What is the best cookbook for bakers? Unfortunately, it’s not always going to be a book about baking. There are thousands of baking cookbooks out on the market. I find it near impossible to know which books are best. Today I am going to share a few ways to select a great cookbook. Then take a look in the baking section and find the recipes that meet your needs. Consider cookbooks found off the beaten path.
Don’t judge a book by its cover: A cookbook can look appealing and be a total dud.Don't judge a book by its cover: A cookbook can look appealing and be a total dud. Click To Tweet
(Disclaimer: If you are looking for a coffee table cookbook disregard everything I say)
Try to look for books that read like a friendly reference book. Something you’d like to curl up with in a big comfy chair. When I look for a cookbook I’m searching for quality recipes. And if possible colored photographs of the actual food.
Skip the Pomp and Pageantry
As I mentioned, illustrations and photos are good, but not necessary. Many of today’s cookbooks are created by celebs and are a bit too stylish. I’m not saying the recipes are not good, but they sometimes lack substance.
Did you know great cookbooks tend to have smaller and fewer illustrations and photos than poor ones? Think back to all those community cookbooks, like the 1959 classic, River Road Recipes: A Second Helping. The more recent version river Road Recipes II: A Second Helping is another great pick. No, there are no photos or illustrations. These little jewels are all about offering tried and true down-home recipes. The kind that becomes family favorites and traditions.Did you know great cooks tend to have smaller and fewer illustrations and photos than poor ones? Click To Tweet
Real Food Real Ingredients:
Before you get to the register, find a seat in the bookstore and flip through the recipes. Do you see pre-packaged or processed ingredients, put the book back on the shelf. I don’t care who the celeb chef is, it’s not worth it. Remember, we’re talking real food here.
Step back in time. Where’s the Index
Most cookbooks have an index, but there are some that do not. They may be self-published, books produced by community groups or non-profits. Every good cookbook should have an index, but they may not. Don’t ignore it due to a missing index. I have found some of the best recipes in tiny books that have 25 or fewer pages and no index.
If the book mentions unusual ingredients, check for a glossary or shopping guide. If it doesn’t have one don’t fret, let your fingers do the walking across the computer keys. Google or visit a local International market, if you have one in your community.
Clarity & Good Instruction
A recipe must be clear, easy to read and the ingredients are listed in the order that they’re used. There should also be notes or comments on how things should look and smell at various stages of preparation.
Some of the best cookbooks I’ve ever read include the story behind the recipe. Cookbooks today include nutritional information for each recipe and that’s a good thing. Bonus information also includes preparation time and what should be prepared in advance. It’s nice when the author doesn’t assume you know what to do.Some of the best cookbooks I've ever read include the story behind the recipe. Click To Tweet
Cookbooks for Bakers: Foodpreneur Institute’s 2018 Picks
- Baking: From My Home to Yours – Dorie Greenspan
- How to Bake: The Complete Guide to Perfect Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Tarts, Breads, Pizzas, Muffins, Sweet, and Savory – Nick Malgieri
- The Flavour Thesaurus – Niki Segnit
- The Joy of Cooking – Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker
- Ready for Dessert – David Lebovitz
- Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook
My Personal Favorites
- C’est si bon! – The Young Women’s Christian Organization of Baton Rouge (1972)
- Dione Lucas Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook – Dione Lucas (The Maple Cake with Maple Frosting will take your breath away!)
- The Creative Cooking Course – Charlotte Turgeon (The baked cheesecake in pastry pg. 92 is divine)
- The Cake Bible – Rose Levy Beranbaum
If you have a favorite cookbook we’d love for you to share it in the comment box.