Chef Scot’s Top 10 Favorite Baking Cookbooks
So I might have a little problem. Ok that is not really the best way to start this. It should start more like this: Hi My name is Chef Scot and I am an addict I have a cookbook addiction. I have hundreds of cookbooks, I am actually a little afraid to count, if I guessed I would say I was well over 300. So when it comes to baking I have so many books to pick from when the baking mood strikes me. I always love looking at others peoples cookbook collections (I am always on the hunt for books to add to my collection).I thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorite baking books… I have books that I buy just to have, then their are books that I find myself going back to time and time again. So to get on this reading list the book had to have something that makes it useful to me. With all this talk of baking this week I thought it might be fun to see what books you all go back over and over again.
The Pastry Chef’s Companion ~ Glen Rinsky & Laura Halpin
This little book is supper amazing, it is like a sweet version of the Food Lover’s Companion. It is a dictionary of baking and pastry terms. I use this book when I need clarification on a cloudy memory or fact that I want to clarify. Its is also a great jump off point when it comes to starting to research or learn about something new. I also find that it is so interesting that once I find what it was that I picked it up to find that I get stuck reading facts at random.
Spago Desserts ~ Mary Bergan & Judy Gethers
I love this little gem. There is also the Spago Chocolate that is great too (I have both, I told you I have a cookbook addiction- I think I am managing my addiction just fine) Mary Bergin is a dear friend, I met her years after this book came out and was able to pick up a copy of both used online. This book was already signed by Mary when it came so I had is sign it a second time with a personalized inscription. I have learned so many thing from my time with Mary in the kitchen (like using a cheese grater to grate cold butter for cutting butter when making pie dough) there are some really great recipes in this book, I used her lemon chiffon cake recipe to make one of my wedding cakes!
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner ~ Liz EdmundsLiz is another dear friend that I met just after I got married and was living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is one of the most energetic people I have ever met. Liz believes in families eating a home cooked dinner together. She has a simple and honest approach to cooking and this book is a great resource for someone that is just starting to cook food at home. She helps you plan a weekly meal plan and shopping list. I love her recipe for crescent rolls and make them for Thanksgiving or Christmas each year and think of Liz every time I mix up a batch of her rolls.
Artisan Breads Every Day ~ Peter ReinhartEveryone that likes to bake needs to have a Peter Reinhart book in your collection. If its crust and crumb or american pie Peter Reinhart is the American gurue of bread. I love that his books have both volume, weight measurements as well as baker's percentages for his recipes. These books have something for everyone from the beginning home baker to the professional baker. They all have amazing photography that does a great job of breaking down the steps of the process so you can successfully replicate the same finished product.
Tartine ~ Elisabeth Prueitt & Chad RobertsonTartine is amazing and always worth a stop when you are close by or a planned trip if you are not. I find that this book is well written with recipes that work (sadly that is not always the case with beautiful cookbooks) my two top favorite recipes out of the book to make both made the front cover. The gingerbread cookies and the shortbread cookies. I use this shortbread in so many different desserts and always get compliments on it and I always tell people the shortbread recipe alone make the purchase of this book worth it.
How Baking Works ~ Paula FigoniI would love to meet Paula, I think we could be great friends. I love understanding the science behind what is happening in the kitchen. While this book is maybe not technically a cookbook it demystifies the world of baking and helps you understand where our mishaps in the kitchen when wrong. I always tell my students that knowledge is power and if you want to be a powerful baker you need to understand the basics of why thing happen the way they do. This book does just that.
The Art of the Confectioner &The Art of the Chocolatier ~ Ewald NotterOK these books are a bit more on the advanced side but they have been well used by me. I have been able to go to two different chocolate demonstrations and they both have been incredibly inspiring and informative and these books are the same. They have helped me improve my skills in both chocolate and sugar work.
Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes ~ Dominique AnselSaying Dominique Ansel is a rising start of the pastry world is putting it very mildly. True confection this book was a must buy after a trip to New York when Cronuts were just breaking into the scene. I had the whole experience waking up with jet lag and standing in line for 2 plus hours for my turn to buy two Cronuts. It was the week of the 4th of July and the flavor was Blackberry Lime and it was amazing! I spent the next month experimenting and reverse engineering the Cronut and when I saw I could pre-order this book before it came out, I jumped at the chance to add this to my collection.
Demolition Desserts:Recipes From Citizen Cake ~ Elizabeth FalknerElizabeth Falkner was making headlines when I was in pastry school. I was lucky enough to have a really small class when I went to the CIA, so we got to know each other really well and we planned a trip to the city and Citizen Cake was where we ended up for dessert, we all sat down and ordered the complete dessert menu (plus quite a few things from the pastry case) and shared it all. Chef Falkner was also the first chef to give me a shot after I finished school. I loved her creative way of playing with flavors and when this cookbook came out years after I left her kitchen I had to snatch it up. I love her eggless lemon curd from this book.
Advanced Bread and Pastry, A Professional Approach ~ Michel SuasThis book came to me from a textbook publisher as a review copy, and all I can say is the fates brought us together. I love this book every single recipe that I have made from this book has been great! I love the format of all the recipes are given to you in Baker’s %, Kilogram, Pounds and Ounces and… wait for it a test batch size. Each recipe give you a large version (10 pounds) and then a small (2 pounds) so you don’t have to break out the calculator to change the size of batch. Check out this book you won't regret picking it up book once you try the sourdough bread or the Parisian Macarons...