Tag: Cookbook Bookshelf

New Arrival: Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads!

I absolutely love bookstores, but one thing I love more is a good book sale! I picked up Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads at a wonderful used book sale and I’m so excited to make something from it!

This cookbook is huge, which is promising because it’s full of bread recipes! I chose it because it had a lot of recipes and because each recipe states how long each step should take the baker. In my opinion, that’s an amazing feature because it not only allows for one to start their bread at a convenient time, but it also helps with knowing what the dough should look like at the end of each step. For example, books that just say something along the lines of, “Knead until smooth” don’t help the reader (or me, at least) know how long they should be kneading their bread. However, Clayton states exactly how long kneading should take you! (Which is extremely convenient and important.)

The book also has a wide variety of recipes – from brown bread to potato bread to tea loaves to kulich, a Russian Easter loaf! The variety will definitely make this cookbook an interesting read!

My one disappointment with this book is that it has almost no photographs. There are a few illustrations, but that’s it. However, the instructions are detailed, so I’ll probably be fine when I bake with this new book!

New Arrival: Cookies and Cream by Tessa Arias!

New Arrival: Cookies and Cream by Tessa Arias!

love books – I love the feeling of falling into a story, of becoming caught up in what happens to characters, of exploring a new world. Books are probably one of my favorite things ever.

So what’s better than a combination of two of my favorite pastimes, baking and reading?

Enter the cookbook!

Cookbooks are super-fun because not only do they inform one about baking and provide new recipes and flavor combinations for endless entertainment, but…THEY’RE BOOKS! And I love books. (I love books so much that it’s worth repeating.)

So when I was in my local library recently, I checked out Cookies and Cream by Tessa Arias; in fact, I made the Grasshopper Ice Cream Sandwiches from her book (see Adventures in Baking No. 16)! I had a magnificent time reading through all of her other recipes, ice-cream-sandwich-making strategies, and helpful tips. Since I liked it so much and definitely wanted to try more of her recipes, I ordered her cookbook!

There are many things I enjoy about this book. Firstly, it has pictures for nearly every ice cream sandwich, and I think pictures are a really important aspect of cookbooks. It always annoys me when I read a recipe and there’s no picture of the finished product – how am I supposed to know what it should look like? (The famous and familiar question “How brown is ‘golden-brown’?” is one that I, unfortunately, often find myself asking.)

However, Arias’ book has many positively stunning photos, which I appreciate. I also like how the baked goods aren’t perfect in those photos. I mean, the ice cream sandwiches all look beautiful, but not all of the edges on her sandwiches are magnificently smooth and not all of the cookies are absolutely identical. The pictures look real – as if a real, live home baker had actually made the sandwiches, and not some majestic being whose talent I can never hope to rival. This is comforting – it gives me hope that if, for some reason, I need to present my ice cream sandwiches for a party, I can create something that looks presentable, if not as beautiful as Arias’ sandwiches.

It also gave me hope when I first started reading that the recipes inside weren’t impossible.

Another feature in this book I enjoy that (I think) is important in recipe books: the expected yield. Each recipe has an expected yield, which is amazing. I’ve encountered books that don’t tell you how much the recipes make, or don’t give you accurate estimations of the yield, so accurate expected yields are a huge plus. They allow one to account for how much he or she actually wants to make, and then one can scale the recipe up or down as one pleases.

So expected yields are super-important to me, since I like math and I like knowing how much food I’m making.

Arias’ recipes are also clear, easy-to-follow, and fun to read! Overall, this is a great cookbook, which is why I got it.

But the best (and most underrated) feature of all?

The book is small. It’s physically the size of a normal book! Compare this to the massive cookbook tomes that one must heft around the kitchen. The (relatively) small size allows for easy transport and for cute appearance!

In summary, I am so excited to bake out of my new arrival to the Cookbook Bookshelf!