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On Sale: April 10, 2012
Pages: 400 | ISBN: 978-1-60774-407-8
Published by : Ten Speed Press Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents


The learn-to-bake master class in a book.

The craft of baking is based on good technique. Learn the fundamentals well, and you can bake perfect cakes, cookies, tarts, breads, and pastries each and every time.

That's the premise of Baking, revered cooking teacher James Peterson's master course in baking fundamentals. In more than 350 recipes and auxiliary techniques--most accompanied by illuminating step-by-step photographs--Peterson lays the foundation for lifelong baking success.

This book teaches you how to build finished baked goods from their essential components, providing both maximum guidance for less experienced bakers and great creative freedom for more confident bakers. The Cakes chapter, for example, presents basic cake recipes (Moist Sponge Cake, Devil' s Food Cake) followed by frostings, fillings, and glazes (Professional-Style Buttercream, White Chocolate Ganache), allowing you to mix and match endlessly. Or, if you're looking for knockout assembled cakes, go to the end of the chapter and discover complete illustrated instructions for, say, a decadent Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Filling and Hazelnut Buttercream, or an elegant Peach Crème Mousseline Cake.

Baking is packed with the basic, must-have recipes for every baker's repertoire (as well as more ambitious classics), such as:

Pound Cake • Crème Anglaise • Chiffon Cake • Cheesecake • Classic Puff Pastry • Cherry Pie • Lemon Meringue Pie • Miniature Raw Fruit Tarts • Linzertorte • Cream Puffs • Chocolate Croissants • Cheese Danish • Basic Butter Cookies • Lemon Bars • Biscotti • Challah • Rye Bread • Focaccia • Blueberry Muffins • Scones • Flourless Chocolate Cake • Cheese Souffles • Miniature Cake Petits Fours • Apple Strudel • Napoleons • Rolled Fondant • Bûche de Noël • Éclairs • Mushroom Jalousie

Copious photographs inspire and help bakers visualize the crucial moments of hundreds of recipes and techniques, including:

Troubleshooting Tarts and Pies • Baking "Blind" • Making Liquid Fondant • Coating a Cake with Hot Icing • Assembling a Layer Cake without Using a Cake Stand • Decorating a Cake with a Caramel Cage • Coloring Marzipan • Making a Rolled Cake • Decorating Cookies with Colored Sugar • Filling and Using a Pastry Bag • Kneading Wet Dough in a Food Processor • Scoring Dough • Shaping a Fougasse • Repairing Chocolate Mixtures that Have Seized • Cooking Sugar Syrup to the Soft Ball Stage

Thorough, approachable, and authoritative, Baking shows why James Peterson is a trusted source for home cooks of every level. Work your way through this book, and you will gain the skills you'll need for impressive results every time.



I’m not a natural baker. Whereas when confronted with a stew or roast, I seem to know just what to do, when it comes to baking I need exact measurements and exact directions. And even with instructions in hand I manage to get flour all over the kitchen floor and chocolate on a whole sinkful of dishes. But I do savor the joys of baking: its precision, its particular (and sometimes peculiar) exigencies, and the pleasure of presenting a finished product to my guests or family. As I have progressed as a baker over the last four decades, I’ve gotten a lot of oohs and aahs, which is always extremely gratifying.

There is no shortage of excellent baking books available. I was motivated to add to the number because it has long seemed to me that most baking books never really explain the rudiments of the art in a way that would allow the reader to build on knowledge gradually acquired. What I hope to bring to the table is an approach that will truly teach you to think like a baker.

This book was years in the making. As with my other highly illustrated step-by-step books, recipe testing and photography went hand in hand--only this time, I worked with a full-time baking consultant on set. It seemed wise given my proclivities (or lack thereof).

Baking is organized and written in such a way as to enable you to understand the principles and techniques at play in a given classic recipe, and then to apply what you learn to baking projects that aren’t even included in the book. This means that most of the chapters are organized in a modular fashion. The chapter on cakes, for example, starts with basic recipes for the six different kinds of cakes, then moves on to recipes for frostings, fillings, and glazes. Next come an array of instructions for assembling cakes, such as raspberry buttercream layer cake (page 74), each of which results in a delicious and beautifully decorated cake and also serves as an example of techniques that can be used successfully with myriad other recipes (in the case of the raspberry buttercream layer cake, the main technique illustrated is how to assemble a layer cake without using a cake stand). Or, to take a principle from the chapter on pies, tarts, and pastries, once you realize that pastry dough comes in only five basic varieties, it becomes much easier to master the techniques required to execute a fully decorated pastry.

Often the difference between an ordinary cake and a fantastic one involves only a simple trick or two. In each chapter and recipe, I have tried to take every opportunity to teach good technique, whether in headnotes and recipe methods or in the many sidebars with stand-alone tips and techniques. Baking describes what can go wrong and how best to avoid common pitfalls such as over- or under-beating, but also how to use little bits of extra knowledge to get great results rather than merely good ones. Thus, Baking is for both novices and experienced bakers seeking to improve the quality of their cakes, tarts, cookies, or breads and make them look as good as the wares in the windows of Fauchon, the famous patisserie in Paris and New York.

Key to this book’s focus on teaching and technique is its abundant photography--more than 1,500 images that show the most important parts of virtually every technique and recipe described in the text. This step-by-step color photography is indispensable for teaching certain techniques that are next to impossible to explain fully with words. Being able to see how a recipe’s ingredients come together in stages throughout the process of baking reinforces good technique and gives the reader confidence, and a greater ability to get it just right the very first time.

The art of baking has an implicit logic that lends itself well to such an approach to teaching and learning. The behavior of certain ingredients in combination can be predicted and categorized--in sweet baking, we’re usually concerned with the big four: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar; when making breads, the interactions of water, yeast, and flour matter most. In keeping with the book’s philosophy of providing a solid foundation in baking technique, Baking contains many classic recipes in the French tradition, adapted for use in American kitchens. It’s also a reflection of my own discovery of baking and progress as a baker, starting in my years in France, through my experiments and learning in my own restaurant and those of other chefs, and comprehending also my decades as a food writer and cooking teacher.

Before you embark on a baking project from this book, I suggest you skim through the rest of the chapter to familiarize yourself with the basic issues and techniques (if you are a less experienced baker) or the tricks of the trade and possibilities for variation (if you are a more experienced baker). It is my hope that Baking will provide a firm foundation in baking fundamentals so you can create perfectly executed classics, feel comfortable diverging from the basic recipes, improvise creations of your own, and dive confidently into any baking recipe you feel inspired to try.


In general, when I cook, I don’t believe in observing a lot of rules--though I do have strong ideas about what works best and tastes best. In baking, this sort of anarchy in the kitchen doesn’t fly; so while I can often choose one flavoring or filling over another, like all other bakers I for the most part adhere to fairly strict rules, which are written into the recipes you’ll find in this book. This section contains some comments on ingredients and equipment that are standard in my recipes.


Baking powder and baking soda
Though both are used as leaveners, don’t confuse baking soda with baking powder. Baking powder contains an acid that causes the bicarbonate of soda to release carbon dioxide. To activate, baking soda needs acid from another source such as from chocolate or lemon.

Use double acting baking powder (this shouldn’t be a problem, as this is probably the only kind you will find at the store). Don’t keep baking powder or baking soda for more than a year.

Butter is unsalted. If you only have salted butter, just cut down on the salt in the recipe. But do avoid salted butter in very buttery preparations such as buttercream.

Corn syrup
Unless otherwise noted, corn syrup is light.

Cream All the cream called for in this book is either whipping cream or heavy cream, with butterfat content between 36 and 40 percent, never light cream, which has only about 18 to 30 percent butterfat. For the most part, crème fraiche will work as a substitute for heavy cream, but don’t use sour cream unless called for; it has less butterfat.

Eggs All eggs are large. Brown or white makes no difference.

Flour All the recipes were tested using King Arthur brand all-purpose flour and Swans Down cake flour. After years of playing with different flours, I’ve found that King Arthur brand, which is fairly high in gluten, will absorb more liquid than softer flours, especially those from the South. If your favorite all-purpose flour is a softer (and thus less absorbent) one, you may not need to use cake flour when it’s called for in the recipe--instead, go ahead and use your softer all-purpose flour on its own.

Fruit Most of the fruit called for is fresh, but frozen fruit is great for purees. Make sure to buy individually frozen fruit that comes in a bag, not fruit in syrup that comes in a can.

Nuts Nuts can turn rancid, even in the freezer. The best strategy is to roast them as soon as you get them; this will help their flavor and add to their shelf life. Spread them on a sheet pan and roast in a 350F oven for 15 minutes. Stir around once during the roasting. Once you have roasted them, store nuts in the freezer.

Nut oils Most nut oils are already rancid before you open the can or bottle. To avoid this, buy nut oils that have been made with roasted nuts, specifically Le Blanc brand. Store nut oils in the freezer.

Salt Regular fine salt or fine sea salt will do in all these recipes.

Spirits Spirits used in baking are there to provide flavor, so, buy the best spirits you dare.
Eaux de vie, such as kirsch or framboise, should be French, German, or Swiss. Bourbon should be straight, not blended. Rum should be dark rum, preferably pot-stilled, from Martinique. Cognac should say Cognac on the bottle and not just brandy. (However, you don’t need to buy an old rare Cognac; a young fruity one will do.) When you add spirits to mixtures such as simple syrup, make sure that the mixture is cool, or the flavor and aroma of the spirits will volatilize and evaporate.

Sugar Sugar is granulated unless otherwise called for.

Vanilla Be sure to use real vanilla extract. Use real vanilla beans for infusing in custards and batters.

Vegetable oil Make sure vegetable oil is fresh, as it can go rancid in a few months. Canola or sunflower oil make good choices for baking.


Bread pans Bread pans come in various sizes and are usually made of aluminum or some other inexpensive metal. In this book, I have used four sizes: miniature 2-cup pans, standard 4- or 6-cup pans, and a large 2-quart pan.

Cake pans I usually call for standard round cake pans of 9 inches (actually 91/2 inches), though sometimes I specify 8-inch or 10-inch pans (these are also standard sizes). Keep in mind that cakes shrink, such that a cake baked in a 91/2-inch pan will end up being 9 inches. Sheet pans are of a standard size, called a half sheet pan in the industry. They measure approximately 13 by 17 inches with 1-inch-high sides.

Cake racks Cake racks are essential tools for cooling cakes and cookies. Buy at least one large cake rack (the size of a sheet pan) for flipping out sheet cakes. Round cake racks are convenient for individual round cakes.

Copper bowls Egg whites rise better when beaten in copper. This leaves two choices--a copper bowl designed for beating by hand (make sure you buy a big one so there’s plenty of room to whisk) or a copper insert for your stand mixer. Be sure to clean the copper thoroughly with salt and vinegar before you use it each time. Make sure there is no trace of
fat adhering to the bowl.

Food processor A food processor is indispensable for grinding nuts and for pureeing solid mixtures. It is also useful for making most dough.

Marble Marble is beloved of pastry bakers, since its cool, smooth surface helps keep buttery dough from warming while it’s being worked. If you decide to buy a marble, buy the largest one you can lift and store. Scraps from a marble yard are a good source.

Molds and ramekins Baking molds and ramekins are used for tarts and tartlets, babas and savarins, brioche, madeleines, custards, soufflés, and more. For tarts, cookies, and cakes, non-stick or silicone molds are best. If you’re stuck with traditional molds--especially if you are making madeleines or financiers, which love to stick--butter the molds, refrigerate them, butter them again, and then flour them. When buying baking molds, keep in mind that some miniature tartlets require two molds per tartlet (see page 147).

Porcelain ramekins
come in handy for custards and soufflés. It’s ideal to have two sizes--5- or 6-ounce and 8-ounce; the recipes in this book call for 5- or 6-ounce ramekins, which are perfect for single-serving custards and soufflés. Crème brûlé dishes, which are shallow porcelain dishes with fluted edges, look dramatic at table. If you don’t have them, use regular porcelain ramekins, or try making crème brûlé in a baking dish and then bringing the dish to the table to serve.

Ovens Most baking is done on the middle rack of the oven. Placing a pizza stone on the bottom of your oven will help it maintain an even temperature. A convection oven is a great help in baking, as it cooks rapidly and evenly. Puff pastry does especially well in a convection oven. The recipes in this book were developed and tested using a conventional oven. If you have a convection oven, lower the temperature by 50 degrees.

Parchment paper
Almost indispensable in baking, parchment paper is now available at most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, substitute waxed paper (which will leave traces of harmless wax on foods), but not aluminum foil, which will leave specks of metal and may tear.

Pastry bags and tips Buy large pastry bags so you can pipe plenty of mixture, such as the batter for a large cake. Buy an assortment of pastry bag tips, both fluted and plain.

Pastry scrapers and bench scrapers
Bench scrapers (also called pastry scrapers and dough cutters) are typically metal, though some are made of plastic. They are versatile tools that can be used to scrape together ingredients on a work surface, transfer ingredients from work surface to a bowl or pan, and cut dough without wrecking its structure, among other things. Some plastic pastry scrapers have one straight and one rounded edge. This allows you to use them on both the work surface and inside bowls for folding mixtures.

Pastry cutters These old fashioned gadgets--essentially a series of stiff wires attached to a handle--are handy for cutting cubes of cold butter into flour when you’re working in a bowl. When working directly on the work surface, use a pastry scraper. When you are mixing dough in a stand mixer or food processor, the machine does the work.

Pie and tart pans While pie and tart pans come in innumerable sizes, the most common pie pan, and the one used in this book, is 11 inches in diameter from top edge to top edge, leaving about 9 inches of diameter in the middle. Tart pans are harder to standardize. Assume a recipe uses a 9-inch tart pan, unless otherwise specified--this book is filled with tarts made in irregular sizes. A less expensive alternative to a tart pan is a tart ring, which is simply a metal ring that you set on a sheet pan. The sheet pan provides the base for the tart.

Plastic wrap Plastic wrap is another kitchen essential, good for wrapping cakes or pastries destined for the freezer, or for covering and protecting all sorts of mixtures and finished desserts.

Pots and pans In general, pots and pans should be heavy, so they cook evenly. In baking, it’s generally best to avoid aluminum pans, which can turn preparations with egg yolk gray and react with acidic ingredients.

Rolling pins If you have a single rolling pin in your kitchen, make it a large wooden pin. I use the traditional French type of pin, which is a large cylinder with no handles. If you feel comfortable with them, rolling pins with handles work well, too. Avoid the Italian pins, which taper at the ends.

Rubber spatulas
These are indispensable for folding mixtures, cleaning out bowls and pans, and transferring small amounts of mixtures. While traditionally made of rubber, flexible spatulas nowadays are made of silicone, which lasts longer and won’t burn.

Stand mixer Perhaps the most useful item in the baker’s kitchen, a stand mixer is great for making pastries, combining all manner of mixtures, beating egg whites, and kneading bread dough. Some stand mixers will even accommodate a copper bowl insert, which is handy for beating egg whites. Most stand mixers come with three attachments: a dough hook, a paddle blade, and a whisk. Each of these is designed with a different stiffness in mind for whatever’s being combined. Usually, it is obvious which is appropriate for the task at hand. For example, unless otherwise noted in the recipe, the dough hook attachment should be used when making bread.

If you plan on making a lot of bread, you may want to buy a heavy-duty, professional grade stand mixer; otherwise a stand mixer designed for the home kitchen is sufficient.

Note that directions for whipping (such as egg whites or cream) include times for a stand mixer, unless otherwise noted. For example, to beat 4 egg whites to stiff peaks in a stand mixer will take 1 minute of beating on medium speed and then 1 minute more on high speed. Whipping with a hand-held mixer or by hand will take longer, so rely on doneness cues given in the recipe to know when you’ve whipped long enough.

Table of Contents


Basic Cakes

Basic French Sponge Cake (Genoise) • 8
Moist Sponge Cake • 10
Chocolate Sponge Cake • 12
Chocolate Soufflé Cakes • 12
Fine-Crumb European Sponge Cake (Biscuit) • 14
Butter-Enriched Sponge Cake • 16
Sour Cream Sponge Cake • 18
Almond Flour Sponge Cake • 20
Almond Paste Sponge Cake • 22
Angel Food Cake • 24
Pound Cake • 25
German Chocolate Cake • 26
Fluffy Light Butter Cake • 28
Cream and Butter Sheet Cake • 29
Devil’s Food Cake • 30
Vanilla Butter Cake • 31
Carrot Cake • 32
Chiffon Cake • 34
Babas and Savarins • 36
French Meringue Layer Cake • 38
Hazelnut Meringue (Dacquoise) • 40
Chocolate Meringue Logs • 41
Cheesecake • 42

Frostings, Fillings, and Glazes
Professional-Style Buttercream • 45
Italian Meringue Buttercream • 46
Quick and Easy Orange Buttercream • 46
Dark Chocolate Ganache • 50
Creamy Chocolate Frosting (Crème d’Or) • 52
Dark Chocolate Glaze • 53
White Chocolate Glaze • 53
Vanilla Custard Sauce (Crème Anglaise) • 54
Strawberry Bavarian Cream • 56
Classic Crème Mousseline • 57
Fruit Crème Mousseline • 58
Seven-Minute Frosting • 59
Italian Meringue • 60
Lemon Glaze • 61
Stabilized Whipped Cream • 62
Chestnut Cream Cake Filling • 64
Rolled Fondant • 67
Royal Icing • 67
Royal Icing for Cookies • 67

Assembled Cakes
Devil’s Food Cake with Ganache, Chocolate Buttercream, and Chocolate Curls • 71
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Filling and Hazelnut Buttercream • 72
Raspberry Buttercream Layer Cake • 74
Orange Buttercream Layer Cake • 77
Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse Ladyfinger Cake • 78
Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake • 80
Mango Crème Mousseline Cake • 81
Chocolate Cherry Cake with White Chocolate Glaze • 84
Classic Strawberry-Marzipan Cake (Fraisier) • 86
Whipped Cream-Covered Chocolate Chestnut Cake • 90
Strawberry Bavarian Cake • 92
Individual Chocolate Meringue Cakes • 94
Chocolate Mousse Dome Cake • 96
Peach Crème Mousseline Cake • 99
Miniature Cake Petits Fours • 102
Rolled Pistachio Buttercream Cake • 104
Apricot Jelly Roll • 106
Bûche de Noël • 108
Marzipan • 109

Pies, Tarts, and Pastries

Basic Doughs

Basic Pie and Tart Pastry Dough (Pâte Brisée) • 130
Sweetened Basic Pie and Tart Pastry Dough • 131
Extra Buttery Sweet Pastry Dough (Pâte Sablée) • 134
Cream Cheese Tart and Pie Pastry Dough • 135
Flaky Pie and Tart Pastry Dough • 136
Sweet Crisp Pastry Dough (Pâte Sucrée) • 138
Linzer Pastry Dough • 140
Classic Puff Pastry Dough • 148
Quick Puff Pastry Dough • 151
Puff Pastry Cases • 152
Puff Pastry Rectangles • 153
Cream Puff Pastry Dough (Pâte à Choux) • 155
Croissant Dough • 157

Fillings and Glazes
Almond Cream • 159
Frangipane • 159
Pastry Cream • 160
Hazelnut Frangipane • 161
Praline Paste • 161
Cream Cheese Tart Filling • 161
Cheese Danish Filling • 162
Goat Cheese Filling • 162
Mushroom Filling (Duxelles) • 162
Liquid Fondant • 163
Chocolate Fondant • 163
Coffee Fondant • 163

Pies, Tarts, and Pastries
Blueberry Pie • 164
Cherry Pie • 167
Apple Pie • 169
Classic French Apple Tart • 170
Tarte Tatin • 173
Plum Tart • 174
Apricot Frangipane Tart • 175
Blueberry Frangipane Tart • 176
Hazelnut or Almond Tartlets • 176
Apricot Tartlets • 177
Cherry Tartlets • 178
Berry Frangipane Tartlets • 178
Plum, Kiwi, or Peach Frangipane Tartlets • 178
Raw Fruit Tarts • 179
Ganache Tart • 179
Raspberry-Ganache Tart • 179
Kiwi-Whipped White Chocolate Ganache Tart • 180
Raspberry-Classic Crème Mousseline Tart • 180
Blackberry-Peach Mousseline Tart • 180
Mixed Berry-Passion Fruit Mousse Tart • 181
Miniature White Chocolate Ganache Tartlets • 181
Miniature Dark Chocolate Ganache Tartlets • 181
Assorted Berry Tartlets • 182
Red Currant Barquettes • 182
Miniature Raw Fruit Tartlets • 182
Blackberry-Lemon Cream Tart • 183
Passion Fruit Meringue Tart • 184
Lemon Meringue Pie • 184
Alsatian Apple Tart • 186
Roast Pear Clafoutis • 188
Roast Pears in Butterscotch Sauce • 188
Pumpkin Pie • 191
Persimmon Tart or Tartlets • 191
Passion Fruit Tartlets or Tart • 191
Pecan Pie • 192
Lime Tart • 194
Key Lime or Lemon Tart • 194
Orange Tart • 194
Candied Orange Slices • 195
Banana Cream Pie • 196
Coconut Cream Pie • 199
Crispy Apple Tart • 201
Puff Pastry Pear Frangipane Tart • 201
Fruit-Hazelnut Puff Pastry Tartlets • 202
Miniature Puff Pastry Fruit Tartlets • 203
Individual Deep-Dish Berry Pies • 204
Blueberry Turnovers • 205
Almond-Puff Pastry Galette (Pithiviers) • 206
Linzertorte • 209
Éclairs • 210
Cream Puffs • 213
Cream Puff Pastry Swans • 214
Croissants • 216
Chocolate Croissants • 219
Fruit Danish Tartlets • 220
Fruit and Cheese Danish Purses • 222
Miniature Cheese Danish Twirls • 223
Fruit Danish Packets • 224
Rolled Danish Pastries • 225
Napoleons • 226
Apple Strudel • 228
Pistachio Baklava • 232
Mushroom Jalousie • 234
Cheese Puffs (Gougères) • 235
Cheese Straws • 236
Vol-au-Vents • 237
Miniature Vol-au-Vents • 237
Quiche Lorraine • 238


Basic Butter Cookie Dough • 246
Jelly Cookies • 247
Holiday Butter Cookies • 248
Sablée Cookies • 250
Chocolate Sablée Cookies • 250
Checkerboard Sablée Cookies • 250
Marbled Sablée Cookies • 252
Spiral-Patterned Sablée Cookies • 252
Shortbread Cookies • 256
Pecan Fingers • 257
Chocolate Chip Cookies • 259
Madeleines • 260
Cakey Madeleines • 261
Financiers • 262
Cat’s Tongue Cookies (Langues de Chat) • 263
Almond Tuiles • 264
Lacy Blood Orange Tuiles • 265
Macarons • 266
Coconut Macaroons • 267
Florentine Almond Cookies • 268
Biscotti • 269
Palmiers • 271
Brownies • 272
Lemon Bars • 274

Breads, Quick Breads, and Bread-Based Desserts

Yeasted Breads

White Bread (Straight Dough) • 304
White Bread (Sponge Starter) • 306
White Bread (Mature Starter) • 307
Ciabatta • 309
Sourdough Bread • 313
Rye Bread • 314
Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread • 316
Sourdough Whole Wheat Raisin Bread • 316
Pumpernickel Bread • 318
Pizza Dough • 319
Pizza Margherita • 320
Roquefort and Walnut Pizza • 320
Pita Bread • 322
Bread Sticks (Grissini) • 323
Focaccia • 324
Brioche • 327
Panettone • 328
Challah • 330
Coffee Cakes • 333
Cinnamon Rolls • 334
Sticky Buns • 336

Quick Breads and Bread-Based Desserts
Banana Nut Bread Muffins • 338
Apricot Bread • 339
Popovers • 340
Blueberry Muffins • 341
Baking Powder Biscuits • 342
Scones • 343
Cherry Cobblers • 344
Strawberry Shortcakes • 345
Apple Charlottes • 346

Custards, Soufflés, Fruit Curds, and Mousses

Coffee Pots de Crème • 353
Crèmes Caramels • 355
Crèmes Brûlées • 357
Cheese Soufflés • 359
Grand Marnier Soufflés • 362
Lemon Curd • 364
Passion Fruit Curd • 364
Passion Fruit Mousse • 365
Classic Chocolate Mousse • 366
White Chocolate Mousse • 367
Flourless Chocolate Cake • 368
James Peterson

About James Peterson

James Peterson - Baking

Photo © Zelik Mintz

JAMES PETERSON is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photogra­pher, and cooking teacher whose career began as a young restaurant cook in Paris in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, Peterson practiced his traditional French train­ing as a chef-partner for a Greenwich Village restaurant called Le Petit Robert. A cooking teacher for over two decades since, Peterson has taught at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School and at the French Culinary Institute. After translating a series of French pastry books from French to English, Peterson was encouraged to write his own book. He is now the author of fifteen books, including Cooking, Baking, Meat, Vegetables, Kitchen Simple, and Sauces--his first book--which became an instant classic and received the 1991 James Beard Cookbook of the Year award. His articles and recipes have appeared in national magazines and newspapers. A self-taught food photographer, Peterson also cre­ates the photography for his books. James Peterson lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Praise | Awards


“You'll find James Peterson's James Beard Award-winning tome, Cooking, on the shelves of every Cooking Light food editor. He has a special talent for friendly and thorough instruction, which is also evident in Baking.”
—Cooking Light, Favorite Cookbooks, 2010

"This workhorse of a guidebook (a sequel title to Cooking by the James Beard–winning author), is a worthy baking school between covers. Jam-packed with instructional photos accompanying a carefully created modular approach that aims to “teach you to think like a baker,” the work features over 300 recipes, mostly classics based in the French tradition. The five chapters—Cakes; Pies, Tarts and Pastries; Cookies; Breads, Quick Breads, and Bread-based Desserts; and Custards, Soufflés, Fruit Curds and Mousses—include a comprehensive overview, sidebars on techniques and recipes designed to teach techniques that can be used in more than the recipe listed. While you won't find innovative recipes, all the basics are here—classic puff pastry dough, sheet cakes, chocolate chip cookies, baguettes—along with classic, fanciful treats such as frangipane tart, madeleines, Grand Marnier soufflés and chocolate croissants. While not glamorous, this is a comprehensive title." (Nov.)
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

It will soon be said--if it hasn’t been already--that one could learn everything one needs to know about cooking by simply having and using James Peterson’s books. This latest addition to his ever-impressive collection fills in the previously missing piece--baking--with gusto and thoroughness. It has already become my go-to all-purpose baking and pastry reference when teaching my own students and also when I’m baking at home.
—Peter Reinhart, baking instructor at Johnson & Wales University and author of Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

For years, cooking has benefited from James Peterson’s classy, classic touch. With camera in one hand and rolling pin in the other, he’s finally turned his savvy and creativity to Baking, and we get to peek over his shoulder--a delight for both eye and palate.
—Pam Anderson, USA Weekend food columnist and cookbook author 

Bakers rejoice! At last, James Peterson has turned his talents to the subject dearest to our hearts. Clearly written and beautifully illustrated, Baking brings the classics of the canon within reach of every serious home baker.
—Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking from My Home to Yours

Trust me--you need this book! With groundbreaking clarity, James Peterson masterfully demystifies baking in this visually mesmerizing, user-friendly manual that guarantees any baker a more intuitive, confident approach to the art.
—Flo Braker, author of Baking for All Occasions and The Simple Art of Perfect Baking

This book makes the complicated and often secret techniques of baking plain and simple, with hundreds of photos to walk you through the hard parts. It’ s all you really need to learn it all.
—Gale Gand, author of Chocolate and Vanilla 


WINNER 2010 James Beard Award

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