In their eternal quest to codify the relative value of every facet of the culinary world (not necessarily a bad thing), the James Beard Foundation released “The Baker’s Dozen,” a list of the thirteen best baking cookbooks of all time. Most of the big names are here: Maida Heater, Rose Levy Berenbaum, Martha Stewart, and Dorie Greenspan, whose Baking: From My Home to Yours tops the list. Intriguingly, the oldest book on the list — 1972’s Beard on Bread, an indisputable classic by Beard himself that shows up at No. 2 — was published a full thirteen years before the rest of the list kicks off, which makes us wonder what leavened horrors home cooks of the early eighties were subjected to before the bulk of the good stuff was published beginning in 1985. Read on for the full thirteen honorees.
1. “Baking: From My Home to Yours,” by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006).
2. “Beard on Bread,” by James Beard (originally published 1973; reprinted by Knopf, 1995).
3. “The Book of Great Desserts,” by Maida Heatter (Andrews McMeel, 1999).
4. “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice,” by Peter Reinhart (Ten Speed, 2001).
5. “The Cake Bible,” by Rose Levy Beranbaum (William Morrow, 1988).
6. “Classic Home Desserts,” by Richard Sax (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000).
7. “Cocolat,” by Alice Medrich (Warner Books, 1990).
8. “The Fannie Farmer Baking Book,” by Marion Cunningham (Gramercy, 1996).
9. “Great Pies and Tarts,” by Carole Walter (Clarkson Potter, 1998).
10. “The Italian Baker,” by Carol Field (William Morrow, 1985).
11. “Martha Stewart’s Cookies,” by Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter, 2008).
12. “My Bread,” by Jim Lahey (W.W. Norton, 2009).
13. “The Simple Art of Perfect Baking,” by Flo Braker (Chronicle, 2003).