Welcome to this month’s instalment of The Everyday Baker review (I’m spreading it out over the course of a year because with over 170 recipes, it’s a little hard to cover unless you divide it up into chapters!). We’re looking at “Morning Food” this month and I must say I wondered what on earth Abby Dodge would include in this chapter. I mean, baked goods in the morning – muffins, donuts, pancakes, waffles, right? Well, yes, but she’s also included a wonderful range of savoury items you might want to indulge in at breakfast – all of which are accompanied by in-depth instructions and many step-by-step photographs which truly walk you through the process – it’s nearly as good as having Abby in the kitchen with you 😉
There are 18 recipes in this chapter from classics (French Toast) to something a little different (Individual Roasted Carrot Jalapeño Soufflés). There’s a nice balance of sweet vs savoury recipes as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options. If you’re hosting a brunch get-together this would be a great book to plan the menu from. Or, you know, any Sunday…
“Morning Food” Techniques and Tips
For me, a lot of the value in this chapter (book) is in Abby’s thorough attention to detail when it comes to technique. I made the Baked Double Chocolate Donuts and in that short recipe alone, there were notes on four different techniques referred to in the steps (greasing a pan, folding batter, filling a piping bag and identifying correct glaze consistency). Personally, I didn’t need to refer to any of these steps but the curious cook, baker and teacher in me read every word of every step. As someone who teaches children and adults to cook and bake, I am very aware of the need for clear instructions and sometimes it’s very hard to describe a cooking technique in words. I mean, my idea of gently folding a batter (not stirring) “until just blended” is most likely very different to yours. Abby helps novice (and not so novice) bakers understand baking terminology by providing not only words, but also pictures to show the different stages of the recipe (including the correct equipment to use) – invaluable if you are not so confident in the kitchen and don’t want to interrupt your cooking with constant Google searches (come on – you’ve been there, right? Hands full of flour, madly Googling something like “what does batter look like when it’s just blended?”).
Other important techniques that are covered in this chapter include: testing a griddle for heat, lining pans with foil or parchment, blending butter into flour (“cutting it” in), blind baking, making and shaping cinnamon rolls, making crêpes, cooking pancakes, layering a strata, making stuffed French toast, pressing dough into (mini) quiche pans and assembling and cooking a frittata. there are SO many more but you can see from this list that if you master the techniques covered in just this one chapter, you’d be all set to open a breakfast diner!
I read each and every tip about technique (for me, this was actually more interesting than the recipes. Not that I wasn’t interested in the recipes but I am a baking geek who writes recipes and teaches others how to cook so I’m always curious to see how others interpret technique and describe it. This is a comprehensive and very clearly written book that leaves the reader/ baker in no doubt as to what they should be doing and how it should look.
“Morning Food” Baker’s Wisdom
I love the fact that there’s a little “Baker’s Wisdom” tucked into each sidebar. From caring for nonstick pans (tip: line them with paper towels before you stack them to store), to roasting garlic, to making fresh breadcrumbs to explaining why lumpy batter is sometimes ok to choosing carrots with the most flavour, Abby has all sorts of gems of knowledge to impart. Most recipes include “Make Ahead” information which helps you figure out what part of the recipe you can make in advance and how to store it if there are leftovers (and how long it will last) as well as flavour swaps or other twists to change up the recipes. Perfect for nervous bakers who aren’t sure what sort of ingredients they can substitute if they don’t like a flavour or have access to a particular ingredient.
What “Morning Food” did I make?
Why Baked Double Chocolate Donuts, of course! I am not a huge donut fan (I just don’t really like the flavour of fried dough) but I was keen to give these a whirl. They are not traditional donuts in any sense of the word – they are baked and not fried so they are definitely more cake-like BUT you can whip them up while your coffee brews and be enjoying them in under an hour. My kinda Sunday morning sweet treat!
These got rave reviews. And while they probably don’t satisfy a true donut craving because the flavour is definitely more like a (not very sweet, which is perfect!) cake than a donut, but not one person complained or even mentioned this. And, well, there were none left so… #winning.
Please note: The product links from Amazon and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: Abby is a friend but she didn’t ask me to write about the book. In fact, she didn’t even know I had a copy until I told her!
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