Showing posts with label baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baking. Show all posts

Book Review: The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook: 60 Sweet and Savory Recipes for Your Oven and Mini Donut Maker by Sara Mellas

The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook: 60 Sweet and Savory Recipes for Your Oven and Mini Donut Maker by Sara Mellas is newly published cookbook. Who doesn’t love a good donut? From sugared or sprinkled to frosted or filled, donuts are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and sweeten your day. The best part is you don’t need to fuss with frying to whip up these fun, flavorful treats at home. Theses donuts can be made in an oven or donut maker, providing plenty of tried-and-true tricks and tasty recipes for beautifully baked donuts, donut holes, mini donuts, and more. From sweet staples, such as Old-Fashioned Cake Donuts to creative savory bakes like Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread Donuts, this donut cookbook serves you dozens of delightfully simple recipes to match every craving, along with perfectly paired frostings, glazes, and toppings.

The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook is a cookbook for every donut lover, particularly those of use that do not want to fry. Spending the last twelve weeks or so home with my family I have made all of my tried and true recipes, ran out of flour and yeast, and resupplied while looking for new things to try. This book was well timed, and inspired me to make some donuts. I am lucky enough to have a donut pan, and plenty of other pans, and was happy to find some new things for my weekend baking. I thought the introduction, including the basic techniques and supply lists were nicely done, and as a fellow New Englander the explanation behind writing the book resonated with me. I thought the recipes were easy to follow, well labeled, and detailed. I like the variants and options were also included, because I love to fiddle with recipes and find these suggestions helpful both in deciding if my idea will work and if the author already came up with something even better. There are several recipes that really caught my eye, some I was ready to try right away and others needed a shopping trip to complete so had to wait a bit. I was impressed that there were gluten free, vegan, and boozy recipes. The classics went over the best in my house, like the chocolate cake and pumpkin donuts- but the glazed blueberry and several filled donuts were also well received. 

The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook is a great resource for bakers that want to try their hand at donuts, without frying anything. Frequent bakers might want to add this to their cookbook collection, dabbles might want to borrow it from the library for the first look through to decide if they will use it often enough- I have a feeling I will be needed a paper copy.

Early Book Review: New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads; With Recipes for Birote, Bagels, Pan de Coco, Beignets, and More by Bryan Ford

New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads; With Recipes for Birote, Bagels, Pan de Coco, Beignets, and More by Bryan Ford is currently scheduled for release on June 16 2020. Learn how to make a sourdough starter, basic breads, as well as other innovative baked goods from start to finish with Instagram star Bryan Ford's (@artisanbryan) nontraditional approach to home baking. With less emphasis on perfecting crumb structure or obsessive temperature monitoring, Ford focuses on the tips and techniques he's developed in his own practice, inspired by his Honduran roots and New Orleans upbringing, to ensure your success and a good return on your time and effort. Ford's recipes include step-by-step instructions and photographs of all of the mixing, shaping, and baking techniques you'll need to know, with special attention paid to developing flavor as well as your own instincts.

New World Sourdough offers readers exactly what the title promises, an accessible guide to sourdough and recipes to use the starter. The descriptions and instructions are well written and easy to follow, and the photographs of the dough and finished product are very well done. I am still not a fan of the ingredients list being off to the side rather than at the top of the recipe, but it worked better for me here than it has in other cookbooks. I like the approachable style of this book, and it has made me a little more comfortable with my attempts at sourdough, which was feeling a bit too much work after some less than successful attempts while home  maintaining social distance from the rest of the world. There are a few recipe that on my list of things to try out soon, and we will see if they turn out nearly as well as I hope.

Early Book Review: Procrastibaking: 100 Recipes for Getting Nothing Done in the Most Delicious Way Possible by Erin Gardner

Procrastibaking: 100 Recipes for Getting Nothing Done in the Most Delicious Way Possible by Erin Gardner is currently scheduled for release on June 1 2020. Sometimes you need to take a mini vacation from the demands of daily life, and the kitchen is the best space for it. How can you return those emails when there’s dough on your hands? It would be counterproductive to handle clean laundry after dipping chocolates all afternoon, right? Whether you’re avoiding work, the news, or just trying to keep your hands busy, baking offers the perfect escape.

The digital galley for Procrastibaking landed in my hands at the perfect time- as my family were stuck working and learning from home and not going much of anywhere. When better to turn math lessons into treats, or delay dealing with a problem that really should not belong to you than by producing edibles in the kitchen? I enjoyed testing and planning to try out some of these 100 recipes. Some call for an hour, some call for a weekend, and all end in something yummy to eat. I still have several of the recipes bookmarked for further testing. I enjoyed the small asides that were between the recipes. Sadly some of the suggestions, like running down to the store for the perfect fruit or gourmet chocolate were not a good idea when I was reading the book I still enjoyed the sentiment- and could spend that time to see if I could order the same things online for delivery. As a whole; the recipes were easy to follow, the tone of the writing was fun and conversational, and I really enjoyed this book.
Procrastibaking is a fun and well written collection of recipes to try, regardless of if you should really be doing something else.

Book Review: Beginner's Baking Bible 130+ Recipes and Techniques for New Bakers by Heather Perine

Beginner's Baking Bible 130+ Recipes and Techniques for New Bakers by Heather Perine walks readers through all the essential techniques they need to bake over 130 sweet and savory recipes.. For a beginner, baking might seem like magic: mix the right ingredients, add heat, and watch a transformation happen before your eyes. But you don’t have to be a sorcerer to bake a flavorful pie, decadent layer cake, or pillowy loaf of bread. Learn the tools and staple ingredients you’ll need for baking (don’t worry, it’s not as much as you think). Pick up building block skills like measuring, mixing, kneading, creaming butter and sugar, and whipping egg whites. Soon, you’ll impress your family and friends with muffins, cookies, cakes, pies, quiches, and even savory galettes. 

Beginner's Baking Bible is a well organized and written cookbook. I like that the author takes the time to share what different instructions in the recipes mean, like the difference between folding, mixing, creaming, and so on. So many people make the attempt to bake, follow the recipes as best they can, and little things like mixing technique or forgetting to grease a pan ruin their good efforts. I grew up in a house where baking and canning was the norm, so I have a good foundation and have been baking on my own for years and binge watch baking shows whenever possible. However, reading these reminders and basic baking information only served to refresh my understanding- it did not feel condescending or simplistic. There were also some measurement charts and information at the end of the book that readers might find informative. I also think that the photography is well done. I think the only change I would make is moving the possible substitutions or additions to recipes closer to the ingredients list to help bakers prepare accordingly- if you are missing an ingredient some bakers might just give up on the recipe rather than reading to the end to discover that they could still make it work.  I think that while this is a perfect book for those that have dabbled in baking and want some instruction to improve their skills and results. I think long time home bakers might get just as much out of a read through as new bakers. Sometimes we get moving too fast and forget some of the basics as we go about our day.  As I just got some new baking tools over the holidays, I have a list of recipes from the book to try out, for instance I see some garlic dinner rolls in my near future.

Beginner's Baking Bible is a solid resource for new and long time bakers alike, while knowledgeable bakers might want to check it out from the library and newcomers might want to add it to their home library. 

Early Book Review: Half the Sugar, All the Love: 100 Easy, Low-Sugar Recipes for Every Meal of the Day by Jennifer Tyler Lee; Anisha Patel

Half the Sugar, All the Love: 100 Easy, Low-Sugar Recipes for Every Meal of the Day by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel is currently scheduled for release on December 24 2019. Today children routinely consume three times the recommended daily allowance of added sugar, which puts them at an unprecedented risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight, and even nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Half the Sugar, All the Love is here to help, with 100 doctor-approved recipes that cut the sugar (by half—or more!) without sacrificing the flavors our families love. It’s an eye-opening education, a program of healthy eating, and a cookbook chock-full of easy, delicious recipes all in one. 

Half the Sugar, All the Love is a well organized, easy to follow cookbook. The text explains the various types of sugar and the science of how our bodies deal with the sugar we eat. I think this is a great resource for people trying to make the change to eat less sugar, and I think it will serve parents starting healthy eating habits for the whole family well. For those of us more set in our ways, and more resistant to making huge changes all at once I think the information and recipes here can help us make small changes in our lives, and make us more aware of how we can make some flavorful choices that could help us be healthier. I am glad to say that some of the substitutions are things I already do, but the book inspired some other changes in my regular cooking. So, even if you have no plans to go full tilt toward limiting the added sugar in your current diet, this book could inspire you to taking smaller steps towards healthier eating. I was inspired by some of the information and recipes to try some new things and mix things up a little.For readers like vme I would suggest borrowing from the library, however for readers that are invested in lowering the added sugar in their diet I fully support adding this book to your home library. 

Half the Sugar, All the Love is a great resource for readers new to cooking, or well established in their own home kitchen, that want to lower the amount of added sugar in their family's diet. 

Book Review: Starter Sourdough: The Step-by-Step Guide to Sourdough Starters, Baking Loaves, Baguettes, Pancakes, and More by Carroll Pellegrinelli

Starter Sourdough: The Step-by-Step Guide to Sourdough Starters, Baking Loaves, Baguettes, Pancakes, and More by Carroll Pellegrinelli is a cookbook to get readers started to more creative bread. For perfect sourdough bread, you need a healthy and happy starter—that yeasty concoction that gives sourdough its tangy, delicious flavor. Starter Sourdough helps you get the tricky starter process down pat, so you can have mouthwatering loaves, rolls, baguettes—and even cakes and cookies! This guide simplifies the process of making your own starter so it’s accessible to anyone, no matter your skill level. Keep your tasty new creation alive and thriving with the help of clear instructions accompanied by beautiful photographs. Then try your hand at baking Perfect Italian Sourdough, Sourdough Marble Rye Bread, Double Piecrust, Sourdough Pretzels, Sourdough Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts, and more.

As someone that had a cinnamon 'friendship' bread starter ruling her kitchen for years I initial dreaded the idea of another starter in my house. As much as everyone loved that bread, there just was not enough variety and I could just not stand to eat anymore of it.  Starter Sourdough is the book that broke me of my fear of starters, and got me cultivating a new batch because of the versatility of this stuff. The fact that I can freeze it for later use, or even dry it, means that I am less likely to become overwhelmed with the amount of dough in the house, and makes my prep work for my big holiday baking sprees so much easier. 

I found the instructions and explanations to be very easy to follow and well organized. I like that there was so much room for customization- such as changing types of flour for flavor or diet restrictions. I cannot wait to try out the Roasted Garlic Sourdough and the Honey Oatmeal Bread,  as well as the more traditional loafs. However, I am very excited to give the sweeter recipes a go once my starter it ready, like the chocolate chip cookies, cheese and garlic and cheese bialys, and pretzels.   

Starter Sourdough is a book I would recommend adding to your kitchen library for anyone interested in working with a sourdough starter. I see much weekend baking in my future.

Book Review: Cookies for Everyone: 99 Deliciously Customizable Bakeshop Recipes by Mimi Council

Cookies for Everyone: 99 Deliciously Customizable Bakeshop Recipes by Mimi Council offers readers the recipes and detailed instructions for baking a variety of cookies. From soft and chewy basics to sandwich cookies, biscotti, macarons, and Florentines, easy recipes to help home bakers master the art of cookies, including tips for gluten-free, vegan, and high-altitude baking. Mimi's Tips and Tricks walk readers through key steps and techniques, demystifying baking; her clear instructions cover everything from basic cookies to sandwich cookies and biscotti. And for anyone who thinks more sophisticated cookies (such as macarons and Florentines) are impossible to make at home, let alone for "special diets," think again -- Mimi's excellent counsel will have you baking up a storm in no time.
Cookies for Everyone is a well organized cookbook for cookie lovers. I love giving cookies for gifts around the holidays- so this book was perfectly timed for me. I like that the book offers the basic how to's, equipment advice, and ingredient information before even touching on the recipes, so that those that have never been bakers can catch up to the more experienced readers right away. I also liked that there are specific instructions at the beginning of each chapter- because making some styles of cookies require some different techniques even if the basic ingredients are the same. I also like the there are instructions for changing up recipes to be gluten free or at high altitudes included for recipes. No one needs to miss out on their favorite cookie or guess at how to make changes to a recipe. I enjoyed the selection of cookies in the book, and how well organized it was. I do have a collection of cookie cookbooks, and am someone that spends much time researching for the perfect set of recipes for my holiday baking. I have to admit that I am not likely to buy any more cookbooks, but if I were this might just make it in my collection. I do highly recommend it for library collections, and would certainly borrow it from my local library to revisit some of the recipes.

Cookies for Everyone is a solid cookbook with some great cookie recipes. It is well structured and written- making it accessible to new and experienced bakers alike. 

Book Review: Till Death do us Tart (Bakeshop Mystery) by Ellie Alexander

Till Death do us Tart is the eight book in the Bakeshop Mystery series by Ellie Alexander. I have not read the previous books in the series. I think those that have followed the series will have a more satisfying read, but even coming in this late to the series I was able to catch up and enjoy the read.

Jules Capshaw has too much on her plate—and she’s feeling the pinch: the whole town of Ashland, Oregon, is in on the surprise Elizabethan-themed wedding she’s planning for her mom and soon-to-be stepdad. But is her secret scheme half-baked? She’s hiding racks overflowing with sweet treats while Torte is topsy-turvy with a major remodel and the return of Jules’s estranged husband, Carlos. And until now, Jules had no clue about the bitter family feud that has her friend Lance frazzled and suspicious. But when a party crasher takes someone out with a serving of poisoned wine and Jules discovers the deadly cup was intended for her, it’s time to turn the tables on a killer.

Till Death do us Tart is as much about Jules growing as a character as it is the mystery. I liked that Juliet's sleuthing with her friends was well paced and had a good number of twists and turns along the way. There was much more going on than I expected, and was pleased with the resolution. It was cool to see the changes and growth in Jules, her relationships, and her business as the story went on. I can think of many interesting ways her future might go, and some of the people that might be involved in future mysteries. I was a little annoyed with how she just kept leaving Carlos and his son alone in her house with no note or information about where she was going. While this might be just how they have always been together and this sort of thing explained earlier in the series, it really bothered me. If I was running around trying to solve a murder or two I would make sure people knew where I was. On the other hand, I liked the inclusion of the recipies at the end, and I fully expect to try two of them on my next day off.

Till Death do us Tart is a delightful read, for the mystery and the characters. While I think fans of the series will enjoy it more than I, it still was engaging read.