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Understanding Baking
cookbook reviewsunderstanding baking
Understanding Baking
by Joseph Amendola, Nicole Rees
List Price: $29.95
Our Price with $20.97
You Save: $8.98 (30%)
Reviewed by Joelle Moles

Click Here to Buy It On Line!

March 2003
Consistency and variety are paramount to the success of a small bakery or pastry business. If the product doesn't look and taste the same every single day and if there isn't sufficient choice of product on a daily basis, a baking or pastry kitchen risks losing valuable business. That's just the way it is - competition and the lure of grocery shelf substitutes make the baking and pastry world a difficult one to live in. The key to survival? A hoard of recipes.

It is necessary to have not only a few miscellaneous notes from various pastry gigs or culinary school, but a slew of delicious, well-tested recipes covering everything from pumpernickel bread to banana cream pie. There are several different ways in which to acquire such a collection of recipes: apprentice oneself to as many great baking and pastry chefs across the country as one can and hope that they are open to share their knowledge and recipes, engage in copious amounts of culinary research or fork out the $29.95 for Joseph Amendola's The Baker's Manual. Hmm.

Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees have done their homework. The recipes in The Baker's Manual are delicious, extremely well tested, and geared toward small production bakery and pastry kitchens. The New York cheesecake, to take as an example, is everything a New York cheesecake should be - tall, dense, golden, and flavorful. The recipe is given in a smaller quantity as well as a production quantity with ample notes on method. Indeed, all of the recipes follow these standards.

The selection in The Baker's Manual is nothing short of brilliant - these are the foods that people want and will buy! Lemon pound cake, bagels and cherry pie are examples of recipes that, if produced well and consistently, will secure a faithful clientele. After all, do people ever really tire of the favorites? Joseph Amendole understands what will lure customers.

Lastly, the variety is fantastic; there are over 150 recipes. Although The Baker's Manual relies on classics, the range of recipes allows for great variation within a kitchen's daily production. Bread, pie, cookie and bar flavors can be frequently changed without constant repetition. Ultimately, Joseph Amendole and Nicole Rees have created an excellent guide for bakery and pastry chefs alike. The Baker's Manual is certainly a manual to bake by.

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