Have you ever gazed on in awe at the beautiful sweets and pastries that fill patisserie cabinets, or wished you could master choux, macarons, and homemade puff pastry? For some this passion might lead them to their nearest pastry school, but if you're looking for the skills without the qualifications then here are four books that might help you get started.
1. The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts
Not only is this book incredible detailed, but it's also a beautiful book from the front cover all the way through.
The book starts off with a spot of theory, it's detailed but still easy to read and the book makes a great companion to anyone who is studying to become a pastry chef. From common hygiene issues through to the ins and outs of flours, sugars, and more; The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts book has it all.
Many of the recipes have step by step photos, and even contain a checklist at the end so that you can work out what went right and what went wrong. The book covers everything from macarons and eclairs, to cupcakes and christmas cakes.
2. The Pastry Chef's Companion
Have you ever read through a recipe and realised that you don't understand half of its instructions? Well when it comes to desserts and pastries the Pastry Chef's Companion is a great resource to have by your side.
It's basically a dictionary of baking, and if there's a pastry term you don't understand this companion will be able to help you out.
If you skip to the back there's also a section that allows you to troubleshoot common problems. Find out why your cake is sinking in the middle, or your choux pastry didn't rise. It might not be thrilling bedside reading, but it's a great book to keep nearby.
3. The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef
This isn't the type of book that will inspire you to get started on your baking journey, but if you're already an avid about baking and making sweets then you'll love the wisdom found inside The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef.
Many of the pages may seem a little drab, but you'll definitely be inspired once you actually start cooking from the recipes. There are interesting recipes that offer a lot more than your usual pound cake, and the book offers great tips for mastering techniques and presenting stunning desserts and pastries.
There's even a section on wedding cakes that doesn't just give you recipes for making tasty cakes, it also helps you work out your pricing, delivery, and gives you plenty of tips for working with customers. It's a great book when you want to take things that one step further.
4. How Baking Works
There are a lot of parallels between chemistry and baking, and while they might seem worlds apart when you delve deep baking is pretty scientific. Some people might have mastered pastries and baked goods without even understanding how they work, but How Baking Works will make sure that's not the case.
The book resembles a high school science textbook. It covers a lot of the theory behind baking, as well as prompting plenty of experiments. Once you know the science behind why things happen you've got a much stronger background for experimenting and coming up with your own creations.
This book definitely won't be for everyone, but if you've ever yearned to find out why and how your cakes turn out like they do, pick up a copy soon.