Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking

Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking – easy-to-follow recipes with more than 1,500 photographs
By Caroline Bretherton
Published at DK Canada

About the book

Packed with clear instructions and essential information on ingredients, special equipment, and storage, Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking contains everything you need to bake with confidence.

Every area of baking is covered in Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking, with 350 recipes covering a huge range of sweet and savory classics including quiches, pies, breads, and cookies. Classic recipes such as quiche lorraine and New York cheesecake are demystified and presented in a clear and accessible step-by-step format.

If you want to produce the perfect tart, bake a cake fit for a king, or serve up a souffle that won't sink, Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking will guide you through every single stage with clear, illustrated, step-by-step instructions that have proved so popular with DK's readers.

Who is Caroline Bretherton?

Caroline Bretherton has worked in the food industry for the last 15 years.  A love of cooking led her to start her own catering company, which soon led to the establishment of an eatery in the heart of London’s Notting Hill – Manna Café.

Over the years, she has worked consistently in television, presenting a wide range of food programs, and in print media, contributing to, among others, The Times of London as their family food writer.  Her first book, The Kitchen Garden Cookbook, has recently been published by Dk Publishing.

She is married with two children (and a large kitchen garden!) and lives in London.

Our Thoughts

If I tell you that my kids got really excited when they saw that book would you believe me?   Well the two oldest anyway.   All my kids have attended cooking classes at a local grocery store and are involved in many aspects of the cooking in our house.    Alexandre and Dominic didn’t wait long to dig into this book and select the recipes they wanted to do…


Even my husband sat down that day and looked into it, pleased to see so many pictures and step-by-step instructions for many recipes.  Almost all recipes are accompanied with a picture of the end product.   Some of them have the step-by-step pictures helping you to go through the whole recipe without missing anything.   

So for our first recipe, we selected the Rosemary Focaccia.  Alexandre wanted to do it all by himself without any help…   

Here’s the recipe that he did for supper the other day.

Rosemary Focaccia

A good-tempered dough that can be left in the refrigerator to rise overnight.  Bring back to room temperature to bake.

Serves 6-8  

Preparation about 30-35 minutes   Cooking time 15-20 minutes

Rising and proofing time 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours


3 tsp dried yeast
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
leaves from 5-7 rosemary sprigs
1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1/4 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
sea salt flakes


1. Sprinkle the yeast over 4 tablespoons of warm water.  Leave for 5 minutes, stirring once.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the salt and make a well in the center.

3. Add chopped rosemary, 4 tablespoons oil, yeast, pepper, and 1 cup of lukewarm water.   NOTE: Try to omit the rosemary and black pepper and replace by adding 3-5 sage sprigs, chopped.

4. Gradually draw in the flour and work it into the other ingredients to form a smooth dough.

5. The dough should be soft and sticky.  Do no be tempted to add more flour to dry it out.

6. Sprinkle the dough with flour and knead for 5-7 minutes on a floured work surface.

7. When ready, the dough will be very smooth and elastic.  Place in an oiled bowl.


8. Cover with a damp kitchen towel.  Leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours, until doubled.


9. Put the dough on a floured work surface and knock out the air.

10. Cover with a dry kitchen towel and let it rest for about 5 minutes.  Brush the pan with oil.

11. Transfer the dough to the pan.   With your hands, flatten the dough to fill the pan evenly.   (okay I will admit this is the part that Alexandre needed some help…   So I chipped in for the flattening part.)

12. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 35-45 minutes, until puffed.

13. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).  Scatter the reserved rosemary leaves on top.

14.  With your fingertips, poke the dough all over to make deep dimples.

15. Pour spoonful of the remaining oil all over the dough and sprinkle with the salt flakes.  (do be honest I would leave the salt flakes out… too salty!)

16. Bake on the top shelf for 15-20 minutes, until browned.  Transfer to a wire rack.


The bread looked good and it smelled all through the house when my husband came back home that evening.    He was impressed that Alexandre did all by himself (with a Broccoli Salad as well).

The rosemary focaccia was a success for almost everyone in the family – my third son didn’t like it as much as the others.   But see how yummy it is…  And yes Alexandre put a bit too much of salt on the top.   We have all decided that the salt is not necessary and from now on won’t be adding it on top of the focaccias we will do in the future.


Our next recipe planned is the Quiche Lorraine which is a French classic of eggs and bacon.    My husband is looking forward to have this after he comes back from a day at a contract…

This book is an absolute gem to try out new recipes or to have your child explore cooking for the whole family.   As an homeschooler, I am proud of him to take the initiative and decide to do a meal for us.   After all, isn’t this part of Home Ec?   My son will definitively be a good prospect for a young lady in the future.   She will be blessed to have him cook and help around the house!

The Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking is available at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: I received the product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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