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!). This month, we’re looking at “Quick to Make” baked goods.
I was a little unsure of what to expect from the title of the chapter. Turns out it means baked goods, both sweet and savoury that are not only fast to prepare but also – technique-wise – very easy, making them perfect for novice bakers looking for impressive results even if they are not so confident in the kitchen.
“Quick to Make” Recipes
The 15 recipes in this chapter range from scones to Dutch babies with muffins, bread and biscuits in between.
“Quick to Make” Techniques and Tips
This chapter is full of great tips to help you master some simple techniques to set you up for success with these recipes (and others in the book). From figuring out the correct consistency for your glaze (I’m constantly battling glaze that’s too runny or too thick), rolling out biscuit dough, working out what “cut in” butter looks like (peas or cornmeal? Depends on the recipe!), shaping scones and bread, scoring bread, preparing stone fruits for baking, chopping dried fruits, peeling and coring apples and pears to gauging the ripeness of bananas, this chapter has a lot of really solid information that even more experienced bakers will find interesting and useful. As a teacher, reading how someone else describes a technique is always fascinating for me and the photos are a great visual aid in terms of me organising my own thoughts to explain to other people how something should look so I appreciate it on a whole other level than someone just baking at home. And honestly for the home baker, they really are not left wondering what *anything* means in terms of the recipes and descriptions. Abby’s done a great job of thinking of everything she might be asked if she was there making the recipe in front of you. Having Abby in the kitchen would be much more fun but failing that, this is the reference guide you need!
“Quick to Make” Baker’s Wisdom
I was thrilled to see “cast iron skillet care” as one of the Baker’s Wisdom boxes in this chapter. As someone who – ahem – only recently learned to care for her cast iron pieces, I’d really have appreciated knowing this when I was just starting out baking and cooking. There’s also a section about “Making flaky biscuits and scones” and how this is due the the way the butter or shortening is “cut in” to the flour which I used information from just this week, in fact, when I was teaching a pastry class and some of the students wondered about the size of the pieces of butter and if this would affect the finished product in any way (it does!).
What “Quick to Make” food did I make?
As soon as I saw the name, I couldn’t go past Double Chocolate Espresso Wake-up Bread.
Rich and chocolatey with a hint of espresso, this cake/bread is glazed with a coffee glaze (which clearly I need some more practice with which is why you are seeing a side-view only!). I personally didn’t think it needed the glaze (especially since mine looked less than stellar) but my colleagues who enjoyed this bread on a Monday morning said “Perhaps you don’t think it needs it but we are not complaining.” So I’ll take that as being I’m clearly wrong about this! THIS is the perfect loaf to make to share with a large crowd of people who like coffee and chocolate (so, teachers!). Quick and easy to prepare, I’ll be making this again. Soon.
I also was interested to try the Heavenly Honey Bran Muffins although when I got to making them, I realised I didn’t have any foil muffin tim liners (Abby says these will stick to paper liners) so I went rogue and made this in a loaf pan (sorry Abby!).
Packed with coconut, raisins, carrots, walnuts, wheatgerm and oat bran, this is the perfect breakfast loaf. With only 1/3 cup honey as the sweetner, it’s a great way to start the day (so often, muffins and loaves are merely cakes disguised but this actually feels like it’s “good for you”. It’s got a lovely texture – very light (and it’s made with whole-wheat flour too!) and moist and it stays fresh for a few days (at least 4) at room temperature. A few seconds in the microwave or toaster oven will do wonders when it’s on its last days too!
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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