Book Review: Crumb

Crumb: A Baking Book by Ruby Tandoh

I loved this book. I've been baking since my early teens, so it's rare that I find a baking focused cookbook that I feel like adds something to my collection - this book does. It's well designed, but not precious like some other recently released books. There are tips to help you figure out why your cake is too dense or too dry or why is my bread dough rising so slowly. The author, Ruby Tandoh, also has my eternal respect for not requiring me to go out and buy a special pan just to bake madeleines.

The recipes are unusual enough to add to an already large cookbook collection (whether public library or personal), but familiar enough (and detailed enough) that a new baker could be successful. While these recipes are not particularly healthy (something which the author is very up front about), neither are they filled with ridiculous amounts of sugar and unnecessary adornments. There are simple and classic cakes, a good selection of basic breads, some delicious looking doughnuts, cookies (arranged by texture!), cheesecakes (without a water bath!), and other decadent desserts. (As an aside, this is the only non-Russian cookbook I've ever seen that included a recipe for Vatruski! I made a lot of friends in my Russian theater class by baking vatrushki for our Saturday morning rehearsals.)

As a primarily self taught baker, I particularly appreciate the photographs and detailed instructions for things like bun shaping, butter creaming, and frying. I also appreciate the artful, but not overly styled photographs. Each recipe includes a note telling where the accompanying photograph is. This is such a simple thing, but SO HELPFUL. I hate trying to guess where the photo of that one recipe will be.

Verdict: This book is immediately going on my personal wish list and I will recommend it to anyone looking for a good baking book.

Note: I reviewed an eGalley provided by the publisher on NetGalley (being a librarian has it's benefits!)