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BakeWise

The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes

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

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 Corriher manages to put two and two together in unique and exciting ways. 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 génoise; and crusty, incredibly flavorful, open-textured French breads, such as baguettes and fougasses.

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 Lenôtre 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-in-law'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 of science—“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 génoise every time.

Photo courtesy of author

Shirley O. Corriher has a BA in chemistry from Vanderbilt University, where she was also a biochemist at the medical school. She has consulted for Julia Child, Procter & Gamble, Pillsbury, and The Joy of Cooking, and is a noted international speaker and teacher, named by Bon Appetit as Best Cooking Teacher of the Year. Her media appearances include Good Eats, Smart Solutions, Real Simple, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and she has written a regular column for the Los Angeles Times and in publications including Cook’s Illustrated and Fine Cooking. Her first book, CookWise, won a James Beard Award for excellence. She is also the author of BakeWise and KitchenWise. She lives in Atlanta.

  • Publisher: Scribner (October 28, 2008)
  • Length: 544 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416560838

“At last! For years I’ve been getting tantalizing previews of BakeWise when Shirley would call with her most recent baking mystery or cogitations or discovery. Our talks were always eye-openers, and always left me hungry to have That Book. Well here it is, and it’s been worth the wait. Shirley’s thoroughness and doggedness and enlightened common sense will make BakeWise a treasure for novices and advanced bakers alike. And her warmth and sheer delight in baking—and savoring the results!—make every page a pleasure to read.”
—Harold McGee, Author of On Food and Cooking

“The hardest thing in all of cooking is how to be a creative baker and Shirley Corriher’s BakeWise is the best book you can own to find out the how and why of it all. I will reach for BakeWise before flour and eggs.”
—Ethan Becker, Coauthor of the Joy of Cooking

“Finally, Moses has come down the mountain with another five commandments.”
—Alton Brown, Host of Food Network’s Good Eats and Author of I’m Just Here for the Food

“’What does Shirley Corriher say about that in CookWise?’ was often my reply to students who asked me cooking questions that I couldn’t answer. But BakeWise is the book I’ve really been waiting for, specifically focused on all that dough wisdom, yes, but also containing some of the best recipes in the known baking and pastry universe, each one illustrating a dynamic baking principle. I will be making full use of this book for years to come.”
—Peter Reinhart, Johnson & Wales University, and Author of Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor

“Specific, learned, and precise, BakeWise is the ultimate teaching guide on baking, elucidating many baking mysteries, from the fluctuation of your oven temperature to the size of the air bubble in your beaten egg whites.”
—Jaques Pépin, Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute and Author of Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of A Cook