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Jun 27, 2007 08:35 AM

Cake/Bread/Pie&Pastry Bibles Cookbooks

I am thinking of buying one or more of the these Cookbooks by Rose Levy Berenbaum. Are the recipes consistently successful? Or are other books on these subjects better? What I am most interested in is her explanations of the process, it seems so few consumer (as opposed to professional) books do this for baking. I appreciate any thoughts. Thanks.

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  1. RLB's Cake Bible is a great book, if you want to understand cakes and cake making. It is the best book for high-end cakes, like for decorating. For everyday cakes, brownies and desserts Baking from My home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan is wonderful. Dorie was the ghost writer for Julia Child's baking books. I also reco Roland Mesnier's Dessert University. He was the White House pastry chef for over 30 years and also taught patisserie. His and Dorie's recipes are easy to follow and I haven't had any problems with results being fabulous. Roland has a book on just cakes coming out this fall. I've pre-ordered it and can't wait. If I could only buy 4 cake books these would be my choices.

    1. I think it depends on how technical you want to be. I really like the Cake Bible and can find anything I need in it. The recipes can be more difficult. If I want a quick, fail proof cake, I use CI's Best Recipe cookbook. If I want to play around and work on different techniques, I use the Cake Bible. Since you're interested in explanations, the Cake Bible would be right up your alley. The next book I want to buy is the one kayakado mentioned, Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser

        I've not been baking much lately, but I think the Cake Bible is an invaluable resource. I love her white spice cake.

      2. Here's the thing -- RLB's recipes are EXACT. You follow the directions to the tenth of a gram weighed out, you do every seemingly-pointless thing, and you will come up with exactly what the recipe is supposed to do. It is a great resource for learning new techniques. It is not a good set of books for throwing something together in a couple of hours. You HAVE to read the recipe from start to finish and make a plan, or you will be horribly discouraged. Also, check her website for addenda or errata before you begin... the focaccia bread recipe in the Bread Bible, for example, fails as written in the book, but succeeds with the erratum, which I printed and inserted into the book.

        Now, RLB has been known to lurk on these boards, so she may have things to add.

        1. Thanks for the insight. This blogger made me want to give her books a try as I am only an occasional baker, thus my interest in the explanations:

          1. I have her Bread Bible, and it's pretty good, though overly fussy in technique at times.