Baking Illustrated is a fantastic book for anyone who puts flour in an oven, but seems especially suited for guys. Maybe it was just me, but it reads a little like a computer technical manual – clear, concise, and very well organized. The recipes not only work and taste as they should, the authors explain how they achieved the perfect recipe to begin with. For a beginning baker, it’s this extra information that is golden. You can learn so much when someone explains the why.
Sprinkled throughout the book are tips on everything from Preventing Sticky Lids to properly Shaping Turnovers, and as you might expect from the title, the illustrations are awesome. On a scale of 1 to 10 pies (my rating scale – 10 pies being the best), a rate this “must have” book at 9 Pies. There were only two reasons it didn’t get a 10. The first is the lack of a “reference” section (with conversions, etc…), and the second is the assumption that everyone has a food processor. I wish I had a food processor… I deserve a food processor, really I do, but the closest thing I can afford for now is a “mini” chopper. It’s a Cuisinart that got shrunk in the dryer. It holds about a cup, and is fine for chopping a hand-full of nuts, but not so hot for anything else. Oh well.