Cookbook Review: Baking Basics and Beyond by Pat Sinclair

Baking Basics and Beyond Learn These Simple Techniques and Bake Like a Pro Pat SinclairThis is a brand new updated edition of Pat Sinclair’s down-to-earth and reader-friendly baking cookbook and guide – Baking Basics and Beyond. Updates include tons of color photographs all through the easy-to-use book and 120 precisely penned recipes. Plus tips and tricks to make your baking incredible.

Pat Sinclair offers easy to use and remember advice like tips on how much kneading is good for biscuits. Pat’s notes, “...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.” In addition to working for such notable companies, Pat holds a Master’s Degree in food but a lot of her baking skills came from trial and error in her own kitchen.

Pat Sinclair visits KARE 11 in Minnesota (video)

But what makes her book different?  Baking Basics and Beyond focuses on basic techniques and easy and uncomplicated directions (check out the Table of Contents  – PDF). It’s a book fit for a new baker or an experienced one. I’ve been baking for years and I learned quite a few new things! Like I assumed that I dipped biscuits cutters in flour first because it made it easier to remove the dough. But Pat notes that it will also make them rise higher. And that yeast dough should be cut with a knife or dough scraper so you don’t damage the gluten which will alter the final texture. The book is filled with more information on the science of baking and I loved reading more about how ingredients react when put together or heated. But you don’t have to learn this minutia to be a great baker. Just follow her recipes and you’ll be successful.

The book includes great techniques for yeast breads and starts you out on the basics and works you up to more challenging recipes. And they’re recipes your family will love. Not some weird concoctions that include ingredients you can’t locate in your store. My favs? Turtle Cheesecake Pie (although I wish she’d included a homemade caramel sauce recipe as well – jarred sauce in a cheesecake? NEVAH!), Chewy Cherry Square (very similar to a raspberry bar I make that’s delicious), and Scottish Shortbread Cookies which I’ll be making for my son because they’re his favorite.

My suggestion?  Pick up one for yourself and one for your favorite mom for Mother’s Day.  Or a new bride – it’s a perfect wedding shower gift!

Recipes from the  Baking Basics and Beyond on the web:

Book Details

  • Publisher: Agate Surrey; Second Edition (December 6, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1572841265 / ISBN-13: 978-1572841260

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