great books on baking

Joined Nov 29, 2001
Pie & Pastry Bible Rose Levy Berenbaum
Old Joy of Cooking

I find these to be the most dependable and comprehensive.
Joined Jul 3, 2002
Chiff and Shroom--

Which "Old" Joy? I've got a facsimile of the first edition 1931 and copies of the 1964 and 1997 editions.
And what changed in the newer edition that came out? :confused: I don't think I've baked from any of them (yet :) ).
Joined Oct 27, 1999
RJ, I found an index online for Gisslen's Professional Baking, but not for Friburg's Professional Pastry Chef ... how much overlap is there between the two books? How would you compare the books with regard to explicitness and difficulty of the recipes (Does one book or the other assume a large basis of knowledge and leave out explanations of terms and techniques)? Do the recipes in both books typically produce 10 or so servings or does one offer smaller portions? (I read somewhere that reducing dessert recipes is tricky because you can't simply cut them down to the numbers of servings you want.) Also, do the recipes in each book call for a kitchen armed with a multitude of esoteric machines and pans of every shape and size? ... If you had to choose only one of these two books, which one would you choose? (And, if you have any energy left, could you please say why?) I am sorry to deluge you with all these questions, but I don't have access to them in person and would have to buy them blind. Thank you very much in advance!
Joined Jan 4, 2003
Well Brook,
The Gisslen book seems to be more user friendly. The full color glossy pictures alone set it apart in that manner. It is written with a little more pizzaz than Friberg's book. Every single recipe is written in US measurements (oz, tsp, lb, etc.) and in Metric as well (g and ml).

Both books have usage areas for specific kitchen equipment - Certain size cutters, spatulas, tart pans, etc. As for the termonology, the Gisslen book is more like a school textbook so there are review terms and chapeter objectives as the book progresses. The Friberg book does not. This is not a bad thing. Both book's termonology is written to be easily understood by anyone with baking and pastry knowledge. Recipes in both are equally impressive. I've had great sucess with both.

Here are the chapter stops for the Gisslen book.

Chapter 1 ~ Basic Principles
Chapter 2 ~ Ingredients
Chapter 3 ~ Understanding Yeast Doughs
Chapter 4 ~ Lean Yeast Doughs
Chapter 5 ~ Rich Yeast Doughs
Chapter 6 ~ Quick Breads
Chapter 7 ~ Donuts, Fritters, Pancakes, and Waffles
Chapter 8 ~ Basic Syrups, Creams, and Sauces
Chapter 9 ~ Pies
Chapter 10 ~ Pastry Basics
Chapter 11 ~ Tarts and Special Pastries
Chapter 12 ~ Cake Mixing and Baking
Chapter 13 ~ Assembling and Decorating Cakes
Chapter 14 ~ Speciality Cakes, Gateaux, and Torten
Chapter 15 ~ Cookies
Chapter 16 ~ Custards, Puddings, Mousses, and Souffles
Chapter 17 ~ Frozen Desserts
Chapter 18 ~ Fruit Desserts
Chapter 19 ~ Dessert Presentation
Chapter 20 ~ Chocolate
Chapter 21 ~ Decorative Work : Marzipan, Nougatine, and Pastillage
Chapter 22 ~ Decorative Work : Sugar Techniques

I can't find the Friberg book right now. I have a feeling it is in my kitchen. Later on, I will post its chapters for you.

Joined Jan 4, 2003
DUH!!! The Friberg book was on my computer desk... RIGHT NEXT TO ME.

Here's the chapter breaks...

Chapter 1 ~ Mise en Place
Chapter 2 ~ Basic Doughs
Chapter 3 ~ Yeast Breads
Chapter 4 ~ Flatbread, Crackers, and Rolls
Chapter 5 ~ Breakfast Breads and Pastries
Chapter 6 ~ Cookies
Chapter 7 ~ Tarts, Pies, Cobblers, and Crisps
Chapter 8 ~ Tea Cakes, Pound Cakes, Muffins, and other Quick Breads
Chapter 9 ~ Sponge Cakes and Cake Bases
Chapter 10 ~ Basic Chocolate Work and Decorating Techniques
Chapter 11 ~ Decorated Cakes
Chapter 12 ~ Individual Pastries
Chapter 13 ~ Plated Desserts
Chapter 14 ~ Ice Cream and Sorbets
Chapter 15 ~ Custards, Puddings, Mousses, Charlottes, and Bavarian Creams
Chapter 16 ~ Sauces, Syrups, and Fillings

and three appendixes... Equipment, Measurements, and Ingredients

OK, I am done typing. Ask and you shall receive. Anything more specific I will be happy to answer..... tomorrow. LOL

Joined Mar 22, 2002
I just got a Cuisinart ICE 20 from my husband (who loves Ice cream) for Christmas - how thoughtful of him.

I had checked the recommendations of the King Arthur Flour Baking circle, and there didn't seem to be any problems with a particular brand. Amazon had a reconditioned Cuisinart, and he got a second bowl on sale, too. If you use 10 egg yolks, there is just a touch too much cream for the bowl.

I started with a recipe from Women's Day Old Fashioned desserts, through Gordon Ramsay and Bo Friberg. While the 1/2 and 1/2 stays the same, sugar and egg yolks vary (from 3 to 12 - they've all been good) I tried adding some fresh blackberries adn a splach of Chambord - ummm. Next I think I'll make the cinnamon (with 1 or 2 less egg yolks) to serve with warm apple crisp.
It's been so cold here I just set the bowls on the porch :eek:

Good luck, and do try a search at king Arthur for information, too.
Joined Oct 27, 1999
RJ -- My computer has been in the shop - grrr! I wanted to thank you for taking the time to type out the tables of contents for the Gisslen and Friburg books. You're right, I'll try and get both books when I have enough pennies saved! Thanks again for your help. Brook
Joined Feb 20, 2003
I actually like the Cake Bible and the Pie & Pastry Bible. But I've been baking for many years. I always direct new bakers to The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. Marion Cunninham has great American type recipies and the master recipes give great step by step beginner instructions. If you are a pro the other texts would be more useful, but this book will start you in the right direction. No fancy pictures though!
Joined Jan 9, 2009
Do you have any ebooks? I'm a beginner at baking, so far I've only make a chocolate chip cookie and brownies. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Blush-Blush. Welcome to Cheftalk. Hope you enjoy it here.

Please note, however, that this thread is more than seven years old. So you're not likely to get a direct answer. My suggestion is that you start a new thread, getting specific about what you are looking for.
Joined Aug 18, 2010

I have been looking at ads for Professional Baking  and the Professional Pastry Chef  online and can't determine the relative merits of each book. If anyone has familiarity with both books, I would really appreciate hearing your comments. I am not a very experienced baker and do not often bake for more than 10 people at a time, often it's for much fewer people! However, I like to try making new things and would like a comprehensive reference book for baking. Thanks.
Joined Nov 5, 2009
Do you have any ebooks? I'm a beginner at baking, so far I've only make a chocolate chip cookie and brownies. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
Hi and welcome!

I'm a beginner too. 

I love Rose Levy Beranbaum's books (Cake Bible, Rose's Heavenly Cakes) and Cook's Illustrated (Baking Illustrated)

Rose's books, especially, take me step by step to creating perfect  cakes with WOW results

I hope this helps 

Good luck

Joined Nov 15, 2010
Jacques Pepin The Complete Technique. Amazing baking recipes, illustrated, great results. Classic. The International Confectioner. A baking bible. The Professional Chef (CIA text) is awesome if your just starting out. Shows you not only perfect results, but what can go wrong with your project and why, with photo's of what over mixed products crumb's look like, etc.


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Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
I have been reading and cooking through a book ChefTalk recently received "Baking Basics and Beyond'. It seems like a great beginner book I do wish there were some illustrations on some of the techniques used. Most of the recipes I have tested have been very good. Cooks Illustrated "Baking Illustrated" is always a good one in my opinion. The recipes are so safe and foolproof due to their extensive testing.

I am in agreement with Shroomgirl on the Joy of Cooking that is a classic.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I too have had good success with Baking Illustrated. Probably my most used of Cook's Illustrated books.
Joined Nov 15, 2010
oh! Can I add the Modern Cafe? It's CIA issued and AMAZING. Just bought it the other day, and, it's changed the way I think about baking.
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