Brian Hart Hoffman’s third volume of recipes from Bake from Scratch magazine continues the well-designed, inspirational format of the cookbook series with another 600+ recipes that dig into the details of baking everything from the humblest muffins to the most complex pastries, braided breads, and multilayered and filled cakes and tortes.
Some of these recipes are accessible to novice bakers, like the quick breads section that features five kinds of banana breads and nine kinds of scones. Others are geared to those with more experience, like Chocolate-Covered Ginger Cookies with Strawberry Marshmallow, which incorporates whipping up three components, or the technically daunting Baked Alaska.
The book includes recipes for everyday favorites as well as holiday and traditional baked items from Hungary, Mexico, Finland, and Italy. Its recipe for Homemade Matzo, flavored with date honey, thyme, and caraway, will be a welcome replacement for the usual dry-as-dust boxed varieties of Passover.
This is a hefty, sturdily bound volume designed to be a kitchen workhorse. It lies neatly open, the ingredients and instructions are all on one or two facing pages, and there’s at least one color photograph of each finished product. “Pro Tip” sidebars add helpful information, and ingredients are listed by both weight and volume. The book could use a more extensive index for ease of use, though; the matzo recipe is listed under H (“Homemade Matzo”) and a pizza dough recipe is listed under O (“Overnight Levain Pizza Dough”).
Bake from Scratch offers some intriguing flavors, shapes, and techniques that continue the ingenuity and freshness of this baking cookbook series. Whether one is tempted by the riotous assortment of cookies, adventurous flavors like Tomato Caramel Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake, or the challenge of tackling a new baking technique like the epic braided pull-apart Bagel Wreath or Christmas Stollen, volume three does not disappoint.
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