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Review of "Mom's Big Book of Baking" by Lauren Chattman

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Mom's Big Book of Baking
by Lauren Chattman

Harvard Common Press
$21.95 Suggested Retail Price

Lauren Chattman gives us over 200 recipes for the aspiring baker. Baking naturally brings up thoughts of desserts, of course, and this notebook-style cookbook features dozens of luscious recipes for cakes and cookies that range from the simplest sugar cookies to biscotti. The book actually begins with breakfast fare, offering the obligatory recipes for pancakes and waffles. Then we proceed to some real baking with a section devoted to muffins, biscuits, and quick breads. Then we go through the cookies, bars, and brownies. That's followed by the sorts of recipes that give home cooks trepidations - pies, quiches, and cobblers. Then comes the graduate-level work with yeast-based recipes for things like bread and pizza dough.

This is almost more of a textbook than a regular cookbook. The author is showing you how to bake, rather than simply presenting an array of baking recipes to try. There's lots of easy-to-follow instructions with a great section on what the well-stocked pantry should include. I also appreciated the fact that most of the recipes tell you how long the food should keep, even though few desserts last more than a couple of days in my house. I always like cookbooks like this one that include the classic dishes, so I can find references when I'm trying something new. Just a superb cookbook for anyone who wants to learn how to bake from scratch.

Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our September, 2008 issue.

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