BakeClass was provided to me at no cost by the publisher, Murdoch Books. Available from March 2016; RRP $45.
I took BakeClass away with me last weekend to show a couple of other baking-type people (who both quite liked it), and it made me sit down and actually read the opening pages. I had previously just flicked through the recipes and glanced over the actual lesson pages – I rarely read the introduction etc to a book like this, regarding them more like reference books than chronologically-ordered-type books. But now I have.
(I’ve also taken off the dust jacket to reveal the cover on the right, which I think I prefer.)
As the name suggested, and the organisation into lessons, this is a book largely designed for someone who’s not especially comfortable with baking. This is not me – I may be disgruntled with sponges, but I’m not afraid to jump in and have a go at most any recipe – as long as I’ve got the time and the inspiration.
That’s not to say I don’t have anything to learn from a book like this. As a friend put it, you read and say “uhuh, uhuh, uhuh – oh! – uhuh, uhuh…” – and that’s quite useful. It’s nice to know you’re basically on the right track, and learning new stuff is always nice.
I will never nuke butter to cheat-soften it again. I pinky-promise to be more organised with my baking (…hmm…) and either cube or grate the butter if I get impatient.
I like Anneka’s approach: here are reasons why you might think you can’t bake, and here are some reasons to rethink; here are some things to consider to make it more excellent (time, for whom, what do YOU like, etc). I also like her explanation of some of the fundamentals (different creams!), and the list of recommended cake tins means I might need to go shopping… (plus I recently encountered a rectangular tart tin I NEED YOU IN MY LIFE).
The lessons themselves progress logically, from very straightforward to the more complex. I love that there’s a ‘Mix in the Food Processor’ step! I am intrigued that you’re meant to keep your palms upwards while rubbing in; I think I do this, but not consciously. I have tried the pushing+pulling kneading trick a couple of times but I’m still not convinced I’ve got it.
In the end, there are stacks of recipes in here that I’m dead keen to try out, and that makes this a winner in my book. And kitchen.
It’s available from Fishpond.