While it’s fun to watch competitive cooking shows and “ooo” and “aah” over the impressive dishes that the contestants make, most of us tend to stick with simpler baked goods when it comes to cooking in our own kitchens. Homey dishes, like fruit cobblers, and classics, like coffee cake and apple pie, tend to be staples that we make again and again. Baking Basics and Beyond: Learn These Simple Techniques and Bake Like a Pro is a cookbook that focuses on basic recipes like these and walks you through the equipment and ingredients needed to make them, and the techniques that you’ll need to make them great.
This cookbook starts off with an introduction that gives you a crash course in what you need to get started baking, including basic equipment and some of the most common techniques you’ll encounter before jumping right into the recipes. While there is a lot of information provided, the book tends to keep things simple and give you just the information you need, rather than a whole textbook of baking techniques. The recipes cover a wide range of subjects, from biscuits and brownies to cheesecakes and yeast breads. The vast majority of the recipes are for sweets, but there are a handful of savory recipes as well. The recipes are well organized and easy to follow along with, with very detailed measurements and directions provided. There are also helpful tips at the end of each recipe that come in handy for perfecting a recipe or clearing up any questions that might come up as you work. Many of the recipes have full-color photos accompanying them that make the dishes look both tasty and accessible.
While the book is intended to provide an introduction to basic baking techniques for novice bakers, it is still a book that more experienced bakers will find enjoyable because of the wide variety of appealing recipes that are included. The fact that so many types of techniques are covered means that just about everyone can learn something new as they read through, as well. These are the types of recipes that you’ll find yourself wanting to make on a regular basis for everyday occasions, because it never hurts to have another cookbook on the shelf that will give you a good recipe for apple pie, a chocolate fudge sheet cake or a few new cookie ideas.