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The Art & Soul of BakingOrder  today!

by Sur La Table with Cindy Mushet

ISBN: 978-0-7407-7334-1
Format: Hardcover: 8 ½ x 10 ½, 464 pages
Price: $40.00 U.S.A. ($44.00 Canada)

Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC
October, 2008

When Sur La Table needed professional baking expertise they called upon Cindy Mushet, pastry chef and culinary instructor for nearly 20 years.  Cindy has also taught in Sur La Table cooking schools in their stores so they already knew what a treasure-trove of information Cindy would bring to the development of The Art & Soul of Baking project.

My personal knowledge of Cindy Mushet goes back to 1993 when I featured the twelve-page print newsletter that Cindy was publishing called "Baking with the American Harvest" in the Nov/Dec 1993 issue of my own 8-page print newsletter called "Ann Every's Culinary Report" which I had established in 1990 - and  eventually transformed into this website in 1997.

The Art & Soul of Baking is as good as it gets when you want to learn how to bake anything from classic brownies to pot pies, soufflés, breads and pastries - If you want to increase your year-round or holiday baking repertoire, this is the book for you! 

As if by magical means when I first opened the book to initially browse through for a first impression, I came face to photo of a scrumptious looking Almond Croissant on page 111 - the recipe is on page 112 - and I was captured by the magic of opening the book to this page after just returning from Nantucket where I had eaten a delicious Almond Croissant and I was wondering where I would find a recipe to re-create this gem of a pastry.   I call that magic!

From the very first chapter entitled "The Baker's Kitchen" every baking question you can think of is answered!  Helpful tables such as a "volume and weight equivalents" is invaluable to the home baker who measures ingredients using their weights - eg., cocoa powder, lightly spooned weighs 3 ounces per cup. 

Another table on page 12-13 shows "Baking Pan Volumes" - and describes fifty-two pan dimensions - their shape and type and their capacity.  eg.; 9 x 9 x 2  Square Cake Pan and has a capacity of 10 cups.  This information is crucial to the proper outcome of a baked product - if you don't have a pan that is the correct size called for in a baking recipe, this table will allow you to choose another pan with the same volume capacity.

In addition, other invaluable information is featured throughout the book in side-bars titled "What the Pros Know" - Cindy Mushet is the ultimate PRO baker and with this baking book, you will have her "at your side" guiding you through any baking project you want to create.

Other chapters in The Art & Soul of Baking  include:

The Baker's Pantry
Yeast Breads and Rolls
Layered Pastries
Quick Breads
Pies, Turnovers, and Dumplings
Fruit Desserts
Cookies, Bars, and Brownies
Custards, Bread Puddings, and Cheesecakes
Soufflés, Meringues, and Pâte à Choux
Basic Recipes and Finishing Techniques

I will have Cindy Mushet "by my side" this holiday season - hearing her "voice" through her words guiding me through my baking projects - making cookies,  cakes and of course the above mentioned Almond Croissants!!

This review would not be complete without a special mention to acclaimed photographer, Maren Caruso.  There are 100 sumptuous, full-color photographs not just of the finished baked item, but there are also helpful step-by-step photographs of selected baking procedures such as how to make a caramel lattice shown on page 346. 

In these difficult economic times, there is no better heart-warming holiday gift to give your friends and family than something you've baked with aloha! 




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