Stanley Cauvain, Linda Young
Woodhead Publishing, £135

This is the sequel to no prizes for solving this poser Baking Problems Solved. Written in a Q&A format, and taken in one sitting, it reads like a bad day at the bakery. A lot of those niggly little problems you have with everyday baking crop up here. For example, when you bake muffins and the tops rise and lean to one side, making them look more like X-Factor’s Jedward than an appealing product, it’s all down to not controlling the heat in the oven and leaving enough space between products and tins to allow airflow.
From unwelcome holes in bread to shrinking biscuits, chances are at least one of the issues cropping up here have flummoxed your operatives at one time or another, which makes this book such a fascinating resource.
With an unparalleled expertise in the trade, as former scientists at Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association (now Campden BRI) and current bakery consultants working in the industry, Cauvain and Young tackle the big issues as well. How do you reduce the level of fat in your biscuit recipes? What alternatives are there to sodium chloride in baked products? What are the possible alternatives to chemically based preservatives? And how do you make gluten-free products?
There are also answers to those questions that you want to know, but are too embarrassed to ask, like: what are farls and how do you make them? Erm, we did know that. Honestly...