Bake the Book: The Model Bakery Cookbook


[Photograph: Frankie Frankeny]

Fans of the Napa Valley-based Model Bakery can learn to make their own versions of the signature croissants, cakes, and cookies in The Model Bakery Cookbook. Authored by current owners and mother-daughter team Karen Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell Hansen, the book boasts recipes for 75 of their (and their fans') favorite sweets.

Everything you would expect from a bakery cookbook is present and accounted for. There are breads, cakes, pies, and tarts, as well as cookies and a variety of breakfast dishes. Before any of that begins, however, there's a sizable introductory section that covers ingredients, equipment, and basic technique, with an emphasis on yeast and its uses. Yeasted breads and sweets are frequently shied away from by the home baker, but with excellent recipes for Bear Claws and their renowned English Muffins, there's no reason not to try making your own. Especially the bear claws; they start with a croissant dough base and end up with cake crumbs folded inside.

Apart from breads and their kin, The Model Bakery has included a comprehensive menu of cookies and cakes, each suited to a different season. Since much of the country is still riding out a harsh winter, we've opted to feature Espresso Bundt Cake, a soft, rich, caffeinated pick-me-up. And since many bakeries are measured by the quality of their chocolate offerings, we're making Chocolate Rads, with walnuts, a pound of chocolate, and even more espresso.

Even if you've never been to the eponymous shop, The Model Bakery Cookbook is a great bread and pastry reference, with a wide repertoire of recipes. And if you or someone you know is a fan, this will surely make their day.

Win A Copy!

Thanks to the generous folks over at Chronicle Books, we are giving away five (5) copies of The Model Bakery Cookbook this week. All you have to do is tell us what you'd serve in your bakery.