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Baking Illustrated: A Best Recipe Classic (The Best Recipe)

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  2,938 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Packed with 375 recipes, more than 150 4-color photos and 400 illustrations, Baking Illustrated brings you inside America's Test Kitchen, where the Test cooks and Editors have exhaustively examined every ingredient, technique and piece of equipment that is critical to your baking success.
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published March 15th 2004 by America's Test Kitchen (first published March 2004)
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Best Cookbooks
1,027 books — 996 voters
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Cookbooks on Baking
107 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 21, 2008 Erika rated it it was amazing
This is an inspirational tale of triumph, a pilgrim's progress of common ingredients—eggs, butter, sugar, and flour—from their humble origins to the sweet Empyrean of baked delights.

Along the way, many byways and pitfalls threaten. There are instructive example to curb those who would stray. You will meet—and recoil in heartsick horror from—the ugly pie, the misshapen biscuit, and the soggy pizza. I'll refrain from detailing the rough fate of wayward muffins to spare the reader's delicate sensib
Feb 28, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe that the best way to read this cookbook is to read it straight through. It is very educational and I hope has helped me to become a better baker (ask Elliott!). At the beginning there is a section on ingredients and equipment; the authors of the book tested different brands and give you their opinion on what is best. If they think that a name brand is no better than an off-brand, they will tell you. They also go into the science of ingredients such as the protein content in bread and h ...more
Elisa Garza
Oct 26, 2008 Elisa Garza rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any serious baker!
OH MY GOSH! This is a baker's *dream* - the most thoroughly tested recipes for bakery-perfect treats! I love reading about how they discover each perfect recipe. I first found this book on my search for a perfect scone recipe. I crazy for scones, and I like them just right. Well, their Cakey Scones recipe is it: crisp outside, slightly dry, crumbly inside - more like cake, less like a biscuit.

I just made Molasses Spice Cookies for Eden's school . . . I love how you can see people's face change a
Jul 16, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I love this baking book. It has the best recipes in it with step by step instructions on how to do each of them. I use it all the time. It has the best recipe for pizza dough that I have found and it is super easy to make too!
Michael Smith
Nov 17, 2014 Michael Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a charter subscriber to Cook’s Illustrated, and I have a complete run of the magazine (with lots of sticky-note bookmarks throughout the run), so I frankly haven’t paid much attention to the subsequent book titles they’ve published, on the assumption they were just collections of previously-published material. After I browsed through this well-organized volumes, however, I found I was in error and that that definitely was not the case. The method followed is mostly the same as in the magaz ...more
May 23, 2011 Cristov rated it it was amazing
OK it's a cookbook so I didn't "read" it from cover to cover but I did read several of the recipes and most of the tips.

I tend to be a snob about cookbooks that don't have a picture of every item but I would recommend this to anyone looking for a well written cookbook on baking. The folks at Cook's Illustrated may not picture each recipe but what they include in the tips sections and in some recipes are photos or illustrations of what can go wrong with explanations of how and why and key steps
PEI Public Library Service
May 07, 2016 PEI Public Library Service rated it really liked it
The library has a new copy of a classic cookbook that bakers won't be able to resist. Have you had trouble getting your pie crusts flaky or your biscuits fluffy? Then "Baking Illustrated: a best recipe classic" by the editors of Cook's Illustrated will be your new best friend. America's Test Kitchen is the place where the cooking team assembles to test and retest recipes in order to find the formula which performs the best. If you have had a baking problem, their team has figured out a way to so ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Clearlyclaire rated it it was amazing
If you want a quickie-version of how to bake, this is NOT the book for you. Cook's Illustrated, in its usual over-the-top scientific testing of anything with their name on it, has created a true classic with Baking Illustrated: A Best Recipe Classic. As I find myself streamlining my cookbook collection, reducing much of my library to digital, this book remains on my shelf. Beautiful photography (oh but I wish there were even more photos), in-depth analysis of what they did to the recipe and why ...more
Jan 13, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
This is the best baking cookbook I've ever used. The recipes aren't necessarily the easiest way to make a chocolate cake -- but they are the way to make the best possible chocolate cake, and they tell you why. They explore the science behind why you have to beat certain things a certain way or add ingredients in a certain order. Plus, they show a lot of pictures of mistakes and how things should and shouldn't look. I like that they show pictures of their flops and tell how they fixed them and wh ...more
Mar 21, 2008 Stacy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves to bake
Shelves: great-cookbooks
This is the best baking cookbook ever. It was written by the folks at Cooks Illustrated Magazine, which means they tested every single recipe over and over again until they came up with the perfect one. Every recipe has the description of their process of arriving at the final recipe, which is really interesting if you're into that kind of science stuff.

I have made probably 15 different things out of this book and every one has been perfect, from blueberry muffins to chocolate cookies to soft p
Nov 30, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
As with all the books in the "Best Recipes" series from America's Test Kitchen (aka Cooks Illustrated folks) every recipe has been subjected to both taste tests and science experients. I enjoy the writeups for my dose of food chemistry but love the dependability of the recipes - nothing I've baked out of this book has ever been less than amazing. Want to be an instantly good baker? Just follow the directions - no straying or improvement needed with these recipes. If you only have one baking book ...more
May 16, 2008 Liza rated it it was amazing
my lovely friend Laura bought this for me because we both love the original book by these same people "The New Best Recipes". that book and this one are the go to books for finding how to make serisously anything! this one is solely devoted to baking and it is the number one essential that everyone should have for baking.
May 22, 2008 Junio rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookingandbaking
Part of the Best Recipe Series, It tells you how to make a diverse but limited number of pastries and baked goods very well.

Some of the recipes are great and I use them regularly, like the pizza dough recipe. Others, I am usually to lazy for. That is one of the problems with Cooks Illustrated, if you are lazy, the recipe has so many more steps than you feel like doing, but you know that if you don't follow the steps, it will not be as tasty. A Catch-22 situation.
Aug 27, 2010 Mari rated it really liked it
After a particularly disastrous cheesecake experiment one holiday a friend gifted me with this book. Although the book contains the results of many baking experiments so that you don't have to, I still do. However, I've found the recipes and advice in the book to be fantastic so far. I only deleted a star because they don't have any low fat, low cholesterol, low carb, etc. options, so the reader/baker is left to fend for themselves! ;)
Jul 11, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
I am a huge fan of the magazine and the tv show. This was an early birthday present so I can use it to make myself a cake. I have decided on Boston Cream Pie. Last night I made strawberry shortcake. Better get to the gym fast before I bake again! I'm putting "read" but I will continue to read it for years, as with any other cookbook.
Nov 09, 2012 Paula rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
My baking bible. The pizza dough comes out perfect every time and is so easy!

Watch out for a typo on the quantity of butter in the pie pastry recipe. Not sure if it's too much shortening or too much butter. Either way, the fat to flour ratio is off.

Best cake: classic white cake with butter frosting and raspberry almond filling. (pg. 352) Yummmmm . . . .
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book, especially if you don't have alot of experience baking and you don't have alot of cookbooks. In the Cook's Illustrated style, it tells you why things work and why they don't, which can tell you why yours might not have worked as well as how to evaluate other recipes in the future, all of which is valuable, and even more valuable for the beginning cook
Jan 06, 2013 Margaret rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
This is the Bible when it comes to baking for me, and I grew up in a family of great bakers. I've given this book as a gift more often than any other, and it's always a hit. When ATK gets it right, it's because they tested it over and over and over, so we didn't have to! Bless them - even though Chris Kimball's persona is somewhat.... charm-free. This book is the best!
Oct 14, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
This is my go-to book for chocolate chip cookies, orange walnut cranberry bread, and zucchini bread. The extremely fussy shortbread recipe (be careful or the whole thing will end up on the floor - ask me how I know) cost it one star. But it fixed my rock-like or too cake-like cookies and dry quick breads.
Mar 23, 2007 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: bakers
Shelves: cookbooks
I wish I were rich enough to buy ALL of the Cook's Illustrated books and magazines. They are both for the literary and science-loving cooks. It must take them weeks to develop the perfect recipe for scones. They try making it with heavy whipping cream, milk, and every other dairy product known to mankind before deciding which one works best for them. Pretty smart cookies.
Feb 13, 2009 Camille rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
This is my go-to book for everything baking!! I have never been disappointed by any of their recipes; and made the best gingerbread I've ever eaten in my life. Like all Cook's Illustrated books, the recipes have a tendency to be very specific, which can be annoying to read but leads to excellent results!
Mar 14, 2008 Amber rated it it was amazing
A trust-worthy recipe for almost any classic you want to bake. If you like to experiment and have dozens of variations on a recipe, this book is not for you. If you just want a fantastic recipe that you know you could present to company on the first try, get this book. The parker-house rolls are a family favorite.
Jul 14, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
You absolutely can NOT go wrong with Cooks Illustrated - anything. They dissect every recipe and try it numerous ways to determine the absolute, best recipe for each dish.

And what's even better, they go over in painstaking detail how every version worked out and why the final one is the best.

I know I can always trust a recipe from them. Always.
Oct 01, 2010 Pedro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baking
This book is chock full of incredible recipes, but and this is a big butt. This book is not for the beginning baker. It is great for the intermediate to advanced home baker. Folks new to baking will find the recipes intimidating and to involved. That said I love the recipe.
Feb 07, 2008 Theo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Engineers and Bakers
This is the best baking book ever!!! I love this book, it's the perfect book for engineering types since they try the recipes a gazillion different ways and dissect the exact reason they chose to make it the way they did. Also, I love the illustrations of failed attempts at things.
Jun 27, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it
This is more than a cookbook, more than an instruction manual, more than advice on all things culinary. This book is story, a tale of rapture and revelations. It can be read like a novel and keep you wanting to turn to the next page.
Mary Kay
Sep 27, 2010 Mary Kay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edible-books
If you are interested in baking, this is an excellent book. The authors meticulously test each recipe and explain why certain ingredients work and others don't. This book has helped me become a better baker.
Aug 26, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing
Hands down, this book has some of the best baking recipes I've used. It's also very fun and informative to read *how* they arrived at the measurements and quantities that they did. My sons devour the carrot cake from this book every single time!
Jul 30, 2008 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Clear, concise recipes; a great baking 101 book. If you are having a problem with a certain recipe, though you may not use this books recipes all the time, they at least discuss how and why you can achieve the best results from each recipe.
Mightyko Jackson
Jul 16, 2008 Mightyko Jackson rated it it was amazing
#1 cookbook (for baking) on my shelf. And I have a lot of cookbooks. Every recipe turns out perfectly.
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I love Cook's Illustrated 4 14 Mar 01, 2013 01:26PM  
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