Culinary Institute of America: Baking and Pastry (Hardcover, 2009, Wiley) 3 stars

The Culinary Institute of America holds nothing back in its mission to provide students, professionals, …

A bit of a letdown

3 stars

I found this book a little disappointing because of how it's organized and how much of baking it tries to cover. It starts out with a ton of information about baking as a profession, tools, and technical information about baking (like tables of different gelling agents, and bread techniques and terminology). All of that information is really good, well curated, and clear, but I wished that the techniques specific to certain kinds of baking were placed with the recipes, rather than all together at the beginning. It also spends a lot of time, understandably, on professional bread techniques, and a lot less on pastry techniques. It feels at times like a bread book with some pastry recipes included.

There are tons of recipes, but often they are variants on a theme (like banana, chocolate, or lacenut tuiles) but no basic recipe and no information on how to modify the recipe yourself or what makes the modifications work. The pastry recipes aren't terribly well organized, not much time gets devoted to different types, and there are big omissions (like macarons).

I think it is just too ambitious to have a single book about "baking and pastry"!