Among the wonderful goodies I brought home from my visit to the Culinary Institute of America last Saturday was a copy of Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America.Since then, the book has made the rounds of my night table, my desk, the couch, the coffee table, the kitchen counter. I’ve schlepped it all over the house. It’s a tough one to put down.
Baking at Homeis a serious home baker’s dream book. From the book’s flyleaf:
The chefs of the CIA have distilled the best of their teachings into these pages, offering clear explanations of the essential baking methods that will broaden your understanding of how baking really works. The streamlined recipes and dozens of how-to photographs enable you to dive in and gain the hands-on practice that is an essential part of any baking and pastry education.
See what I mean?
After a few days of poring over the recipes, I thought, Wouldn’t it be great to just plow through this book, recipe by recipe ~ like CIA homeschool? My experience in other baking groups (like Tuesdays with Dorie and the Daring Bakers) has taught me that you can learn a tremendous amount by doing exactly this sort of thing. And this particular book is filled with lessons ~ about techniques, ingredients, equipment, and methods. By accomplishing every recipe in the book, I hope I'll be able to fill in some of the gaps in my own baking knowledge.
I'm working toward an ultimate goal of mastering the fundamentals and being able to use them to express a measure of creativity within the boundaries of the art and science that is baking. I feel like this might be a very good step in that direction.
The book is divided into 10 sections: Yeast Breads; Quick Breads; Cookies; Pies and Tarts; Cakes and Tortes; Custards and Puddings; Frozen Desserts; Pastries; Chocolates and Confections; and Icings, Glazes, and Sauces. I’ve decided against working through it in a linear fashion. This is primarily because as my experience in the Tuesdays with Dorie group taught me, it is downright dangerous to create an elaborately delicious dessert every single week (or even more than once a week). My family has mutinied once on that account, so lesson learned.
Instead, I’ll jump around in the book, moving from section to section, baking what best suits the needs of my family, the season, or my personal cravings. I think this will dovetail beautifully with my BYOB project ~ another reason to be gung-ho about baking through this book!
I anticipate on posting weekly, though I haven’t decided on a specific day yet. More details to follow with the first content post. Once I get a better idea of my schedule, I’ll try to post plans in advance.
For now, it's time to get baking!