Unprecedented. Bake by Rory Macdonald is a baking book unlike any you have ever seen. It is, for certain, a baking book that you must have in your kitchen.
Rory knew by age twelve he wanted to be a chef. He’s followed that path around the world, at key restaurants, and earning Michelin stars along the way. In his heart he was always drawn to baking and we can be on so grateful that he gravitated to flour and sugar and butter.
This book overflows with great recipes. But, more importantly, there are sensational photos here to stun you into running into your own kitchen. You cannot see these pictures and not be inspired. And, most importantly, you will encounter recipes here written with unprecedented detail and precision. Recipes that are certain to make you a baking winner.
The first recipe, My Granny’s Scones, only takes a page but it’s going to take you a bit of time. Rory wants you to let the dough rest three times, for two and half hours total time, to achieve the lightness and fluffiness Rory remembers. These scones are family treasures and, if you can’t have them at 8 AM in the morning, you can have them on the table for Sunday brunch.
After the scones, come the croissants. Croissants are made with laminated dough — that means layers of butter-rich dough. You’ll need both bread dough and a thick block of butter. There are recipes for both followed by six pages of pictures showing how to combine dough and butter. It’s a process that will have you pounding the butter and possibly sending some flour into the air. It’s fine. It’s fun. And it’s a chain of tasks that, end-to-end, takes a couple of days.
Rory loves options. So, after the details of that classic croissant, he soars forward with these ideas:
Everything [jalapeno cream cheese, poppy seeds, and onion flakes]
Croque Monsieurs [mustard, ham, cheddar and bechamel sauce]
Black Truffle and Prosciutto
Once you have mastered one of Rory’s core recipes, you can trek down flavor paths that are brilliant with color, intensity, and delight.
Bake rolls on with other sections like the croissant: a basic idea presented in detail and then exploited for a rainbow of flavor options. Rory has a perfect recipe for Kouign-Amann, a pastry from Northern France that Rory calls the croissant’s favorite cousin. There is the basic, sugar-rich KA but then there are these variations:
Dulce de Leche
Strawberries and Cream
Lemon and Poppy Seed [pictured here!]
There are “normal” recipes in Bake, though I hesitate to think anything Rory does is merely “normal” Here’s his Rhubarb and Custard Tart:
Or a Tomato and Herb Fougasse:
Or this Carrot and Coconut Cake with Pistachio and Coconut Granola.
The photos are stunning, closeups with precision clarity that will give you the insight you want as you undertake each recipe. And I do mean “each.” I went through Bake and I simply want to make everything. There’s not a recipe here that does not drip with temptation, temptation that is sweet and wonderful.
Bake is a book so distinctive, so important, that I really find it hard to convey my passion for it. Perhaps the pictures here are the best way to display the power and mastery of Bake. Find it, check it out, and succumb to temptation. This book will change your life.