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BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes
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Product Description

Great day in the morning, BakeWise is out! You are holding the book that everyone has been waiting for. Sure enough, Shirley did not hold back -- it's all here. Lively and fascinating, BakeWise reads like a mystery novel as we follow sleuth Shirley while she solves everything from why cakes and muffins can be dry to g¨¦noise deflation and why the cookie crumbles.

With her years of experience from big-pot cooking for 140 teenage boys and her classic French culinary training to her work as a research biochemist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Shirley manages to put two and two together in unique and exciting ways. Some information is straight out of Shirley's wildly connecting brain cells. She describes useful techniques, such as brushing puff pastry with ice water -- not just brushing off the flour -- making the puff pastry easier to roll. The result? Higher, lighter, and flakier pastry. And you won't find these recipes anywhere else, not even on the Internet. She can help you make moist cakes; flaky pie crusts; shrink-proof perfect meringues that won't leak but still cut like a dream; big, crisp cream puffs; amazing French pastries; light g¨¦noise; and crusty, incredibly flavorful, open-textured French breads, such as baguettes and fougasses.

There is simply no one like Shirley Corriher. People everywhere recognize her from her TV appearances on the Food Network and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, with Snoop Dogg as her fry chef.

Restaurant chefs and culinary students know her from their grease-splattered copies of CookWise, an encyclopedic work that has saved them from many a cooking disaster. With numerous "At-a-Glance" charts, BakeWise gives busy people information for quick problem solving. BakeWise also includes Shirley's "What This Recipe Shows" in every recipe. This section is science and culinary information that can apply to hundreds of recipes, not just the one in which it appears.

For years, food editors and writers have kept CookWise, Shirley's previous book, right by their computers. Now that spot they've been holding for BakeWise can be filled.

BakeWise does not have just a single source of knowledge; Shirley loves reading the works of chefs and other good cooks and shares their information with you, too. She applies not only her expertise but that of the many artisans she admires, such as famous French pastry chefs Gaston Len?tre and Chef Roland Mesnier, the White House executive pastry chef for twenty-five years; Bruce Healy, author of Mastering the Art of French Pastry; and Bonnie Wagner, Shirley's daughter-inlaw's mother. Shirley also retrieves "lost arts" from experts of the past such as Monroe Boston Strause, the pie master of 1930s America. For one dish, she may give you techniques from three or four different chefs plus her own touch ofscience -- "better baking through chemistry." She adds facts about the right temperature, the right mixing speed, and the right mixing time for the absolutely most stable egg foam, so you can create a light-as-air g¨¦noise every time.

BakeWise is for everyone. Some will read it for the adventure of problem solving with Shirley. Beginners can cook from it and know exactly what they are doing and why. Experienced bakers find out why the techniques they use work and also uncover amazing French pastries out of the past, such as Pont Neuf (a creation of puff pastry, pate ¨¤ choux, and pastry cream in honor of the Paris bridge) and Religieuses, adorable "little nuns" made of puff pastry filled with a satiny chocolate pastry cream and drizzled with mocha icing to form a nun's habit.

Some will want it simply for the recipes -- incredibly moist whipped cream pound cake made with heavy cream whipped slightly beyond the soft-peak stage and folded into the batter; flourless fruit souffl¨¦s (pur¨¦ed fruit and Italian meringue); Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, rolled first in granulated sugar and then in confectioners' sugar for a crunchy black-and-snow-white surface with a gooey, fudgy center. And Shirley's popovers are huge

Customer Reviews:

  • Simply the Best
    First, let me say that I love both of Shirley Corriher's books. They are my two favorite cookbooks and the one's I turn to again and again, not just for the recipes (which are truly wonderful) but for understanding how and why foods behave as they do when we cook them. I have chosen to review BAKEWISE as I am more of a baker than a cook and use BAKEWISE more often than COOKWISE. COOKWISE also has wonderful chapters on baking, but BAKEWISE expands on those ideas and presents many more fine recipes and insights. Both books are fun to read for the intellectually curious and especially for those who love science. I highly recommend them. Every recipe I have ever made (and I have made many) worked beautifully. My baking (and cooking) are infinitely better for having read Shirley Corriher. If you love to bake, BAKEWISE is definitely worth its weight in gold....more info
  • You only need two cookbooks . . .
    BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent RecipesCookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed
    Cooking and baking is not a matter of fancy recipes, it is about understanding the principles. Shirley Corriher has a wonderful way of describing such basics and all those 'whys'; and once you got them you start becoming creative and having fun. Highly recommended for beginners as well as gourmets and chefs....more info
  • Misses the mark
    I perused the book at a bookstore and thought about ordering it but then I tried her recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies after listening to an interview she gave. The cookies were too sweet, overwhelming the chocolate and the recipe used 8 ounces of chocolate! Texture was grainy and tough, yuck..I know its only one recipe but if this is her favorite cookie I will not be buying this book....more info
  • Great book about baking, not a cookbook
    This isn't a recipe book. Buying the book for a collection of tasty recipes for baking would be folly. This is really a book about baking, recipes are there to get points across, and to allow the reader the opportunity to try things out.

    Consider a science text book, the book was written to teach you about science, the experiments within, while interesting, exist not to stand on their own, but to help solidify, and re-affirm what has been covered so far.

    This book is that book, but about baking.

    Do not misconstrue those comments as a criticism of the recipes within, they're great! I made the revised and improved bunt cake, it was honestly the best tasting thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time. Thanks to the information contained in that chapter I also feel confident I can "fix" other recipes, or make my own variations, and still have them work out okay.

    I would approach any baking exercise by first reading the entire chapter up until that point, then attacking the desired recipe. The explanations as to why you're using eggs, oil, and lard are interesting. They help justify the effort you're about to expend, as well as provide interesting conversation if you've managed to solicit assistance....more info
  • Badly written and poorly organized text....
    I wonder how my mother and grandmother baked such wonderfully perfect cakes without sprayed on grease, baking stones, thermometers, etc....In this book, hawked on Martha Stewart, I had hoped for a more old style, Joy of Cooking approach where it is assumed that not everyone has every piece of equipment and where math is at a minimum so ones head does not swim through the whipped cream.....Okay here is what bothers me. I agree with the reviewer who said that the editor ruined the book. I keep perusing paragraphs looking for topic sentences and not finding them. Why does she not say: "High protein flour is best for...." "Low protein flour is best for..." And so on. I find this book very poorly organized and written. So i am afraid to waste more money on trying the recipes. I had hoped for much more, especially after the book was praised on Martha Stewart!...more info
  • Great gift!
    Knowing how my friend and I love to bake/cook, we both thought this book was wonderful! There are even things we didn't realize taking place and it will now make a better product than what we have made before.Thanks Shirley for your wonderful wisdom. We are looking forward to your classes in Hudson this spring!...more info
  • Delightful to read, difficult to use
    The text is lots of fun, but the book is very confusingly organized. "Bad" recipes--ones Corriher included as teaching points--should have been designed to make it clear we are meant to learn from them, not try them. The various fonts aren't different enough to make it clear why each is being used. There aren't enough subheads, and the subsections within each recipe's explanation don't seem to have put into any particular order. You feel that Corriher starts to explain one technique, which then leads to another technique and another, leading the reader farther and farther away from the actual recipe Corriher began to discuss.

    BakeWise is a work of passion, and Corriher is a likeable and extremely knowledgeable writer. But I've rarely encountered a cookbook by a major author that's as hard to follow as this....more info
  • Gail
    Great gift. Got this for Christmas and I love it. I always wanted to know what a particular ingredient did and this book answers those questions. I've baked for years but didn't fully understand some of the "why's" certain things were done....more info
  • Perfect book for the serious baker
    This book is magnificent. It seems to be written for the professional, but it is really written for the novice who wants to learn and improve their baking through knowledge rather than mimicking a recipe. Shirley explains why ingredients are paired and why they must be precisely measured to get the results you really want. After you learn the science of baking, you can create your own recipes and tweak other recipes to give the result that you want. Baking is chemistry...savory cooking is artful. I am a cook that can fix almost anything savory. Baking has been my short suit. I feel that Shirley has given me the informational tools to "fix" baking recipes. Believe me there are too many bad recipes floating around claiming to be the greatest. Now I have the knowledge to evaluate a recipe and know if it is good or not.

    If you are looking for a recipe book that has quick recipes using only items you happen to have in your cupboard, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a cookbook book that actually explains what's happening and what could happen with different ingredients, you have found it with "Bakewise". Shirley is not just sharing recipes, she teaches.

    By the way, Shirley's "Touch of Grace" biscuits are phenomenal. I have been experimenting for quite awhile to come up with a superior biscuit and thought I had until I tried these...I needn't look further. I cook for a living and am always trying to educate myself and mine for pearls of wisdom from other cooks...I have found the mother lode in both Bakewise and Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed. Thank you Shirley.

    If you are serious about learning about cooking and baking, these two books are essential. This is coming from a person with hundreds of "recipe" books. I have now added two fine "cookbooks" that happen to have many, many fabulous recipes to my arsenal....more info
  • Perfection is no Trifle






    A review by Marty Martindale

    Michelangelo said, "Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle." This seems to be Corriher's credo.
    Shirley Corriher and her husband, Arch, are fun to be with, and Shirley makes us laugh from her podium and during Food Channel appearances.

    However, when she's helping you become a better baker, she's a no-nonsense, down-to-business person, and her handle on chemistry backs her up. She wants to be responsible for your success. This book is for serious bakers, those who strive for perfection, those who hope each try brings them closer to what they expect of themselves - what Shirley expects of them.

    There are millions of cookbooks which take an ordinary cook and leave him or her asking: What did I do wrong? Did I misunderstand something? Was the book wrong? Maybe it was a bad recipe? BakeWise is not one of these. Shirley takes you through every step offering sound reasoning. Technique, technique, technique!

    Just a few of the trifles and techniques Shirley brings out:

    * Shock cords inside eggs
    * Different kinds of flour, how do they work?
    * Chemical leaveners at a glance
    * How do you make chocolate behave?
    * Oil vs. shortening in a cake
    * Just how do you treat a raisin?
    * What is the acidity level of basic ingredients?
    * Fat bloom vs. sugar bloom
    * How brown sugar changes chocolate
    * How to make nuts nuttier
    * The art of creaming correctly
    * Checking the potency of baking powder
    * Whipped cream and moisture
    * The correct way to crack an egg
    * Marshmallow cr¨¨me in a meringue
    * Why is sequence of beatings important?
    * What does salt do for fruit?
    * The art of adding sugar to flour
    * What a hot baking stone does for pate a choux
    * Why add water to whole milk?
    * The secret of fine snail butter?
    * What dilutes the sharpness of fresh goat cheese?
    * Cookies are not supposed to crumble
    * Controlling the spread of your cookies
    * Are baking soda and dates, buddies?
    * How do you get around seizing your chocolate?
    * What do you use lecithin or malted barley syrup for?
    * Make friends with biga
    * Why do you want to soak your cornmeal?

    BakeWise has only a half-page of contents but a 21-page index. This is a trouble-shooting, heavy-duty baking reference book. To demonstrate her cooking secrets, she uses over 200 recipes.

    Oh yes, Shirley's a stickler, but look at how much you've learned!

    You can reach Shirley Corriher at KITCHEN SECRETS REVEALED; Marty Martindale at FOOD SITE OF THE DAY.


    ...more info
  • Sweet!
    Shirley Corrihers' BakeWise is one of the best resources for the serious baker, or the beginner who wants to learn ALL of the details of baking. The tag line to BakeWise "The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with over 200 Magnificent Recipes" says it all. First and foremost are the hows and whys which are like fun lessons in how things work. For example; Sugars Many Roles in Cakes explains that sugar attracts moisture which in turn effects texture, which also effects how a cake may (or may not) set. The 200 recipes are the "real world" experience. After each small lesson is a recipe directly relating to what you just learned. The "Improved Tunnel of Fudge Cake" recipe follows the above sugar lesson because it "is the perfect example of what an excess of sugar can do" (In case you are wondering, this bundt cake has so much sugar that the center of the cake doesn't set, creating a hidden fudge ring inside the cake). Personally I find most of Corrihers' recipes on the sweet side. But the point of the book is to teach how to successfully change a recipe. For example, the description of the Blueberries and Cream Muffins recipe states that the muffins "have just enough gluten development to hold them together" and goes on to say how to create more gluten to hold the muffin together more. She gives you the knowledge to make muffins from tender to tough plus all of the in-betweens. She also gives recipes that are good and then breaks them down and compares them to recipes that are improved, much like Alton Brown does with Carrot Cake in "I'm Just Here for More Food", a lesser in-depth look at baking which fostered my passion for baking and brought me to Corriher. As long as we are considering both authors, Browns' "Old-School Muffins" have almost identical fat/oil content to Corrihers' Blueberry muffins, but the most obvious difference is that Brown uses less than half the sugar (which makes them less moist and effects texture, as we learned above) and also adds an egg which Corriher explains "if you have a cake that's a soggy mess, you may need to add an egg white to dry the cake a little". (p.81) Corriher helps me to understand what I can expect if I substitute cream for buttermilk, or why my cake is a little sunken in the middle and how to fix. If this is the kind of information that you seek, this is a great book for you. Also it is a good book if you want the most wonderfully moist "almost soggy" cakes possible (she says she can't stand dry cakes) and if you want to tweak your cookies to be thin and crispy or thick and chewy, or how the smallest difference creates a chocolate ganache or a chocolate mousse or a shiny chocolate glaze. I love it and can't wait to conquer the next recipe and keep learning as I go. Happy Baking to all!...more info
  • Chapters come from the author's years of experience as a cook
    BAKEWISE: THE HOWS AND WHYS OF SUCCESSFUL BAKING is a highly recommended pick for home cooks who like to bake, would-be bakers, and libraries catering to them; especially at the public lending library level. Chapters come from the author's years of experience as a cook and describe techniques ranging from how to make puff pastry easier to work with to recipes that include discussions on how to nearly guarantee professional baking results. The centerfold holds color photos but the rest of the book pairs recipes with tips and hints on obtaining great results.

    Diane C. Donovan
    California Bookwatch
    ...more info
  • Great book but could be better...
    I saw this book advertised in a cooking magazine around Christmas. There was a photo of the author with some type of chocolate dessert, but nothing noting what it was. Maybe I still need to find that one in this book, but that's not what bothers me about this one. It looked delicious!

    The book. I do like it. It has tons of great info, lots of wonderful recipes, and good background. It does not have a lot of photos, and a lot of what is written is very repetitive. Maybe that's good for some people, but I think if you've gotten to the point where you're reading a cookbook that's got this level of technicality, you probably don't need the same thing said to you three or four times- using the exact same wording. I've read enough of the book to know that this happens throughout. Perfect example is the section on pate a choux. Over and over again we hear about keeping the batter moist enough to rise before the heat dries the tops and stops the rising process. Over and Over.

    I would definitely recommend the book, but with the warning that you're going to see stuff repeated. A lot. It does have good information on supplies, and where to find the ones that are mentioned in the book, and again, the recipes are great. I just feel like I'm re-reading the same lines sometimes, especially since I read quickly....more info
  • Interesting Science But Recipes Don't Suit My Palate
    I loved Shirley's earlier Cookwise and eagerly anticipated Bakewise. The book is not to be considered a cookbook, but an extremely interesting education on the chemistry of baking, with recipes (bad examples and how they are fixed or variations on ingredients--i.e. types of flour, types of leavening, oil vs. butter etc).

    My biggest problem with the book are the "successful recipes" which closely fit Shirley's taste for very sweet, oily "moist" baked items. I think she pushes the chemical edges of the recipes--i.e. how to violate the sugar/flour ratio to make the recipe more sweet than typical recipe allows, and the recipes are tricky (i.e. I tried the banana bread recipe, but didn't have a baking stone--so the loaf took more than twice her recommended amount and still turned out sticky/gummy/fallen (I have never had this happen when baking other banana bread recipes before). I've learned a lot of chemistry of baking, but now I'm not sure I've learned enough to tweak her recipes to make them less achingly sweet or oily....more info
  • The rum cake recipe didn't work
    My former neighbor makes a terrific rum cake and since she won't part with her recipe I've had to troll around for a decent recipe.

    While browsing on the internet I came across Corriher's book. I didn't just dive in, I did take the time to read her instructions. When I read her rum cake recipe I instinctively knew that its 1/4 cup of rum in the batter wouldn't give me the flavor I wanted; but I went ahead with the recipe anyway.

    What I got was an undercooked mess. Granted I didn't have a bakers stone, but that shouldn't have mattered. What I was able to salvage was too sweet with the faintest flavor of rum.
    Has any one successfully baked anything from this book? ...more info
  • Gift was a hit...
    I gave this to my mother as a Christmas present. She loves it and has actually sat down to read it (she's not big reader). Her only complaint so far is that she wished there were more example recipes - not as many as a recipe book, but more that demonstrated the concepts presented in the book....more info
  • Disappointing
    I loved CookWise. Sadly, BakeWise seems an undercooked failure. The text is very, excessively, positively, and repeatedly repetitious, not only within the book, but withing the same section and page, and between the two books. Ediiting was faulty, leaving out the occasional "not", cross references to pages 000 to 000, et cetera. While the following is true of CookWise too, potential buyers need to be aware that the recipes are not home cook friendly. Too many ingredients, and using small amounts of perishables - what do you do with the leftovers? And what about that 1/40th of a vitamin C tablet or lecithin? Lastly, did I say the book was repetitious? If considering CookWise or BakeWise, buy the former; if you have CookWise, give BakeWise a pass....more info
  • BakeWise
    This is a wonderful cookbook! The author is a chemist and goes into the whys and wherefores of her recipes which I find interesting. But, more importantly, everything I've baked has been delicious!...more info
  • Disappointing
    I am a relatively proficient baker, and bought this book because I thought it would provide interesting additional tips. Thus far I have made 3 recipes, and all have been a disappointment. I followed directions exactly, and I have an oven thermometer as well as an accurate oven temperature, and I am now at the point where I will return to my former favorites,Baking and The Best Recipe, and use this book only as a reference in addition--or perhaps for the buttercream recipe, which is delicious. She recommends spray for non-sticking, and the tunnel of fudge was a mess as a result. Very disappointing over all....more info
  • Outstanding and useful
    Outstanding. No baker should be without this book. I also have Corriher's "Cookwise" and felt sure that "Bakewise" would be as useful. Indeed it is.

    Have a question about your baking? look it up in "Bakewise" and you will learn why some methods/ingredients work and why some don't. Also contains good recipes....more info
  • "Bakewise" by Shirley O. Corriher
    The release of this cookbook was promoted on NPR and got my attention. I visited Amazon immediately and placed my order. After an extensive shipping delay, likely due to the holiday rush, I received the order with much anticipation. I had purchased the book for its obvious emphasis on the science and chemistry formulas behind successful baking... and well you get that, but I'm an America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated enthusiast, and the lack of visuals and succinct categories, and over-use of the phrase "my-beloved.." makes this the perfect candidate for a return. I need more aesthetically pleasing visuals, distinct categorical layout, and much less textbook feel. This one's going back to Amazon... ...more info
  • A page-turner! Couldn't put it down!
    I got this book for Christmas and spent all New Year's Day reading it. I have never sat and just read a cookbook before. Then I went out, spent a small fortune on a counter-top mixer, and successfully made brioche on the first try. I also made Shirley's biscuit recipe, which was very tasty, though more like a quick bread than what I think of as biscuits. However, it was much better than my previous unguided (and misguided!) efforts, which I now realize suffered from "hard" flour and insufficient moisture. So I'm a fan of Bakewise.

    However, I read a couple of the less positive reviews and have to agree that the book's nonlinear structure has its pro's and con's. Despite the repetition in the recipes, I had to flip back and forth a few times to remind myself how I was supposed to do some of the techniques. Also, Bakewise could have used some pictures. As a novice baker, I had to go look in Joy of Cooking to be sure how I was supposed to organize my brioche dough cylinders in the pan. Finally, I would agree with one reviewer who mentions that Shirley seems to like a LOT of yummy fat in her baked goods. However, with that said, I can hardly wait to try experimenting with more Bakewise recipes, and I plan to buy Cookwise ASAP. (There goes that diet I was planning to start ... )...more info