Cooking is often a pinch of this, a touch of that, but baking is another thing entirely. If you’ve been intimidated by the precision required in baking, fear no more. Eileen Gray, author of Easy Baking From Scratch will help you with quick tutorials, time-saving tips, and a few culinary tricks.
The Essential Guide To Easy Baking is Chapter 1. It will help to achieve the three main requirements for good baking, good recipes, high-quality ingredients, and the right tools.
The chapter starts off with an Essential Equipment List. This covers cookware and bakeware, tools and utensils, and essential ingredients. Each item is explained, with the information about why you need it and what to look for. After the essentials list for each category is a list of easy extras which are nice to have, and a wish list of items that would be nice but are not strictly needed.
Chapter 1 continues with a list of basic alternatives, easy substitutes for common ingredients. The Essentials Checklist: The Bakers Dozen Is a list of 13 techniques to help with your baking success. The chapter is rounded out with a list of emergency baking substitutions, and a brief description of the recipes to follow.
Chapters 2 through 8 are recipes covering:
- Muffins & Quick Breads
- Cookies & Bars
- Cakes, Cupcakes & Frostings
- Pies & Tarts
- Croissants & Pastries
- Yeast Breads
- Savory Baked Goods
Each of the recipe chapters begins with a list of the included recipes within and their page numbers. The only photographs in the book of recipes are included with the index at the beginning of the chapter.
Each of the recipe chapters also begins with a quick tutorial. This offers a few tips and an introduction to this group of recipes.
The recipes themselves begin with the yield and a brief introduction of the recipe. Labels, like nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. are also included.
Prep time, bake time, and equipment required are the first things mentioned in each recipe. This helps to make sure you have everything you need before you begin baking. The recipe instructions are very straightforward and easy to follow. Many also include a tip, either about the ingredients, a variation suggestion, a make-ahead tip or some other suggestion for the recipe.
The end of the book includes Measurement Conversion tables, a Recipe Index, and Ingredient Index.
A Great Help For The New Baker
While one has to be a little bit more precise when baking then when cooking, I do believe that this cookbook would help any new baker to feel more confident and produce better results. For those of us somewhat familiar with baking, I think there are several time-saving tips and techniques that would come in quite handy.
For the included recipe I have chosen the Blueberry Cobbler In A Cast Iron Skillet. Enjoy!
Blueberry Cobbler In A Cast Iron Skillet
Equipment cast iron skillet or casserole dish, mixing bowls, whiskey, rasp grater, baking sheet, aluminum foil
- 6 teaspoons (3 ounce, 84 g) butter unsalted
- 6 cups (3 pints, 850 g) blueberries
- 1/4 teaspoon, plus a pinch salt
- 1 lemon finely grated zest and juice
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ground
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Set a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet over low heat and melt the butter in it. Swirl the the pan to coat the bottom and side. Pour 1/4 cup of the butter out of the pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the blueberries, 1/3 cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and the lemon zest and juice. Pour of the berry mixture into the skillet.
- In the same bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, Reserved melted butter, and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour into the buttermilk mixture. Stir just until combined.
- Drop dollops of the batter all over the berries in the skillet, spreading the batter to cover the berries as much as possible. Some berries may be visible. Slide a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil on the shelf beneath where the cobbler will bake in the oven to catch any drips.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the berries are bubbling.
- Serve the cobbler warm or at room temperature.