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Favorite Pastry/Baking Books?


mixmaster b
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Survir-

Thanks for the input! 

I have asked Lesley to send me one of her books--copies in English are hard to come by-- but the author's autograph had not occurred to me till I saw your post.  Great idea! :biggrin:

You are most welcome.

I am sure you will the book as well.

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Also, Dory has a book called "Paris Sweets" coming out at the end of this month.

My copy of Paris Sweets arrived in the mail yesterday. It's a slim book, but the recipes, although nothing new, look good. I read the introduction and first chapter on cookies last night. There's a few paragraphs about each Paris patisserie before each of their recipe contributions. These anecdotes alone are worth the price of the book. This book reminds me of Payard's Simply Sensational Desserts minus notes on technique and photos. They both progress from simple cookies to weekend cakes to the more decadent and complicated desserts.

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Thanks for letting us know Dory's new book is out now. I'll have to get my order in :smile:

What do you think of the Payard book? Are there many unique recipes that aren't covered in other books? Is it overly "dumbed-down" for the home baker or is it "sophisticated-but-accessible"?

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What do you think of the Payard book? Are there many unique recipes that aren't covered in other books? Is it overly "dumbed-down" for the home baker or is it "sophisticated-but-accessible"?

Definitely "sophisticated-but-accessible." I haven't looked through the book in a while, but I'd guess that about 15-20% of the recipes are unique with the rest having Payard's own spin on classics. He seems to like coconut and has at least 6 recipes with coconut.

I don't think Paris Sweets is available at stores until the end of the month. I bought mine from The Good Cook Book Club at several bucks more than the $15.60 at Jessica's Biscuit.

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  • 2 years later...

I just received an Amazon gift certificate for my birthday. I would like to spend part of it on a pastry/baking book. I bake at home, and make birthday cakes once a month for 40-50 people for work - I am NOT a professional by any means. But I would like to increase my skillls. I don't know anything really, about different types of frostings or decorating skills, but would like to learn. I am trying to take an intro to cake decorating class at the local community college. They have a 3 part series, each class is 4 weeks. I don't think it's Wilton, at least the catalog doesn't say so, and they seem to have a pretty thorough culinary program, so I am hoping it is good.

I guess I want something clear, concise, and instructional.

Books I currently have, if it helps:

Baking With Julia

Maida Heatter's Cakes

Chocolate for All Seasons (or something similar)

several cookie books

-edited to add list

Edited by Marmish (log)
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"Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I don't have the "Pie & Pastry Bible" by RLB, but I plan to get it eventually. The Cake Bible fits all the criteria you listed.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I just received an Amazon gift certificate for my birthday.  I would like to spend part of it on a pastry/baking book.  I bake at home, and make birthday cakes once a month for 40-50 people for work - I am NOT a professional by any means.  But I would like to increase my skillls. I don't know anything really, about different types of frostings or decorating skills, but would like to learn.  I am trying to take an intro to cake decorating class at the local community college. They have a 3 part series, each class is 4 weeks.  I don't think it's Wilton, at least the catalog doesn't say so, and they seem to have a pretty thorough culinary program, so I am hoping it is good.

I guess I want something clear, concise, and instructional.

Books I currently have, if it helps:

Baking With Julia

Maida Heatter's Cakes

Chocolate for All Seasons (or something similar)

several cookie books

-edited to add list

I would agree with the Cake Bible recommendation. Another good pick, though less -- encyclopedic -- is The Whimsical Bakehouse. Good basic decorating instructions (including basic piping) and good butter cake recipes.

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For decorating, is there a certain style that you are drawn to?

Are you interested in learning more about baking or are you looking for more of a collection of good recipes?

Are you able to visit either your local library or bookstore before making a purchase? Sometimes that helps b/c it allows you to see exactly what you are going to get before ordering. Of course, they may not have as good of a selection as Amazon, but it will allow you to preview the book.

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For decorating, is there a certain style that you are drawn to?

Are you interested in learning more about baking or are you looking for more of a collection of good recipes?

Are you able to visit either your local library or bookstore before making a purchase?  Sometimes that helps b/c it allows you to see exactly what you are going to get before ordering.  Of course, they may not have as good of a selection as Amazon, but it will allow you to preview the book.

I tend to like clean styles. Not too fussy or cluttered. I have only used fondant once, and I couldn't pipe the buttercream for love nor money - but I'm blaming that on the buttercream. :wink: I certainly will check out the library/bookstore. I rarely buy anything with out doing so, as shelf space is limited.

I'm interested more in techniques and how-to and ideas than in recipes. And lots of pictures.

I'll be checking out the titles posted above, but keep 'em coming. Thanks.

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Ok, here are just a few... :biggrin:

Colette Peters - Cakes to Dream On

I dont own this book, but I have heard lots of great things about it. This is her latest book. She also has a few other books that might be better suited for a beginner. Colette Peters - The Art of Cake Decorating

Whimsical Bakehouse

Toba Garrett - The Well Decorated Cake

International Book of Sugarcraft This is an older book, but it contains lots of techniques.

Other cake artists...

Debbie Brown

Lindy Smith

You can also check out www.cakecentral.com.

Good luck. :biggrin:

Edited by BROWNSUGA (log)
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In The Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley is an incredible resource for a baker. It is like a textbook, covering the chemistry of baking, flavour matching, the role of each ingredient, and more. The second half of the book is filled with fantastic recipes. I can not say enough good things about this book.

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If you're interested in ideas and lots of pictures, not much into buttercream and aren't really looking for recipes, you'd definately be interested in books by Lindy Smith, Debbie Brown and Carol Deacon.

If you want to start a little easier, go with Carol Deacon. She has lots of cute ideas, with instructions in pictures to walk you through it every step of the way. It definately works. I have 'two hour party cakes' and like it a lot.

Lindy Smith has cute ideas too, but the queen of fondant is Debbie Brown without a doubt. THe instructions in her books are extended, in pictures, and very detailed and precise, and you can make the most incredible and amazing cakes if you like doing things like that and have patience, because you need to be prepared to be spending hours over a cake that will wow the whole neighborhood ;o). I like her book with the cartoon cakes best, but party cakes is more beginnerish.

If you're into modelling figurines and animals and the like, to use on cakes, refer to Maisie Parrish. Again, lots of time and patience needed, but a great resource if you're seriously into modelling.

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One of my favorites, not for recipes, but for the decorating ideas and good pictures of them, is Dede Wilson's The Wedding Cake Book. I tried a couple of the recipes, and they weren't very good, but the details on structure and how to transport are very helpful. The Cake Bible and The Perfect Cake by Susan G. Purdy are the books I pick up most often when I need recipes.

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I just received Wild Sweets by Dominique and Cindy Duby. It looks like I have some real reading on my hands. Lots of cool ideas.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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If you are into making cakes, I heartily concur with the previous recs for RLB's Cake Bible. It is, just that.

A newer book which I have begun recommending to people is Sherry Yard's Secrets of Baking. Actually, it is the book I had in my mind to write. It is laid out differently than most others, in that each chapter starts with a master recipe, and then explains and builds upon/does spin-off variations. (a caramel chapter, a chocolate chapter, a vanilla sauce, etc) It is well conceived, well written, and truly replaces confusion and mystery with understanding and confidence. Sherry Yard is a talented pc, and her techniques are sound, her recipes tried and true, and results delicious.

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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Marmish, have you seen this thread? I highly reccomend Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenspan. You can'/won't regret it.........plus you can read our thread and see how others have done, even get other members advice.

P.S. The Duby book, is definately NOT for beginners, not for all pro's either. I don't think Marmish is ready for that book based on the other titles she says she owns.

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Without any doubt: Professional Pastry Chef (vol 1&2) by Bo Friberg.

I am not a chef but a home cook.  Most recipes can be done at home with no problem, specially in vol 1.

Hermé's books are also very good

Don't forget the other book, The New Professional Chef.

I also like:

Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home

Death by Chocolate

Dessert Circus

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