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10 Best Baking Books

Updated on August 30, 2013

Are you a passionate baker?

If you're an avid baker like me you probably have a large collection of baking and desserts books on your kitchen shelf. You may or may not follow the whole recipe but they act as an inspiration each and everyday, for me at least. No matter which level of baker you are you should know the science of baking, for they say that baking is more of a science than art while cooking, on the other hand, is an art.

Here is my list of best baking books out there. These have been selected based on their rating, my personal experience with many of these, the clarity of recipes and the overall popularity and sales. If you're a beginner start with one of them. If you're still learning, get any of these. If you're already a baker it will help you discover some amazing books you might be missing in your collection.

The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

by King Arthur Flour

This amazing book is considered as one of the most comprehensive baking books available in the market today. It contains around 400 recipes for everything from cakes, cookies to breads, muffins, pizzas and waffles. It's one book which no serious baker should skip. According to the book cover:

"From Christmas cookies and pancakes to chocolate cake and sandwich bread, The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion will be there to guide home bakers every step of the way. he King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion is the definitive kitchen resource. Exhaustive in scope, authoritative in style, and offering clear, practical, and encouraging instruction, it is the one book you'll turn to every time you bake. Like your set of measuring cups and favorite wooden spoon, it will become an essential kitchen tool. "

Baking: From My Home to Yours

by Dorie Greenspan

Dorie was once told by Julia Child, "You write recipes just the way I do." and that's one reason for Dorie's wide-spread praise. The other reason is what she enjoys most, the home baking, shows through her books. She is passionate about baking and that's the reason you will love her books. This book is a favorite of many bakers throughout the world and contains around 300 recipes from breads to cakes to cookies to tarts. You won't be disappointed by this book at all. According to book cover:

"In Baking: From My Home to Yours, her masterwork, Dorie applies the lessons from three decades of experience to her first and real love: home baking. The 300 recipes will seduce a new generation of bakers, whether their favorite kitchen tools are a bowl and a whisk or a stand mixer and a baker's torch. Even the most homey of the recipes are very special. Dorie's favorite raisin swirl bread. Big spicy muffins from her stint as a baker in a famous New York City restaurant. French chocolate brownies (a Parisian pastry chef begged for the recipe). A dramatic black and white cake for a "wow" occasion. Pierre Hermé's extraordinary lemon tart. The generous helpings of background information, abundant stories, and hundreds of professional hints set Baking apart as a one-of-a-kind cookbook."

The Art and Soul of Baking

by Sur la Table, Cindy Mushet

This ultimate baking guide has many crowns on its head. It is the 2009 IACP Cookbook Awards Winner and was nominated for James Beard Foundation Award in 2009. The book contains around 250 recipes along with many baking tips and tricks. According to book cover:

"Sur La Table teamed with pastry chef and baking teacher Cindy Mushet to bring you the ultimate guide to baking. Beautiful photographs and more than 250 easy-to-follow recipes lead you into a world of alluring aromas and light, flaky pastries. Illustrated asides take you step by step through important techniques, from carmelizing sugar to working with croissant dough. Plus, you'll find invaluable information on over 100 ingredients and 50 baker's tools. A true pleasure for anyone who loves to bake."

Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

by Joanne Chang, Christie Matheson

This book is considered all-in-one reference for every kind of baker, whether a hobbyist or a professional. The book starts with the basic baking techniques and then moves on to equipment and finally the 150 mouth-watering recipes. The notable thing is all recipes are made of flour.

"Every day 1,500 Bostonians can't resist buying sweet, simple treats such as Homemade Pop-Tarts, from an alumna of Harvard with a degree in economics. From Brioche au Chocolat and Lemon Raspberry Cake to perfect croissants, Flour Bakery-owner Joanne Chang's repertoire of baked goods is deep and satisfying. While at Harvard she discovered that nothing made her happier than baking cookies leading her on a path that eventually resulted in a sticky bun triumph over Bobby Flay on the Food Network'sThrowdown. Almost 150 Flour recipes such as Milky Way Tart and Dried Fruit Focaccia are included, plus Joanne's essential baking tips, making this mouthwatering collection an accessible, instant classic cookbook for the home baker."

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Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours

by Sarabeth Levine, Rick Rodgers

It's not one of those finest baking books but still many people have loved Sarabeth's writing style. She shares over 100 of her popular recipes with clear photos and step-by-step instructions on how to make them. You will find everything from cookies to pastries to cakes and croissants and the whole book is divided into chapters like Cakes, Pie & Tarts, Sauces, Frozen Desserts, Muffins and more. Bonus: she has included recipes of her favorite jams and jellies. According to book cover:

"Mastering the art of baking, presented step-by-step through recipes from the legendary New York City baker. In the heart of Manhattan's vibrant Highline District is a destination that is beloved by discriminating dessert lovers-Sarabeth's Bakery. Sarabeth Levine offers an irresistible array of scones, muffins, croissants, cookies, and other classic desserts. This important addition to the baking book canon has been anxiously awaited by the extraordinary baker's countless fans. It features more than one hundred inspiring recipes for her signature baked goods, ranging from unique English muffins and luscious banana cream pie with vanilla bean pastry to creamy chocolate pudding. Recipes for the perfect accompaniment to her buttery pastries-her legendary spreadable fruits-are also included."

The Taste of Home Baking Book

by Taste of Home Editors

The book accumulates the best of baking tips, tricks and recipes from Taste of Home magazine to bring you all the best at a single place. The book is not a complete baking reference but you will enjoy the fresh photos, illustrations and step-by-step style of around 700 recipes divided into 13 chapters and handy reference charts. According to book cover:

"The Taste of Home Baking Book is the ideal kitchen companion for anyone who enjoys making and sharing irresistible, fresh-from-the-oven treats! For the first time ever, the very best baking secrets from readers of Taste of Home magazine have been collected and specially selected to give you... Whether you're a novice or an experienced home baker, you'll discover scrumptious sweets, savory treats and batches of delectable, oven-fresh ideas for any occasion in The Taste of Home Baking Book."

Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters: More than 100 Years of Recipes Discovered from Family Cookbooks, Original Journals...

by Marilynn & Sheila Brass

It is a collection of antique recipes pass through the generations to Brass sisters which they have preserved and modified to adjust the modern kitchen and baking techniques. The book includes around 150 recipes and was nominated for James Beard award in Baking/Desserts category. The recipes belong to various regions and ethnicities. According to book cover:

"We all have fond memories of a favorite dessert our grandmother or mother used to bake. It's these dishes that give us comfort in times of stress, help us celebrate special occasions, and remind us of the person who used to bake for us those many years ago. The book features such down-home and delicious recipes as Brandied Raisin Teacakes, Cuban Flan, Cranberry-Orange Cream Scones, Chattanooga Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, and many more. Accompanying the recipes are stories from the lives of the families from which they came. The Brass Sisters have taken care to update every recipe for today's modern kitchens. More than 150 photographs showcase the scrumptious food in full-color detail."

Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

by Martha Stewart

I love Martha, I know her as my most favorite crafter of all time and I do love her recipes (the most recent I tried and LOVED was chocolate cupcakes). This book is a serious must-have for all bakers out there containing around 200 recipes. Her recipes are easy-to-follow, clear with step-by-step instructions and difficulty level mentioned on each recipe. According to Martha:

"Here, you will find the recipes and how-tos for the popovers you dream about, and for the simple crumb cake that you always want to whip up on Sunday morning, and for the double-chocolate brownie cookies that will make you a bigger hero with the after-school crowd, and for the citrus bars that you could only find in that little bakery that's no longer under the same management. . . . Baking offers comfort and joy and something tangible to taste and savor. We all hope that these recipes provide you with years of pleasure."

The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own

by Karen DeMasco, Mindy Fox

Karen is James Beard award winner pastry chef who brings new combinations and variation in traditional recipes in this book. The book is intended at bakers to make them think intuitively to produce many creative variations in their kitchen. You will find plenty of recipes for everything sweet including cakes, cookies, pies, breads, sauces, candies and brittles. According to book cover:

"Using the bounty of the seasons as inspiration and Karen's clear instructions, both beginners and experienced bakers will find it easy to let their creativity take the reins. Learn how to make Karen's celebrated sweets, such as Apple Fritters with Caramel Ice Cream and Apple Caramel Sauce, White Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream, and Raised Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts. Then check out the tips on "varying your craft" to transform Grandma Rankin's Cashew Brittle into Pumpkin Seed Brittle and to alter a cobbler recipe to make Rhubarb Rose Cobbler in the spring or Mixed Berry Cobbler in the summer, for example. Karen's suggestions for "combining your craft"-such as serving Almond Pound Cake with Apricot Compote and Lillet Sabayon-reveal how easy it is to take desserts to the next level."

The Complete Book of Baking

by Pillsbury

This amazing step-by-step illustrated book is considered comprehensive guide on baking for today's homemakers. It contains 200 proven recipes on everything from cakes to muffins to pastries and breads. Each recipe is supported by nutritional facts, its low-fat variations and cooking tips.

According to Publishers Weekly:

"From the savory Gorgonzola biscuits, soft and crumbly with bits of the blue-veined cheese, to the delicately moist "Apricot Sunshine Muffins," many of the recipes can be mixed and baked in just under half an hour. "

According to Library Journal:

"This collection includes favorite recipes from the Pillsbury test kitchens along with numerous winners of the Pillsbury Bake-Offs over the years. There are both sweets--from cookies and cakes to pies--and savory quick yeast breads and rolls along with lots of tips and hints, illustrations of techniques, and step-by-step color photographs. Recipes range from classic fruit crisps and pies to elaborate, often extremely sweet, concoctions like Fudge-Glazed Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce; some, but not many, are based on packaged mixes."

Suggestions, Feedback, Questions, Recommendations, Criticism? - I love all of them!

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    • spider-girl profile image

      spider-girl 5 years ago

      @GollyGearHope: Thanks for the recommendations Hope. I'll check these out!

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 5 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      Some great choices! You may also want to check out some of Nick Malgieri's books - one of my favorites is "How To Bake." Of course I also love his book on chocolate.....or any book about chocolate, for that matter!

    • profile image

      miller83 5 years ago

      Great lens. Loved the style.