“The Everyday Baker: Recipes & Techniques for Foolproof Baking” by Abigail Johnson Dodge, The Taunton Press (2015), $40, 618-page hardcover
Cool weather and the holiday season traditionally signal the start of serious home baking. While home bakers are sure to include longtime family favorites among their offerings, many will be looking for new recipes to wow family and guests. That’s why publishers always introduce new cookbooks in the fall months, just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah gift giving.
Tops among this year’s baking books is “The Everyday Baker: Recipes & Techniques for Foolproof Baking” by baking instructor and food writer Abigail Johnson Dodge (The Taunton Press, November 2015). The comprehensive book features 176 savory and sweet recipes from morning food to fruit desserts, plus plenty of step-by-step photographs and 80 finished dish full-color photos.
Dodge, author of nine other cookbooks and contributing editor to Fine Cooking magazine, writes in a clear, concise and friendly manner. She makes sure the reader — whether a novice or experienced baker — has all the information needed to turn out a delicious and attractive treat.
In “The Everyday Baker” introduction, Dodge says her 10th book is “the most important and personal” of her career since she shares her baking journey from when she began baking at her mother’s side to Paris and culinary school and then to recipe development, teaching and writing. She writes that her goal is “to demystify baking” and provide readers with “all the techniques, skills, and information that I have culled through my personal and professional baking life.”
The first chapter, Everyday Baking Basics, includes everything Dodge believes is needed to get ready to bake, from ingredients, equipment and tools to creating a foundation for success, such as gauging your available time, organizing and prepping ingredients, using a scale, and beating egg whites. All recipes include volume measurements, plus weight measurements in ounces and in grams.
Among the recipes are Broccoli, Red Pepper and Cheddar Quiche; Cinnamon Swirl Crumble-Topped Ricotta Coffee Cake; Brown Butter-Almond Lace Cookies; Sugar-Crusted Triple Ginger Pound Cake; White and Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake; Individual Tiramisu; Baked Fig-Stuffed Brie; Summer Veggie Pizza; and Peaches and Cream Palova. In other words, Dodge has something sure to please everyone.
Anyone who enjoys baking will be happy to find “The Everyday Baker” under the Christmas tree.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.