Taste: Baking With Flavour by Dean Brettschneider and Lauraine Jacobs ****
Taste: Baking With Flavour is the third book from the partnership of professional baker Dean Brettschneider and contributing food editor at Cuisine magazine, Lauraine Jacobs. Their first two books – The New Zealand Baker and Baker, The Best of International Baking from Australian and New Zealand Professionals – were perhaps a little too technical for home use, although it was evident that they were fantastic resources for anyone in the baking business.
Without dumbing down in any way, the authors have redressed this issue in Taste and the book is packed with more than 50 recipes that will have even the more inexperienced cooks making a beeline for the kitchen. This time round, the authors have broken the method down to manageable steps plus, beside each recipe, are useful Keys to Success, which draw your attention to variations, substitutions and suggestions to make the recipe easier.
There are several unusual taste and texture combinations – Plum, Almond and Fennel Tart or Rosemary Rice Pudding Tart being just two of these – and plenty of gluten-free options, Lemon and Blueberry Polenta Cake and Poppy Seed Bread, for example. There are also recipes for those interested in taking bread baking a little big further and the Chardonnay Loaf, topped with a hand-moulded bunch of grapes (instructions and pictures included!), is a fine illustration of this.
The book is divided into three chapters – Pastries, Pies and Tarts; Breads; and Cakes and Cookies – each of which starts with basic techniques and recipes to enable you to get the best out of whichever recipes you decide to cook. Ending with supplementary information on ingredients and equipment, Taste: Baking With Flavour is an essential addition to anyone’s baking library.
Taste by Dean Brettschneider and Lauraine Jacobs is published by Random House New Zealand.