I love books. All books. Every book. Fiction, non-fiction, mystery, biographies, and yes, cookbooks.
Being the OCD planner that I am, I usually spend at least an hour or so every weekend coming up with ideas for the upcoming week’s meals. While pinterest and instagram have made menu-planning online insanely easy, there’s just something really rewarding about flipping through a cookbook until you found the perfect recipe.
There are a million great cookbooks out there, from the super basic, to the super specific. I try to keep my collection really well rounded, with cookbooks on family style meals, plant-based diets, easy one-pot-wonders, and ethnic cuisines. However, I realized last week a major gap in my collection: baking cookbooks.
Enter, amazon prime and the following:
1. The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook A James Beard Award Winner.
In the short amount of days since this baby arrived, it has become my bible. Not only is it filled with a wide variety of baking recipes – everything from muffins and pastries to sourdoughs and popovers – but it lays such a strong foundation of knowledge that you come away with so much more than just a delicious breakfast item.
Within the context of each chapter, it lays out the main components you’ll encounter (i.e. flour), and breaks it down to the smallest details, such as the different types of wheat berries, which are best for which types of breads, and how to adjust your recipes accordingly. It also gets into the actually chemistry of baking (god help me and my C+ in sophmore year chem…), such as why certain ingredients react with others and how that reaction impacts the final product.
It also includes historical background on ingredients and recipes (did you know that doughnuts were made in Europe as a way to use up all of the rich food in the house before the start of lent?) which is not only interesting, but basically prepares you to be the queen of small talk at your next cocktail party.
2. The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book
Similar to above, the Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book is an awesome place to develop foundation knowledge of baking. What I love about it most, is that each recipe has been kitchen-tested so thoroughly that you literally could not mess them up if you tried (challenge accepted).
Without getting quite so technical as King Arthur, this book explains why the recipe is foolproof (see: “Why This Recipe Works” at the top of each recipe), and what they did in the recipe to make it that way (i.e. choosing cake flour over wheat flour).
With easy to follow directions and drawing representations of the proper approach, you’ll be whipping up their German Chocolate Cake in no time (page 301 – do it).
and last but not least…
3. Bouchon Bakery
Okay I’ll be honest, I didn’t really need this one. Total impulse buy. Regrets? Zero.
It is basically a Parisian bakery in 400 pages.
Filled with delicacies like Dulce de Leche Eclairs and Tropezienne (no, I didn’t know what that was either), it’s recipes have the ability to make you feel incredibly fancy, while somehow seeming completely attainable.
It is a beautiful book filled with beautiful recipes and I regret nothing.
So with this major gap in my bookshelf filled, I am exciting for this upcoming Sunday when I’ll sit at my counter, coffee in hand, and pick out my first recipes to try!
Do you have any other recommendations for must have cookbooks? If so, let me know!