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Synopsis

Every baker has pondered the wisdom of substituting one ingredient for another ("I don’t have any cake flour. Can I use all-purpose flour?"), using a square baking dish instead of the rectangular pan the recipe requires, or constructing a fancy dessert with frozen puff pastry rather than homemade.

Baking recipes require precision and attention — exact measurements, correct ingredients, and a confident hand — to mix, cream, froth, and whip. But surely there is some leeway? And if there really is no room for error or substitution, then the curious baker wants to know why.

Answering every question about common and specialty ingredients, finicky ovens, the best equipment for every recipe, the science behind the magic of baking, and the unique properties, quirks, and flavors of every kind of baked good, author Lauren Chattman reassures readers with commonsense solutions, foolproof, substitutions, and fun-to-know facts about the history and evolution of favorite baked goods. She even includes recipes that allow readers to practice new techniques and experiment with unfamiliar ingredients. Spelt Brownies, anyone?

Portable, browseable, and easy to use, The Baking Answer Book earns a place beside the recipe collections in bakers’ libraries, explaining the techniques that don’t make sense and solving the mysteries of soggy zucchini bread and cracked cheesecakes.

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