The King Arthur company has produced flour and other baking ingredients of high reputation for over two centuries. Similarly trustworthy, and reflecting their years of kitchen experience, The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion offers over 400 recipes for all kinds of basic and up-to-the-minute specialties--from pancakes and waffles to muffins and quickbreads; from coffee cakes, pizzas and crackers, to hearthbreads, cakes and cookies, including two complete chocolate chip recipes, for soft and crispy kinds. This is one of those books that no baking kitchen should lack--not only for its comprehensive repertoire and recipe dependability, but for the intimate ease with which it fulfills its promise. What this means, partly, is that technical information is perfectly pitched to ensure relaxed understanding, offering neither too much nor too little detail. It's the range and quality of these baking "backstories," including, for example, how to control cookie-dough spreading while baking, plus numerous hints and shortcuts, that help make the book so valuable.
Beginning, sensibly, with a concise section on measuring--the authors "first plea" is that readers buy and use a scale--the book then treats breakfast specialties, such as Gingerbread Pancakes and Pumpkin Praline Waffles; pursues quickbreads like Maple Cornbread; cobblers including those made under both cake and pie crusts; Sesame Crisps among other crackers; and yeast breads, such as bagels, a basic White Bread 101, and an exemplary Italian Bread, among others. An entire chapter is devoted to sourdough with instructions for creating your own starter. Readers will also want to try Strawberry-Lemon Chess Pies, Chocolate Lava Cake, and Pumpkin Cheesecake. A concluding everything-you've-always-wanted-to know ingredients glossary includes explorations on flour milling; of "faux fats" and sweeteners; the use of eggs in a dough or batter, in yeast breads and custards; information on the latest in European-style cultured butters, among much else. Color photos and numerous step-by-step technical drawings provide further guidance. With an illustrated section on tools, too, both high-tech and homey, such as the flour wand, the book has it all, for new and seasoned bakers alike. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
The company that makes one of the pantry's most recognized baking ingredients-flour-presents this practical and comprehensive baking cookbook. The book begins, of course, with a no-nonsense discussion of measuring flour, a step in the baking process that thwarts many would-be pastry chefs (the authors urge homecooks to use a scale). Recipes are divided into category-based chapters-from breakfasts (with dozens of derivatives of pancakes and waffles), fried doughs, and quickbreads to yeasted breads, cookies and bars, and cakes. Carb-haters, beware: there's not much protein in these pages. Many recipes are tried-and-true formulas for favorite dishes, such as the Simple But Perfect Pancake, Simple Sugar Cookies, and Classic Blueberry Muffins; others are more daring variations on a theme, such as White Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake, and Potato, Dill and Onion Crackers. Detailed and logical explanations of how baking works, plus an in-depth discussion of baking ingredients make this a valuable guide for beginning bakers and an informative addition for pastry aficionados. 16 pages of color photos. 200 line drawings.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.