I love looking through cookbooks, the pictures spark creative ideas that I can't wait to try out in my own kitchen. Antique cookbooks are my guilty pleasure, but when I am working I tend to grab the same cookbooks over and over.
This book is a must for the home baker. Three well known chefs worked together on this wonderful collection of recipes. The directions are easy to understand and there are several picture breakdowns to help you through any tricky parts. There is a ton of general information to help even a novice baker feel confident and troubleshooting charts to help you improve your skills. This book covers everything pastry, from breads and chocolate work to even tips on how to decorate a plate for a beautiful presentation. Be aware that all recipes are written in professional weight form so you will need a scale.
Some of my favorite recipes include: German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Icing, Cream Cheese Sun-Dried Cherry Brownies, and Tiramisu Torte. Find this book here.
Advanced Bread and Pastry
This wonderful book is written by Michael Suas. It covers the gamet of bread and pastry, but you will need a higher understanding of techniques to feel comfortable making these recipes. This is not a book for the novice baker. One of the great things I love about this book is that there are both metric and american measurements for the recipes and there are different recipe portions to choose from that will fit your needs. There is great information about ingredients and the chemical information involved in the pastry world. The section about pies and tarts has wonderfully detailed directions that will make all your crust challenges disappear.
Some of my favorite recipes include: Lemon Mousse Cake with Blackberry, Chocolate Nougat, Pretzels and Chocolate Indulgence Cookie. Find more information about this book here.
There is nothing like punching dough when you need to release some aggression. Some of my favorite things about this book are the braiding instructions and I love the Focaccia recipe on page 280. This book also has great "bakers notes" to help you along through any challenges, but If you are a person that needs pictures to entice you to make a recipe you won't find that here. Bread has a lot of drawn illustrations to represent techniques and instructions, there are two sections of colored pictures that show bread examples. The details in this book are amazing for anyone who wants to learn about bread baking. Get this book now.
Okay, I have to admit that this is my "go to" book for all baking. It has a special place in my heart because it was one of my school textbooks and it was a book I taught out of when I was a culinary instructor. It is a great all around cookbook for pastry. I love the egg bread recipe and the cake section is awesome. This is a professional book so it is set up with weight measurements and several troubleshooting and baking charts. If you want just one book for all areas of pastry grab this book here.
Some of my favorite recipes include: Opera Cake, Cherry Pie Filling, Almond Poppy Muffins, Soft Rolls, Nougat, Coconut Macaroons and all the Mousse Cakes.