There are all kinds of cookbooks out there to teach you about baking in addition to providing you with recipes. With most books, you still just get your information from one source (the author) and often end up using multiple books as references to get as much of a foundation as possible. The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook puts multiple sources into one book with a conglomeration of baking instruction and recipes from a dozen top cookbook authors and bakers.
The name “The Baker’s Dozen” refers to a group started in San Francisco that consists of numerous food professionals who got together to discuss baking and baking techniques, so that they could all improve and/or find better ways to do things. These discussions are what make up the content of the book. It covers just about all of your baking basics, from tools and ingredients through cakes, custards and cookies. Each chapter starts off with a detailed discussion of the ingredients and equipment typically needed for the type of recipes being discussed. From there, the book moves into the recipes, which it rounds out with very detailed instructions, loads of tips and even photos to help lead you through some of the stickier parts of recipes, those that don’t come through clearly with descriptions alone.
The recipes are very good, but, more importantly, the discussion is excellent. There is a lot of information in here from names like David Lebovitz, Flo Braker, Alice Medrich, Peter Reinhart and Marrion Cunningham – and it is all in one easy to use and easy to reference place. Both beginning and experienced bakers can get a lot of information from a book like this one, and it also serves as a great jumping off point for those who are interested in getting into greater depth with any one type of recipe from the book. And if you just want to ensure that your lemon meringue pie comes out perfectly? You can definitely do that with this book, too.