Which baking cookbook should I use to break in my new Kitchenaid stand mixer?
Lucky me, I received a Kitchenaid stand mixer for a Christmas present. I'd like to get some go to dessert recipes and company worthy baked goods under my belt. Now I just need to narrow it down to a good cookbook or two to get me going.
Here's what I have in my Amazon shopping cart:
Baking From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang
Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day
Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum
also is there a concensus on
Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson VS The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Thanks all, I can't wait to get baking!
Lucky you! I hope I can get a KitchenAid stand mixer someday.
I like Beranbaum's books because they really explain the purpose of ingredients and techniques, so her cake book would be a must for me. I also don't think you can go wrong with Dorie. Enjoy--
I got my KA a couple of years ago. I don't have a baking cookbook but will tell you that it's great for cookie doughs. You can improve peanut butter cookie recipes by adding very mini peanut butter cups (King Arthur Flour has them) or chopping some unwrapped mini Reese cups (found in the candy aisle) but at things like that at the last minute for just a slow speed couple of whirls or else they get pulverized.
I was also pretty dense so had to have a poster tell me to use the dough blade to KNEAD yeast doughs. Well, for heavens sake, now I can make yummy rolls for dinner with very little effort, just good planning if the dough needs to rise twice.
Me, too! Which one did you get? I got the Pro600, 525 watt, handles up to 14 cups of flour. I have a baking book from cooking school. I made the regular bread recipe from the KA cookbook that came with it, not really impressed with that one.
I think the next bread will be my regular, no recipe method.... ha! I'm also looking forward to making marshmallows and a sponge cake.
There are so many great bakers' books to choose from-- Alice Medrich, Flo Braker, Maida Heatter, Lora Brody, Nick Malgieri just to name a few off the top of my head. Or to get a 'taste' of different bakers try 'Baking with Julia.' That's a great introduction to numerous bakers. And if you can see the series so much the better! It's great to also see how they do what they do.
Do you like ultra-precise directions (like, using 5 T cake flour, 2 T bread flour, 1 c all purpose flour as your flour segment and 1/2 c sour cream, 1 T cream, and 1 T buttermilk with 1/4 c egg as your liquid segment to make muffins, or do you prefer 1 1/2 c flour, 3/4 c milk, 1 egg type recipes)? Do you like restaurant or home style desserts?
Have you seen any of these books? Most of the books you've listed are extremely picky and particular (although not so much the case for Dorie Greenspan and the Back in the Day cookbook). I think it's a personality thing, maybe, as to whether you love those or hate them. If you like homey desserts and don't "plate" them in some complicated way, and don't want very complicated, particular directions, I would definitely advise something else. Otherwise, I certainly know those types of books have their fans.
I also think it's worth considering if you like to make the standards (chocolate cake, blueberry muffins, apple pie) or something "different." (Actually some of the more offbeat cookbooks for the home cook contain a wider range of unusual recipes.)
I don't mind precise if I get the results. Unfortunately my local store doesnt carry these so Iv'e relied on amazon.com book previews to get the gist. I'm not a huge fan of fancy plating, but I wouldn't mind perfecting this type of recipe for dinner parties and such. I guess I may need to look into 1 of each style. Thanks for the input!
willownt: You say <Most of the books you've listed are extremely picky and particular >
Well, baking is a science, and it's important the directions be precise in order to ensure the person following the recipe will be successful in making the cake (or whatever it is). I prefer "homey" desserts, but I also want to be sure they're going to turn out.
I get what you're saying, but there is a difference between providing directions that are extremely picky and particular, and those that are merely precise. There are reliable, clear cookbooks that are not fussy.
As someone who has been baking solo since I was 9, I don't need extensive directions. Also I do think there are plenty of tried and true recipes that beat the recipes in some of the more scientific tomes, and are vastly easier to make. Not all of us want to buy a carton of sour cream to use 1 T in a recipe, or juggle three different types of flour to make a muffin. I think those who want nice results of home-type baking might not be happy with cookbooks that expect the baker to have a staff of underlings making various components. I like books with an approachable attitude. I personally don't find that in most of the scientific tomes, that are a bit of a killjoy. Someone like Geraldine Holt, Edna Staebler, Marion Cunningham (in Fannie Farmer) or the Farm Journal and King Arthur Flour cookbooks are all "tried and true" without turning baking into an exhausting enterprise.
I was about to say "the Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum, altho anything by Rose will be an epiphany. And Dorie's book is also great.
"Baking with Julia" (although not a new book) is a wonderful compendium of fantastic patissiers and bakers working with Julia, and the recipes are wonderful. For a cake book, Carole Walter's "Great Cakes" is filled with winners.
Then there's Maida Heatter. She's an icon in the dessert business. Any serious baker will have at least one of her fantastic books. :)
l have all the Maida Heatter bakery books, even after moving 4 times in 6 years. The recipes in the 6 books never miss and instructions are perfect.
I'd suggest that you take your favorite cake recipe and make it in the Kitchenaid. I found a real difference in the way butter and sugar are creamed and then the whole thing coming together.
(The three screws on the metal support for the bowl are for adjusting the height of the bowl, just in case it needs adjusting.)
For those put off by the cost of the newest and best, I can report that I bought a reconditioned one from the factory twenty two years ago and it's still working wonderfully well. Watch the kitchenaid website for their sale (etc.) portals.
King Arthur Flour's website has recipes. In particular their basic "hearth breads" recipe is a good intro to yeasted breads. They also have a YouTube channel with some priceless videos about how to shape loaves.
Don't knead too much with the KitchenAid.
Since no one else has mentioned David Lebovitz, I will. I just made a milk chocolate mousse from him this December that I liked so much, I made it 12 times at least. If I were starting to make desserts today, he's where I'd start.
However, when I was learning to make desserts (I like cakes in particular), Maida Heatter was Queen of the World. Her Book of Great Desserts is an excellent place to start. Her Queen Mother Cake (in the chocolate book), is one of the most successful recipes I've used.
A little later, I found lots of desserts in Martha Stewart's books. She has a baking cookbook now which, while I haven't used it, I think looks good.
I have never used Rose Levy Beranbaum's books. She just appeared at the wrong time in my life. I hear she's excellent, though.
Oh, and you'll find the recipe for my favorite cake, the 1-2-3-4 yellow cake, in Alice Waters' Art of Simple Food. If you can make this cake, AFAIC, you'll never have to make any other kind of yellow cake.
I love the Baked Bakery (Brooklyn) cookbooks. Also, I got the Joy the Baker book recently and have been enjoying some of the recipes from that too.
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful recommendations! My plan is to reserve most of these from my library and explore which style appeals the most to me as a new baker. That way I'll figure out which ones deserve a coveted spot on my limited cookbook shelf space.