Confession time: I am a lazy baker. I hate baking from scratch, because there’s usually a billion ingredients and my shit turns out horribly and I just hate it. I hate being bad at something and I’m a mediocre baker. Or… I was.
Until I met this book, Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman.
Ruhlman’s book is, in essence, about the magical ratios that make up the most basic cooking and baking elements there are: bread dough, cake batter, biscuits, chicken stock, custard, and so on. His book purports that every decent recipe is built on the foundation of these basic ratios (flour to liquid to fat and so on), and I’ve got to be honest: they are good. They work in any quantity.
Ratio, of course, isn’t just a list of basic ratios. He expands on the theme, giving breath to variations so expansive one can only continue to see the endless possibilities for each base ratio. And the section on yeast, how it works, and what kinds are best? Breathtaking.
But you’re talking to a foodie here.
This book is, ultimately, for those Alton Brown fans who like a little science in their kitchen. It’s for the people who are exhausted from looking for a bread recipe that isn’t horrible, have tried twelve and are ready to give up. It’s for the people who like some theory behind their chicken broth. It is, in short, a cookbook for total nerds.
11 replies on “Book Review: Ratio by Michael Ruhlman”
Totally got my copy of Ratio today, so excited to read it tonight (but that’s if I can get it off Mr. Cesy, but he has the also Michael Ruhlman authored “Live To Cook” with Michael Symon to read!)
This sounds like an awesome idea! I hate sticking to recipes, so understanding ratios could be my key to recipe freedom! Thanks for the suggestion. :)
Part of what I love about the concept is that you can basically make as little as you’d like. We’re talking one-serving baked goods here, people.
Oh, this sounds like something I need. I really want to break away from the recipe dungeon, but I’m always sort of nervous about screwing something up.
That’s precisely what this is for; you get the base ratios right so the type of food comes out right, but you can fudge with the details to get whatever flavors you prefer.
I’m putting it on my library list. Thanks so much for the review!
i love michael ruhlman.Â i have a few of his other books, but i never bothered to get this one!Â i like science with my food! ;)
On my list! Â I get my kicks from asserting my superiority over recipes (remind me to tell you how exciting my life is,) so being able to cook without recipes Â will make me feel like the bad-assiest cook who ever lived.
Yeah, your excitement is my excitement. Hello, brain twin.
That sounds like me! Going to look for it on Amazon now, thank you!
Yay! I think you’ll enjoy it. I read mine on Kindle but I’d like to have a hard copy around here for flipping through. Kindle kinda blows for regular cookbook use.