Comments: We, along with so many others, are huge fans of Shirley Corriher. Part textbook, part cookbook, BakeWise is the long-awaited follow-on to CookWise, the book that blended scientific explanation with the promise of "no more failed recipes."
Although Cookwise dealt with baking a fair bit, this new book is dedicated to it, and works to show us how and why recipes work (or don't) and tries to teach us how to perform modifications that will transform a bad recipe into one that works. Most of us may not have the experimental skills necessary to pull off more than simple transformations, but in any event, the book is a goldmine of good information and includes around 200 recipes. There are sections on cakes, muffins, pastries, pies and crusts, soufflés, meringues, cookies and brownies, and breads, as well as frostings and icings, ganaches, whipped cream, and fillings.
There are redundancies in the book. Apparently Corriher doesn't think you will read from cover to cover. Indeed, it is a long way to travel – more than 500 pages – but if you can set aside the time and muster the fortitude, it will be well worth it. You'll feel as if you've had a series of master classes in baking, and come out ready to tackle any of the recipes.
We are not impressed with the publisher's or editor's decision to put call-out quotes on page after page. As a design element, they add little to the book, and only heighten the redundancy issue. Another troubling production issue is that the book is in a one-column format, making the sentences stretch all the way across the page. In Corriher's earlier book (from a different publisher), most of the text is in a much more readable two-column format.