The Baker’s Companion by Allyson Gofton
Updated: Apr 19, 2019
Want to know why your cakes are always too heavy? Why the bottom burns? When it all goes wrong, what can you do?
Kiwi icon Allyson Gofton answers these questions and more in The Baker’s Companion. This book is a treasure trove of useful information for common baking woes. Allyson Gofton is one of New Zealand’s most loved and trusted authors, who have been cooking for almost 30 years and has written more than 20 cookbooks.
“In this, my Baker’s Companion I have, I hope, passed on all the reasons why, in a home kitchen, we do what we do – it is because baking, unlike any other style of cooking, is not about food but rather chemistry. When the mix of proteins, fats and carbohydrates gets out of sync, success may not always follow. That said, your grandmother did not need a food science degree to bake a perfect pie, and neither do you,” she says.
The introductory chapter, Baker’s Know-How explores basic ingredients, the baker’s pantry and the equipment locker. There is an excellent problem solving section which includes substitutions (for when you don’t have the listed ingredient), what went wrong and emergency disguises. Read Allyson’s tips on how to fix a baking blunder here.
This is a beautifully presented book, full of recipes and decades of accumulated knowledge. There are more than 100 recipes for biscuits, bread, brownies, cakes, meringues, pavlovas, puddings, quick bakes, slices and tarts. Helpful hints are included throughout and the photography is simply mouth-watering. If you are inspired to start baking now, Allyson has shared her self-saucing chocolate pudding recipe and includes several options for variations.
Looking through the book, there are some definite standouts that we would like to try: Devil’s Chocolate Cake, Sponge Drops, Belgium Biscuits, Six Egg White Pavlova and Chocolate Hot Cross Buns. How could you resist any of these?
The Baker’s Companion is a book to keep and to treasure.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan and Andrea Molloy
Published by Penguin Random House