Did you hear a loud woo-hoo a while back and wonder where it came from? It was me, finally nailing a biscuit recipe that I had almost given up on. Up until now biscuits have been the domain of the Mr. He is so good at them I didn’t think there was a reason for me to even try anymore.
That was until I started reading Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher. In an effort to become a better baker I thought it was high time I learned more about the whys of baking. After reading several articles online by Ms. Corriher I decided to get the book via interlibrary loan. This is what I always like to do before I buy a book. I also watched a couple of her Youtube videos and found her style very likeable. This book doesn’t have lots of pictures and I wasn’t bothered by that because the information is so good.
I love the way Ms. Corriher explains each item that goes into a recipe and what effect it has on the success of it. Who knew that baking powder already has a small amount of baking soda in it? I didn’t, until now. One piece of information has me critiquing every recipe I come across.
Add 1 tsp of baking powder for every cup of flour and ¼ tsp baking soda for every cup of flour. I also now use a baking stone in my oven. Ms. Corriher I am a fan!
Now I know that there are tons of recipes that will turn out well without using that formula. However, it’s something that I will now take into consideration when choosing a recipe and definitely when developing my own. You may also be wondering why I take so much stock into what the author says. Her French Culinary training, research work as a biochemist at Vanderbilt University School of medicine, plus the fact that she was awarded the James Beard Award of Excellence is enough for me to believe she knows a thing or two about baking formulas.
Something else I appreciated was the detailed information about different mixing methods. Bakewise contains over 200 recipes; everything from cookies to foccacia. If baking isn’t your thing Ms. Corriher has also authored another book titled, Cookwise. The recipe that had me thumping my chest is for Touch of Grace Biscuits. They were the lightest and most delicate biscuits I have ever tasted. In the past, the biscuit recipes I tried resulted in dough that was firm yet pliable so that you could either roll them out or drop them.
These however resulted in dough that resembled cottage cheese. Her words not mine and her description was right on point. As with most doughs you can feel when it is right, and when I finally got it right I knew it was going to work. There are several sections that I have to go over with a fine tooth comb after I buy the book of course. If you have ever wondered why your cakes didn’t rise, or your muffins didn’t have that oh so cute peak, check out this book. Your questions will be answered.
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