A Baker's Year Cookbook Review

A Baker's Year Cookbook Review

Title: A Baker's Year: Twelve Months of Baking and Living the Simple Life at the Smoke Signals Bakery
Author: Tara Jensen
Published: February 13, 2018, St. Martin's Griffin
No. of Pages: 208
Cover Price: $25.99 Hardcover, $13.99 Kindle

Anyone familiar with Smoke Signals Bakery in Marshall, North Carolina, knows that not only is it a phenomenal bakery, but it is possible to enroll in classes to learn to bake simple, but delicious breads and pies. Tara Jensen is the brain behind this popular bakery, and has released her first cookbook, A Baker's Year: Twelve Months of Baking and Living the Simple Life at the Smoke Signals Bakery. The book features recipes for grass-roots style baked goods, as well as good information on grains, other ingredients, and making a starter.

This book is for serious bakers, as the recipes are scratch baked goods without shortcuts. Jensen uses a wood-fired oven in her bakery, and gives instructions to bake with wood-fired ovens at home or over a campfire. This is a lot of work, but valuable for those who have the time to set up a home oven. There is an excellent chapter on baking bread, including ways to make crusts look fancy with stencils.

Some of the best recipes are for scrumptious and beautiful pies, as well as crusts and an excellent crumble topping. She also includes detailed instructions for decorating her pies with crust cut-outs. Most of the recipes are for rustic baked goods, which are more realistic since home-baked goods often take on a rustic look because they are made at home by non-professional cooks.

If readers want to simply sit back and read, this is an excellent choice; the book, along with vignettes and introductions to different baked goods are well-written and very interesting. The author’s personality shows through and the book is fun to read. Also included are beautiful photographs of the mouthwatering recipes.

For anyone who wants to adopt a new way to prepare baked goods, this book is a winner. It is not, however, for bakers who want to take shortcuts on baking and those who are busy and aren’t willing to put in a fair amount of time.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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