Baking technicalities & regional differences

Just read this very interesting article on ‘Crossing the Atlantic by Cookbook‘ about Rose Levy Beranbaum’s experience where the recipes in her US-published cookbooks didn’t work at all when used in Britain!

Beranbaum’s write-up on this and the many readers’ comments discuss the differences between British and American flours as well as measuring methods. This goes way beyond what most people are aware of, that altitude and humidity can affect the results of baked goods.

I have been using recipes from all over – especially ones from the internet – together with Waitrose organic flour from England or Origins Healthcare flour (a Singapore brand and the packaging says ‘Produce of USA’). Suddenly I feel as if I have been blessed with immense good luck that my baking usually turns out pretty well – to my own standards, at least (no sunken cakes so far). Rose Levy Beranbaum’s write-up gives me the impression that without an amazingly specialised knowledge of baking ingredients, it will all be a disaster and makes me feel too scared to even try any baking at all!

Perhaps the moral of the story is to use tried-and-tested recipes from cookbooks and websites from the area where one is doing the baking.

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2 Responses

  1. wow! i really must learn from u, reading all these cheem books!

    from my experience with all these cookbooks and online recipes (i read a lot of western cookbooks, especially those that have SIMPLE and FAST recipes, and suitale for toddlers (ie NO additives, preservatives, not overly sweet etc, try to use whole foods and not processed foods etc)), i have learnt that it is best to go with renowned authors , rather than follow those random recipes on places like allrecipes.com. i watch a lot of discovery travel & living too – and soemtimes the recipes that nigella says on tv is different from that eventually posted on the website!

    i’ve learnt that once the author / chef is renowned, their recipes are pretty consistent.

    and , u are my ‘local’ resource for healthy cooking! :)

  2. thanks for the advice on choosing recipes. you’re right abt the variable quality of internet recipes, that’s why I like food bloggers whose explanations reveal that they are really experienced and know how to cook :).

    and thanks for the compliment! you are a wonderful help on my learning journey of healthy cooking, CP!

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