A baking book by someone who went to school for chemistry should be more interesting. I was hoping for more new stuff; instead mostly there’s a base recipe (sourdough, challah, croissant, etc) and some variations. Not to say there’s nothing here I’d try, rye in a pate sucree (basically a pie dough) sounds intriguing, as does carrot, currant, pecan loaf. The author is pretty open about their background as well as their preferences in terms of ingredients and equipment; the issue is for me that the whole thing comes off as more pretentious and chef-y. I also appreciated the explanation in the explanation of a standard laminated dough; when I’ve tried this before, the butter has gotten broken up. There is an explanation for why that might happen and why it’s not ideal here.
The set up for most recipes should be something I’d like. It’s actually got marginal labels that divide each recipe into general parts, like ‘make the dough’, ‘lock in the butter’, ‘make two letter folds’, prepare to fill’, ‘fill and cut’, ‘make the topping’, form and proof’, and finally ‘bake the sticky buns’. The one issue for me is that this ends up making the recipe a lot longer than it could be. It takes over 3 pages of pure text to explain the process for a sticky bun recipe. Missing is a time frame from the beginning; you’ve got to actually read the whole recipe carefully to get that information and do your own calculating, which you should do anyways, but still most other books do provide this in the heading info. The ingredient listing and amounts is also done in a way that could work, but just doesn’t for me. It’s done in 3 columns: ingredient, amount by volume, and amount by weight. This just ends up looking busy and visually a little confusing to me, even though conceptually, this should be a convenience for different types of bakers.
As I mentioned before, there are a few standouts, like the idea of a chocolate sugar cookie; how has this never been in any baking book I’ve seen before? It seems kind of obvious and yet, I think this might be the first time I’ve ever seen this. I’m tempted to try just the few recipes I’ve named, maybe copy them if they turn out well, and back to the library we go. The book isn’t due back until after Memorial Day, so maybe that’s what I’ll do with my day off.