Baking Basics and Beyond

Pat Sinclair

Publisher Surrey
Title First Published 19 September 2006


This new edition of this basic, down-to-earth, reader-friendly baking guide is updated with beautiful full color photos throughout.

According to Pat Sinclair, "If a little kneading is good, is a lot of kneading better? Not for biscuits, as I learned the first time I made them. I discovered that biscuits are tender and flaky only if I follow two key baking techniques--cutting in shortening and gentle kneading. I've learned many more secrets like these over decades of baking professionally for companies such as Pillsbury and Land O'Lakes."

Baking Basics and Beyond contains more than 120 clearly written recipes packed with tips and explanations, including:

• Dip a biscuit cutter in flour before cutting into the dough. The biscuits will rise higher.
• Always cut yeast dough with a dough scraper or knife so the gluten isn't damaged altering the texture.
• Once the sugar has been added when beating egg whites, you are less likely to overbeat the meringue.
• When baking a recipe for the first time, always set your timer for slightly less than the recipe states because ovens vary and you don't want to bake too long.

The book is structured around techniques common to all recipes of a group. For example, the Yeast Bread chapter begins with a master recipe for Everyday White Bread and teaches--patiently and thoroughly, but in simple language--how to use yeast, a subject that usually terrifies novice bakers.

Eleven recipes follow: four breads, four dinner rolls and three pizzas, all requiring the same key techniques. Throughout all recipes, explanations and precise tips make readers feel as though there is a friendly teacher in the kitchen, peering over their shoulders, and guiding them toward perfect results, every time.

Included are many traditional and old-fashioned American favorites such as Buttery Crescent Dinner Rolls, Dark Chocolate Cake with Praline Filling and Cranberry Nut Tartlets. Most of the recipes are easy and recognizable, if not extremely familiar. Some of the recipes, such as Turtle Cheesecake Pie, are variations of classics but with a little twist that makes them unique.

Baking Basics and Beyond differs from other books on baking because it concentrates on basic techniques and simple directions. No prior experience is necessary.

Although Sinclair has a master's degree in Foods, much of her baking experience came at home. She began baking in elementary school by learning how to bake from her mother, especially how to make a piecrust.

Like other bakers, she developed her skills through practice. As a food consultant she tested and developed hundreds of baking recipes and worked in the test kitchens of several national food companies. She was also the recipe editor for best-selling cookbooks including Pillsbury Classics Cookbooks and Land O'Lakes Irresistible Desserts.

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