The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking With Over 200 Magnificent Recipes

Book - 2008
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Great day in the morning, BakeWise is out! You are holding the book that everyone has been waiting for. Sure enough, Shirley did not hold back--it''s all here. Lively and fascinating, BakeWise reads like a mystery novel as we follow sleuth Shirley while she solves everything from why cakes and muffins can be dry to génoise deflation and why the cookie crumbles.

With her years of experience from big-pot cooking for 140 teenage boys and her classic French culinary training to her work as a research biochemist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Shirley manages to put two and two together in unique and exciting ways. Some information is straight out of Shirley''s wildly connecting brain cells. She describes useful techniques, such as brushing puff pastry with ice water--not just brushing off the flour--making the puff pastry easier to roll. The result? Higher, lighter, and flakier pastry. And you won''t find these recipes anywhere else, not even on the Internet. She can help you make moist cakes; flaky pie crusts; shrink-proof perfect meringues that won''t leak but still cut like a dream; big, crisp cream puffs; amazing French pastries; light génoise; and crusty, incredibly flavorful, open-textured French breads, such as baguettes and fougasses.

There is simply no one like Shirley Corriher. People everywhere recognize her from her TV appearances on the Food Network and ABC''s Jimmy Kimmel Live! , with Snoop Dogg as her fry chef.

Restaurant chefs and culinary students know her from their grease-splattered copies of CookWise , an encyclopedic work that has saved them from many a cooking disaster. With numerous "At-a-Glance" charts, BakeWise gives busy people information for quick problem solving. BakeWise also includes Shirley''s "What This Recipe Shows" in every recipe. This section is science and culinary information that can apply to hundreds of recipes, not just the one in which it appears.

For years, food editors and writers have kept CookWise , Shirley''s previous book, right by their computers. Now that spot they''ve been holding for BakeWise can be filled.

BakeWise does not have just a single source of knowledge; Shirley loves reading the works of chefs and other good cooks and shares their information with you, too. She applies not only her expertise but that of the many artisans she admires, such as famous French pastry chefs Gaston Lenôtre and Chef Roland Mesnier, the White House executive pastry chef for twenty-five years; Bruce Healy, author of Mastering the Art of French Pastry ; and Bonnie Wagner, Shirley''s daughter-inlaw''s mother. Shirley also retrieves "lost arts" from experts of the past such as Monroe Boston Strause, the pie master of 1930s America. For one dish, she may give you techniques from three or four different chefs plus her own touch ofscience--"better baking through chemistry." She adds facts about the right temperature, the right mixing speed, and the right mixing time for the absolutely most stable egg foam, so you can create a light-as-air génoise every time.

BakeWise is for everyone. Some will read it for the adventure of problem solving with Shirley. Beginners can cook from it and know exactly what they are doing and why. Experienced bakers find out why the techniques they use work and also uncover amazing French pastries out of the past, such as Pont Neuf (a creation of puff pastry, pâte à choux, and pastry cream in honor of the Paris bridge) and Religieuses, adorable "little nuns" made of puff pastry filled with a satiny chocolate pastry cream and drizzled with mocha icing to form a nun''s habit.

Some will want it simply for the recipes--incredibly moist whipped cream pound cake made with heavy cream whipped slightly beyond the soft-peak stage and folded into the batter; flourless fruit soufflés (puréed fruit and Italian meringue); Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, rolled first in granulated sugar and then in confectioners'' sugar for a crunchy black-and-snow-white surface with a gooey, fudgy center. And Shirley''s popovers are huge.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2008
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416560784
Call Number: 641.815 C8178b
Characteristics: ix, 532 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Bake wise

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Apr 02, 2017

The author is one of the countries leading food chemists and she knows her subject. This book however, is badly edited, and the recipes are not the definitive ones you'd expect from the title and marketing behind the book. So many recipes are overloaded with ingredients. I was interested in making espresso brownies, but after reading the list of things you'd need, I decided that Corriher was making these more like an over-stuffed candy bar, rather than simple brownies. In fact, few of the recipes are simple and most of them seem overly rich and sweet. Don't get me wrong, I'm a baker, I like sweet things, but I like recipes that let you concentrate on one or two ingredients, not six or seven (not including things like flour and sugar) like in these recipes.

Another example is one for chocolate chip cookies. Does Corriher give you the lowdown on the original Tollhouse Cookie? No. The only recipe she offers is made with tons of pecan flour (you must roast your own pecans). So, not only expensive, but overly complicated as well. And speaking of expensive, Corriher also recommends using a baking stone for nearly all the recipes except the cookies. If you want to bake something from this book, you'd better be willing to shell out a lot of dough before you've even cracked an egg.

By all means, read this book for the food science, but if you are looking for simple, classic recipes on baking, try The Best Recipe series from the folks at Cook's Illustrated instead.


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