The best baking books for at home bakers

Why am I passionate about this?

Rick Rodgers is an award-winning culinary teacher and cookbook writer who has made a specialty of books on baked goods. His book Kaffehaus explores the delicious sweets of the Austro-Hungarian coffee culture. With two of America’s most iconic bakeries, he is the co-author of The Model Bakery Cookbook and Sarabeth's Bakery, as well as Coffee And Cake, Tea And Cookies, and Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food.

My project is...

Cooking & Baking Classes

I am the author of 40 original cookbooks, and the co-author, ghostwriter, recipe tester, or consultant to more than 30 additional titles. I provide culinary and literary services to chefs, corporations, and celebrities, drawing on deep experience in these very different worlds. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Good Bake: The Art and Science of Making Perfect Pastries, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Breads at Home

Rick Rodgers Why did I love this book?

Baking books are constantly evolving because of changing tastes and new availability of groceries. What was once an exotic grocery item can now be found at every supermarket. Weller’s book is for today’s cook, but she uses familiar formats for her creations. Her multilayered babkas are like no one else’s. You will learn a new technique or ingredient with every recipe.

By Carolynn Carreno, Melissa Weller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Good Bake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the James Beard Award nominee, a comprehensive baking bible for the twenty-first century, with 120 scientifically grounded recipes for sweet and savory baked goods anyone can master.

"A very good combination: Baking science all of us can understand and a splendid collection of recipes. . . . A baker’s must!” —Dorie Greenspan, author of Dorie's Cookies and Everyday Dorie 

Melissa Weller is the baking superstar of our time. As the head baker at some of the best restaurants in the country, her takes on chocolate babka and sticky buns brought these classics back to life and kicked off a…

Book cover of The Simple Art of Perfect Baking

Rick Rodgers Why did I love this book?

When I worked in a food magazine test kitchen, it was a joy when a recipe by Flo came across my desk. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was legendary for her skills and nurturing of young talent, her books deserve to be better known to the general public. The late, great Flo taught me so much about baking with her clear and concise recipes for top-notch baked goods. You will feel like your favorite aunt is standing next to you in the kitchen directing your every move. You can trust Flo.

By Flo Braker, Dana Gallagher (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Simple Art of Perfect Baking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning author of Sweet Miniatures offers an organized, methodical approach to baking that features some two hundred tested dessert recipes--for cakes, tortes, tarts, pies, pastries, and more, along with step-by-step instructions for a variety of useful cooking and decorating techniques. 1

Book cover of The Italian Baker: The Classic Tastes of the Italian Countryside--Its Breads, Pizza, Focaccia, Cakes, Pastries, and Cookies

Rick Rodgers Why did I love this book?

This book literally changed home baking forever by making artisan breads accessible to the amateur cook. It was the first time that many of us saw recipes for the rustic breads with crackling brown crusts and moist, hole-ridden interiors that were before only available at specialty bakeries. All books are a labor of love, but I can’t imagine the determination an American woman must have had to wrestle the original recipes from Italian masters.

By Carol Field, Ed Anderson (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Italian Baker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The only comprehensive book, in English or Italian, to cover the entire range of Italian baking, from breadsticks and cornetti to focaccia, tarts, cakes, and pastries. This latest edition, updated for a new generation of home bakers, has added four-color photography throughout, plus new recipes, ingredients and equipment sections, source guides, and weights. 

Carol Field introduces artisanal doughs and techniques used by generations of Italian bakers. Every city and hill town has its own unique baking traditions, and Field spent more than two years traversing Italy to capture the regional and local specialties, adapting them through rigorous testing in her…

Book cover of The Art of Fine Baking

Rick Rodgers Why did I love this book?

This prim tome may not have any photos, and the author’s voice is somewhat terse, but she comes across with excellent recipes. This is the cookbook that started me on the road to professional baking, as the desserts I made for my novice dinner parties were such hits that I got stars in my eyes. It is definitely Francocentric, but that is a very good place to start if you are a beginner, and if you are an experienced cook, you can’t go wrong with her basic formulas.

By Paula Peck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Fine Baking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A complete treatise on the art of baking.

Book cover of Baking at the 20th Century Cafe: Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake

Rick Rodgers Why did I love this book?

Disclosure: The owner of this San Francisco restaurant was strongly influenced by the less familiar Austro-Hungarian recipes in my book KAFFEEHAUS. But, while my book focuses on the classic versions, Michelle takes them to new heights with seasonal produce and her fresh taste on flavors and techniques. It is worth the price of the book to get her infamous Russian honey cake recipe, the towering masterpiece that graces the cover. This book is an instant classic that every serious baker will want to own.

By Michelle Polzine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baking at the 20th Century Cafe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Transporting readers straight to the grand cafes of Europe, Baking at the 20th Century Cafe brings renewed attention to the legendary sweet and savory baking recipes of Central and Eastern Europe. Polzine, one of San Francisco's best pastry chefs, pays homage to the foundational desserts of so many cultures, while lightening and modernizing the recipes through her California lens. Her fruit desserts, nut-based desserts, and chocolate treats--many of them gluten-free--are smart, interesting, and foolproof, and deliver big flavor. Polzine's coveted honey cake recipe is included, too, along with recipes for plum kuchen, walnut hamantaschen, Sacher torte, linzer torte, poppy-filled rugelach,…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in baking, dessert, and cookies?

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