Swoon. That’s how you’ll feel holding Sarabeth’s Bakery in your hands. My gosh, there isn’t one aspect of this book that isn’t stunning. The size (lovely ten inch square pages) and heft (four pounds) of the book alone whisper that this one is special. Reading the introduction is like beginning a novel you just know will be riveting, after only digesting the first two paragraphs. The photographs are nothing short of perfection, and the directions are incredibly detailed. But the very best of all, in my opinion, is the writing that prefaces each chapter and accompanies the recipes. Yes, the secrets to some of the most amazing baked goods and techniques are being passed from her hands to ours, but the writing feels as though it is straight from her heart.
My first choice was Apple Cinnamon Loaf, a yeast based dough studded with cinnamon and fresh apples. The dough was made quickly in my stand mixer, stretched into a large rectangle and spread with a mixture of sweetened, chopped apples before being rolled up into a log – quite like making cinnamon buns. This recipe (and many others) calls for an interesting rise method – place the dough on a baking sheet inside a regular kitchen trash bag. Insert a glass of hot water, closing the bag tightly, but catching enough air inside the bag so that the dough won’t touch the plastic as it rises. This method was new to me, but it worked beautifully.
The recipe steps are clear cut and wonderful. After I rolled up my dough, it states to cut the log into one inch slices, then further into one inch squares. Sarabeth writes “It will look like quite a mess, but you’re doing the right thing.” Those are exactly the sort of directions I treasure in a cookbook, that much needed assurance that I’m not mucking it up. She was right, it was a mess raw, but once baked, the loaves were beautiful, a twisted design of fluffy bread interspersed with a sweet, spicy apple mix. Two loaves of goodness with only a half stick of butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar. It was a bit of kitchen magic, I tell you!
Truly, Sarabeth’s Bakery is an absolute gem! It is impossible to list all the recipes that I wanted to try, but I do know the Chocolate Chubbies, her signature Pumpkin Muffins, and Margaret’s Espresso Cake will be made here before month’s end. Please consider treating yourself or a baker friend to this – you won’t be sorry. If I were forced to choose only a handful of cookbooks to keep, this would most definitely make the cut. Sarabeth has produced a stunning book that will help you shine in your own kitchen.
Check out the Sarabeth’s Kitchen website for some sample recipes
Jen lives in Michigan with her husband and six year old son. She writes reviews of children’s books on her blog, FIRR-Kids and loves filling her own shelves with cookbooks.
Review and giveaway copies are provided free of any obligation by Rizzoli Publications. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.