A Good Bake: The Art and Science of Making Perfect Pastries, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Breads at Home by Melissa Weller and Carolynn Carreño

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Cardamom cinnamon rolls with buttermilk glaze

    • Emily Hope on January 06, 2021

      Tried these out for our traditional Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, and they have immediately become the standard recipe for me. (I used to use a Cook's Illustrated recipe that was fine but never great, and would often turn out too dry or gummy.) The dough is beautifully light and rich at the same time, there's plenty of cinnamon-sugar filling (though I did up the amount of cinnamon), and they came out looking like they were from a bakery. The recipe wasn't substantially more complicated to make than other cinnamon roll recipes, though you do have to chill the dough between the rise and the rolling (this also helps a lot with making the dough easy to roll). I did leave out the cardamom as there are some family members who don't care for it. If the other recipes in this book turn out as well I will be seriously impressed.

  • Wyatt's chocolate birthday cake with chocolate fudge frosting

    • Emily Hope on October 07, 2021

      Pretty close to the platonic ideal of a birthday cake. The frosting in particular was delicious, and not that much more work that a powdered-sugar frosting. The yellow cake was a tiny bit dry -- I may have left it in a little too long. C, true to form, was less than thrilled. Next year I will just do Betty Crocker and leave it at that!

  • Cinnamon swirl sour cream bundt cake

    • Emily Hope on August 30, 2021

      Made this with R as a fun morning project, and forgot to add the baking powder! Despite this, my family of five demolished the whole thing in two days. Definitely a keeper--the sour cream makes the cake super moist and the lemon zest is a nice touch. I swapped out about 150 grams of ap flour for freshly milled pima soft wheat -- and might do a bit more next time. I also might try to cut back a bit on the sugar as it's a bit on the sweet side.

    • bwhip on May 08, 2021

      Wonderful recipe. I made ours as smaller individual cakes, in 4.25” paper molds, so they’d be sort of coffee cake muffins. They turned out great! Lovely tender crumb, nice ratio of topping to cake, excellent flavor. We enjoyed this very much.

  • Ricotta chocolate chip pound cake

    • Astrid5555 on October 14, 2021

      Despite scaling down the recipe to account for my leftover ricotta, this cake turned out beautifully (in contrast to the other 2 reviewers). The kids liked it a lot (chocolate chips!), big hit with their friends at school.

    • tarae1204 on April 12, 2021

      You must use the specified pan size of 9 x 4, or risk a terrible burnt oven mess. And cooking time may also be 1 hr 20-30 min. Use thermometer if you have one to confirm internal temp of 200 degrees.

    • aecooks on September 28, 2021

      Something seems off, this cake is super greasy and crumbly to the point of uncuttable. Maybe I measured wrong but I don’t think so. As someone else noted it takes quite a bit longer to bake than the recipe says.

    • TheWayEyeRoll on December 11, 2021

      The flavor is great but it turned out very greasy. Like someone else commented I thought I measured wrong. My only change was my pan was not 9x4 - I used 8.5x4.5. But I don't think that would account for the greasiness. Perhaps I creamed the butter and sugar too long or maybe I should have kept the ricotta in the fridge while I spent so much time chopping the chocolate. I wound up having to bake for 90 minutes for the middle to reach 200 degrees. I may try it again to see if I have the same problem. One suggestion - chopping the chocolate chips and sifting them as the author suggests took some time. I'd do that ahead of time next time.

  • Johnny Cash's mother's pineapple rum chess pie

    • Astrid5555 on January 04, 2021

      Delicious! Admittedly made only the filling from this recipe and used the “All-buttah pie dough” from The Book on Pie for my crust. No way was I going to blind bake the recipe’s pâte brisée for an hour and then again with the filling for 45 minutes. My pineapple was extra sweet so I decreased the sugar by one third, still sweet enough.

  • Chocolate chunk cookies

    • Rachaelsb on March 07, 2021

      Soooooo good!! I have always been partial to Alice Medrich recipes but these are great. Such different texture but great chewy thinner cookie with yummy flavor. It’s a toss up.

    • tarae1204 on April 14, 2021

      Promising but my cookies overbaked - first batch at 18 minutes as specified in book, second batch at 14 minutes, still very brown. Will try again using scale to weigh dough 50 grams.

  • Orange, coconut, and poppy seed cake

    • tarae1204 on April 14, 2021

      Not loving this cake. It only gently rose in the center. (Followed recipe to the T except I left dry ingredients in bag overnight and didn’t rewhisk. Used correct 10 inch pan.) Author says to test for done-ness by cake springing back from center. Well, mine didn’t at full cook time specified. And so I baked longer, tapping the center every five minutes. Finally the poor cake couldn’t take anymore and sank! Flavor wise: maybe the issue is Trader Joe’s unsweetened coconut. It’s readily available and affordable, but the pieces are just too big for baking I’ve decided, and won’t use them again. Cooking the 2 oranges takes 2 hours and much water replenishment, and you only use half the purée. The cake is very sweet, maybe a little sticky in the interstitial parts between the coconut. Positives: gluten free, healthy ingredients, very textural. The sliced almonds and jam on top are delicious!

  • Multigrain loaf

    • bwhip on January 03, 2021

      This bread turned out great, we really enjoyed it. Crispy, thin crust, nicely hearty from all the seeds. My wife doesn’t like sourdough, so I substituted a simple poolish I made the night before in the same quantity.

  • Milk chocolate and raspberry blondies

    • leilx on August 18, 2021

      These sound sweet but they are fabulous! and pretty to boot. Rich.

  • Spelt bull's-eye scones with raspberry jam

    • jackthebaker on June 29, 2021

      These are fantastic. One of the best tasting scones ever. Really easy and really tasty.

  • Tahini white chocolate chunk cookies

    • sdeathe on October 13, 2021

      I wasn’t sure about this recipe, but just had to try it. Delicious, unusual flavour, not too sweet. Makes a large, but light, cookie; easy to eat the whole thing. Into the rotation. Added bonus I didn’t realize at first, they are gluten free as brown rice flour is the only flour used.

  • Polenta cake with dried apricot compote

    • elena1049 on December 26, 2020

      Weight of apricots seems to be incorrect. Cake was good and would make it again with a variety of fruits.

  • Cranberry cream cheese babka

    • Admaran on January 03, 2022

      The instructions were very difficult to follow for this variation. The recipe directs you back to the main babka dough recipe for the dough, then to the chocolate babka variation for technique, then back to itself for ingredient quantities. I had to look up one of the author's babka recipes from Food & Wine to verify I was doing it right. The results were superb, but the editing could have been much better.

  • Spiced graham crackers with chocolate marshmallows

    • Admaran on January 03, 2022

      These chocolate marshmallows were delicious and unusual. I loved the note about how the author learned to always cook cocoa powder in milk to deepen the flavor, rather than just whisking it in and using the mixture right away.

  • Master recipe for challah dough

    • Meganwhitlock on June 19, 2021

      Absolutely love this challah - so unbelievably feathery and light! Although it takes a long time (long proving and overnight in the fridge) it’s not much hands on time and is straight forward and easy (especially with a stand mixer). The most time consuming part is shaping it, which I find really fun. It’s absolutely delicious as is, the sourdough starter and overnight prove give a gorgeous flavour, and I also love it lightly toasted with an egg. I bulk buy strong bread flour so made it once with that - the texture was not as light as with plain flour so wouldn’t recommend deviating from the recipe.

  • Banana bread

    • lofolky on October 06, 2021

      So good!! The bread was incredibly moist, not too sweet in my opinion, great flavor. I added chocolate chips because that’s what I was in the mood for and it worked just fine.

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  • ISBN 10 1524733431
  • ISBN 13 9781524733438
  • Published Nov 17 2020
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 448
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Knopf

Publishers Text

A comprehensive baking bible for the twenty-first century from the James Beard nominee who has redefined American baking--with 120 scientifically grounded recipes for sweet and savory baked goods anyone can master.

Melissa Weller is the trendsetting baker of the decade, the baking superstar of our time. Her takes on chocolate babka and sticky buns brought these classics back to life with a vengeance, kicking off nationwide trends. Now, in her first book, she shares 120 meticulously honed, carefully detailed recipes for producing impossibly delicious baked goods. A chemical engineer before she became a baker, Weller uses her scientific background to explain the whys of baking as much as the hows, so home cooks can achieve perfect results every time. Here are recipes both sweet (Pumpkin Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Brown Sugar Frosting) and savory (Khachapuri with Cheese, Baked Egg, and Nigella Seeds); beloved classics (laminated dough croissants) and new sure-to-be-favorites (Milk Chocolate and Raspberry Jam Blondies)--as well as Chocolate Babka and Salted Caramel Sticky Buns, of course...all perfected for even the most novice home baker to recreate. In every essential way, here is the one baking guide every home baker needs.


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