Book Review: Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

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.

By Meghan Young Krogh

Meghan had a number of quality writing mentors over the course of her education, which just goes to show that you can't blame the teacher for the way the student turns out. Team Oxford Comma represent.

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