea book for the se­ri­ous baker who wants to try new recipes and tech­niques.

The large for­mat al­lows for most nearly ev­ery recipe to be de­lin­eated on a sin­gle page, and it falls open eas­ily to lie flat for ease of use. Large, lu­mi­nous color pho­to­graphs for all of the recipes and smaller thumb­nails for many oth­ers are very help­ful guides to­ward the per­fect crumb, crust, or cream. Bak­ers will also ap­pre­ci­ate that mea­sure­ments are given by both vol­ume and weight.

There is not a lot of chap­ter or recipe pre­am­ble, and the book pre­sumes knowl­edge of ad­vanced tech­niques and cab­i­nets full of spe­cial­ized gear, in­gre­di­ents, and pans. As such, it seems best suited for more ac­com­plished bak­ers, though the less ex­pe­ri­enced may be in­spired by all the bak­ing porn to chal­lenge them­selves to cre­ate a spe­cial-oc­ca­sion treat.

The di­verse range of bak­ing recipes is par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy. Some are culled from a num­ber of tra­di­tional cuisines, like Greek tsoureki, a braided sweet dough fla­vored with mahleb (a spice made from ground cherry pits), and the hand­ful of recipes for vari­a­tions of roost­erkoek, puffy grilled bread from South Africa. Other in­no­va­tive recipes in­volve un­usual fla­vor com­bi­na­tions, like cel­ery Gruyère gougères and charred squash pound cake with black pep­per and parme­san. The book also in­cludes an ex­ten­sive hol­i­day cookie sec­tion with in­struc­tions for ev­ery­thing from homey short­breads to elab­o­rately dec­o­rated “em­broi­dered” cookie or­na­ments.

This would be an in­spi­ra­tional ad­di­tion to an ac­com­plished baker’s cook­book col­lec­tion. It’s an im­pres­sive vol­ume that is guar­an­teed to stretch any­one’s reper­toire of bak­ing skills and recipes.

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