Legendary baker Rose Levy Beranbaum is back with The Baking Bible , her most extensive “bible” yet. With all-new recipes for the best cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, candies, pastries, breads, and more, this magnum opus draws from Rose’s passion and expertise in every category of baking. As is to be expected from the woman who’s been called “the most meticulous cook who ever lived,” each sumptuous recipe is truly foolproof — with detail-oriented instructions that eliminate guesswork, “plan-aheads,” ingenious tips, and highlights for success. From simple everyday crowd-pleasers (Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins, Gingersnaps, Gooseberry Crisp) to show-stopping stunners (Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Tart, Mango Bango Cheesecake, White Christmas Peppermint Cake) to bakery-style pastries developed for the home kitchen (the famous French Kouign Amann), every recipe proves that delicious perfection is within reach for any baker.
Reprinted with permission from The Baking Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum, ©2014. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Please support your local bookstore or purchase through our affiliate links with IndieBound or Amazon.
Rose’s Golden Rules
Detailed instructions are given as part of each recipe in the book, but to ensure full success, I am highlighting the essentials here. See each chapter introduction for more highlights for success specific to the cakes, pies and pastry, cookies, and yeast breads and pastries in this book.
Designate equipment to use only for baking, especially items that are prone to retaining odors such as from garlic or onions from savory cooking. This equipment includes cutting boards, measuring spoons and cups, wooden spoons, and silicone or rubber spatulas. Many ingredients used in baking, such as butter and chocolate, also are highly prone to absorbing other aromas.
Before beginning to bake, read the recipe through and note the ingredients you will need, special equipment, and plan-aheads.
Be sure to use the ingredients specified in the recipe. Different types of flour, sugar, butter, chocolate, and many other ingredients produce different results in baked goods. Also, if at all possible, make the recipe the way it is indicated. Don’t substitute ingredients before making it at least once to see the way it’s supposed to come out. When preparing ingredients ahead, cover them with plastic wrap so that they don’t dry out or evaporate.
Flour: Be sure to use the flour specified in the recipe. If measuring flour rather than weighing it, avoid tapping or shaking the cup. This would pack in too much flour.
Butter: Use a high quality unsalted butter with standard fat content unless high butterfat is called for in the recipe, or when making clarified butter. Unsalted butter is preferable to make it easier to control the amount of salt added and for its fresher flavor. I recommend high quality butter such as Organic Valley cultured, Hotel Bar, or Land O’Lakes.
When a recipe calls for softened butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C), it means the butter should still feel cool but be easy to press down. This usually takes about 30 minutes at room temperature, but slicing it into smaller pieces speeds up the process.
Eggs: Use USDA grade AA or A large eggs and weigh or measure the volume. I recommend pasteurized eggs in the shell, such as Safest Choice, especially for buttercreams.
The correct amount of whole eggs, egg yolks, or egg whites is essential to the volume and texture of any baked good. The weight of the eggs and thickness of the shell can vary a great deal, even within a given weight class, as can the ratio of egg white to egg yolk. To achieve the ideal results, it is advisable to weigh or measure the whole eggs, egg yolks, and egg whites. Values for recipes in this book are given for weight and volume, so it’s fine to use any size eggs if you weigh or measure them.
Bring eggs to room temperature by placing the eggs, still in their unbroken shells, in hot water for 5 minutes.
To break eggs the most evenly without shattering the shell, set a paper towel on the countertop to absorb any white that may spill out and rap the side of the egg sharply on top of the towel. The egg will break more neatly than if rapped against the edge of a bowl. When separating eggs, especially for beating egg whites, pour each white into a smaller bowl before adding it to the larger amount of whites. If even a trace of yolk or grease gets into the white, it will be impossible to beat stiffly.
When beating egg whites, add 1⁄8 teaspoon of cream of tartar per egg white (1⁄4 teaspoon for egg whites from eggs pasteurized in the shell). This magic formula stabilizes the egg whites so that you can achieve maximum volume without ever drying them out and deflating them by overbeating. Do not add more than this recommended amount; it will destabilize the egg whites. Use beaten egg whites as soon as possible after beating or they will start to stiffen and break down when folded into another mixture.
Baking Powder: Use fresh baking powder. Check the expiration date, and if you are in a humid environment, replace the baking powder sooner. Both baking powder and baking soda are highly hygroscopic (readily absorb water) and are best measured rather than weighed, because the weight will vary.
Salt: Use fine sea salt because it is easier to measure, dissolves quickly, and is not iodized. Iodized salt can give an unpleasant taste to baked goods.
Chocolate: Use the cacao content specified in the recipe. If the percentage is not indicated on the label, you can evaluate it by taste comparison. There is a vast range of the percentage of cacao versus sugar contained in what is usually labeled dark or bittersweet chocolate, which is why I’ve listed the percentages for each recipe.
When heating sugar syrups and caramel, be sure that the burner heat is no higher than medium-low as the mixture approaches the desired finished temperature. This helps to prevent the temperature of the syrup from rising after it is removed from the heat.
Weigh or measure ingredients carefully to achieve consistent flavor and texture. Weighing is faster and easier, but measuring will produce just as good a product, providing you measure carefully. Dry ingredients such as flour and sugar should be measured in solid measuring cups, that is, ones with unbroken rims. When measuring flour, spooning the flour into the cup before leveling off the excess with a metal spatula or knife will result in a greater weight of flour than sifting it into the cup. Both methods are used in this book; use the method indicated in the recipe. I chose the method that gives the volume that will coordinate closest with the weight.
When measuring liquids such as water, milk, sticky syrups, and juices, use a cup with a spout designed for measuring liquids and read the volume at eye level from the bottom of the meniscus (the curved upper surface of the liquid). Be sure to set the cup on a solid surface at eye level, not in your hand, which won’t be as level a surface.
When mixing ingredients in a stand mixer, start the mixer on low and then gradually increase the speed to prevent the mixture from flying out of the bowl. You can also use the mixer’s pouring shield or splash guard or cover the top of the mixer bowl with plastic wrap until the dry ingredients are moistened.
If you are using a handheld electric mixer, use a higher speed than specified for the stand mixer and a longer beating time. With both methods, it’s important to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times during mixing to ensure that the batter on the sides gets mixed in evenly. Be sure to reach to the bottom of the bowl, especially when using the stand mixer (see BeaterBlade, page 531).
Always bake on the rack indicated in the recipe to ensure that the baked item will rise properly and for even baking and browning.
THE RENÉE FLEMING GOLDEN CHIFFON
Serves 10 to 12
Oven Temperature: 350°F/175°C
Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes
This lemony cake soars above all others in my repertoire, making it the soprano of golden lemon cakes. (It is the counterpart to the Chocolate Domingo from The Cake Bible , which I call the tenor of chocolate cakes.) It is extraordinarily light, tender, moist, and lemony—in a word: divine. It required seventeen tests between Woody and me to perfect the texture. The breakthrough came with the discovery of beating the whites beyond the stiff peak stage, which gave higher volume, and raising the oven temperature slightly to set the structure more quickly. This cake is dedicated to my favorite soprano of the golden voice: the incomparable Renée Fleming. The special garnish is a stardust trail of powdered golden lemon zest.
One 9 by 3 inch springform pan, encircled with 2 cake strips overlapped to cover the entire sides
A flat bottom rose nail (used for cake decorating), 2 inches long (minimum)
A wire rack, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, elevated about 4 inches or higher above the work surface by setting it on top of 3 or 4 cans, coffee mugs, or glasses of equal height
Preheat the Oven: Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C (325°F/160°C if using a dark pan).
Mix the Liquid Ingredients: In a 2 cup or larger glass measure with a spout, combine the egg yolks, oil, water, lemon zest, lemon oil, and vanilla.
Make the Batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, mix the flour, all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Make a well in the center. Add the egg mixture to the well and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until very thick, about 11⁄2 minutes.
If you don’t have a second mixer bowl, scrape this mixture into a large bowl and thoroughly wash, rinse, and dry the mixer bowl and whisk beater to remove any trace of oil.
Beat the Egg Whites into a Stiff Meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Beat in the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and continue beating until very stiff clumps form when the beater is raised, about 2 minutes.
Add the Meringue to the Batter: Using a large balloon wire whisk, slotted skimmer, or large silicone spatula, gently fold the meringue into the batter in three parts, folding until partially blended between additions and then folding until completely incorporated after the last addition. If using the whisk, you will need to gently shake out the meringue that gathers in the center as you fold.
Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the pan. Run a small offset spatula in circles through the batter to prevent air pockets and smooth the surface.
Insert the rose nail, base side down, into the center of the batter so that it sits on the bottom of the pan. (The batter should fill a 3 inch high pan just under half full.)
Bake the Cake: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake will dome above the top of the pan. Avoid opening the oven door before the minimum baking time or the fragile cake could fall. Watch carefully. When the cake lowers slightly, and a wooden skewer inserted between the sides and the center comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven.
Cool and Unmold the Cake: Let the cake sit for about 1 minute, just until it is no longer higher than the rim of the pan. Immediately invert the cake, still in the pan, onto the prepared wire rack and let it cool for about 1 1⁄2 hours, or until the outside of the pan is cool to the touch.
Invert the pan again. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing it firmly against the pan and moving it in a sideways manner. Remove the cake strips and the sides of the springform and release the bottom of the cake from the bottom of the pan, pressing the spatula against the bottom of the pan. Invert the cake and lift off the pan bottom. Remove the rose nail and reinvert the cake onto a serving plate.
Note: Unbleached all-purpose flour prevents the cake from deflating significantly.
MINI GÀTEAUX BRETON
Makes 38 1-5⁄8 inch cookies
Oven Temperature: 325°F/160°C
Baking Time: 14 to 16 minutes
This classic French cake from Brittany makes the most buttery cookies I know. They will keep for as long as a week at room temperature, making them perfect for holiday gift giving.
38 mini brioche pans, 1 inch at the bottom, 1 3⁄4 inches at the top (1 tablespoon capacity)
Uncoated (if you do not have enough brioche pans, bake in batches):
A baking sheet
A long, thin sewing needle for unmolding
Cookie Dough: Makes 13.4 ounces/380 grams
Preheat the Oven: Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C.
Toast the Almonds: Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until pale gold. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning.
In a food processor, process the almonds with 2 tablespoons/0.9 ounce/25 grams of the sugar and the salt until fairly fine but not powder fine. Alternatively, use a nut grater to grate the almonds finely, and then combine with the 2 tablespoons sugar and the salt.
Mix the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix together the remaining sugar and the butter on low speed for about 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On low speed, beat in the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating for about 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the almond mixture, liquor or water, and vanilla and mix on low speed until the almond mixture is moistened. Beat for about 20 seconds until evenly incorporated.
Add the flour in four parts, turning off the mixer between additions, and beating on the lowest speed for about 15 seconds between each addition. Detach the beater and, with a silicone spatula, finish mixing any flour that may remain, reaching to the bottom of the bowl.
Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes, or until firm.
Fill the Brioche Pans: Scoop out roundedteaspoons of the dough (0.3 ounce/10 grams). Roll each piece of dough between the floured palms of your hands into a 1 inch ball and set it into a brioche pan. (Be sure to flour your hands or the gâteaux will stick to the molds when baked.) Press the dough balls into the pans. They will come almost to the top of each pan. If the dough is sticky, refrigerate the dough until firmer. Use your pinky finger to press the dough into the fluted edges. Set the dough-lined brioche pans at least 1⁄2 inch apart on the baking sheet.
Bake the Gâteaux: Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until deep golden brown. (An instant-read thermometer should read about 205°F/96°C.)
Cool and Unmold the Gâteaux: Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Use the needle to slip between one of the edges of the pan and the gâteaux to loosen it and invert it onto another wire rack. Cool completely.
Store: Airtight: room temperature, five days; refrigerated, 10 days; frozen, three months.
Notes: Golden baker’s sugar from India Tree imparts an especially lovely flavor to this cookie.
Vermont salted butter, which is very lightly salted, has just the right amount of salt for this recipe (other salted butters usually contain more salt). If using it, use only 1⁄16 teaspoon salt. Butter with 80 percent fat contains about 1 tablespoon more water than the 86 percent, which will result in a slightly moister crumb. If this is your preference and you want to use the higher 86 percent butter, you can add the water to the batter when adding the almonds.
For more on Rose Levy Beranbaum and The Baking Bible, see A Baker’s Dozen: Thank You, Rose Levy Beranbaum… in this issue.
Rose Levy Beranbaum is the award-winning author of nine cookbooks, including The Cake Bible, the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook of the Year for 1988, and Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, IACP Cookbook of the Year for 2010. She also won a James Beard Foundation Award in 1998 for Rose’s Christmas Cookies, and her 2003 book, The Bread Bible, was an IACP and James Beard Foundation nominee and was listed as one of the Top Ten Books of the year by Publishers Weekly and Food & Wine. Her popular blog, Real Baking with Rose, has created an international community of bakers.