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Cooking Baking

Anna Olson's Baking Wisdom

The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker (with 150+ Recipes)

by (author) Anna Olson

Random House Canada
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Baking, Canadian, Individual Chefs & Restaurants
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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The Globe and Mail #1 bestselling cookbook! Give the gift of good baking with the baking bible every baker needs to own—from Canada’s most celebrated baker.
"Canada’s dessert doyenne’s much-anticipated opus on flour, sugar, butter and eggs is out now – 450 pages covering everything you could possibly want to know about baking"—The Globe and Mail

Inside Baking Wisdom lies the answer to every baking question you’ve ever had (and many you haven’t yet), plus over 150 perfected recipes—both savoury and sweet—for bakers of all skill levels. Get inside Anna Olson’s baking brain, as she shares a career’s worth of experience to build a true masterclass in baking. In this incredible baking compendium, you will learn the hows and whys of baking through her flawless techniques, patient advice and literally hundreds of photos. This is an all-encompassing guide, guaranteed to make you a better baker. With recipe including:


Within each chapter, Anna’s triple-tested recipes are grouped together by commonly shared technique or principle, so you can see how one foundation recipe can be built upon to create many more complex creations. In every one of her perfected recipes, Anna leads the way with notes of baking wisdom directly included in each recipe’s method. And she does this all with one goal in mind: to help you achieve the very best baking results every time.

Baking Wisdom is a must-have collection of baking recipes, techniques and advice, and is Anna’s most comprehensive cookbook yet.

About the author

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Anna Olson moved to Ontario as a child and grew up in Toronto. She studied politics and sociology at Queen's University in Kingston and pursued a brief career in banking before realizing that cooking was her true passion. Anna followed her dream of becoming a chef by enrolling in the renowned culinary program at Johnson & Wales University in Vail, Colorado. She has never looked back. After finishing her studies in 1995, Anna found her way to Niagara. She started working as a line cook at distinguished restaurant Inn on the Twenty, where she was soon promoted to pastry chef. It was here that she met her husband and business partner, head chef Michael Olson. Anna joined the Food Network in 2002 as the host of Sugar. The show's success prompted two companion cookbooks, Sugar and Another Cup Of Sugar. In 2008, Anna’s second series premiered, Fresh with Anna Olson, which was filmed in her own kitchen. The show currently airs daily on Food Network Canada. In 2011, Anna published her seventh cookbook, Back to Baking.

Anna Olson's profile page

Excerpt: Anna Olson's Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker (with 150+ Recipes) (by (author) Anna Olson)


Baking could easily be assumed to be simple. After all, with a recipe in hand, you have a list of ingredients and their measurements followed by step-by-step instructions. What else could you possibly need for a successful bake? And yet we’ve all eaten a dessert or pastry that didn’t look or taste as we expected.

That's because baking isn’t just following instructions; it’s a journey and an exploration. Every recipe has a learning curve, even if you’ve made it repeatedly over the years. At first you might find yourself saying, for example, “Now I know I have to let my melted chocolate cool a little before adding it to my brownie batter, to prevent it from splitting”; or “The next time I make choux paste, I will make sure I let the hot batter cool for a minute longer before I add the eggs.” It’s not that you’re changing the recipe, it’s that you’re beginning to understand the details needed to get a perfectly delicious and delightful-looking baked good. Those moments of comprehension and bits of knowledge, gained through repeated baking, are what I call “baking wisdom” and they enhance your baking and empower you as a baker.

I’ve created this book to pass along the baking wisdom I have acquired over the years through education, experience, repetition, research, your questions and a whole mess of mistakes in the kitchen. (I never regret a baking failure; I embrace it as an opportunity to get to know my ingredients and methods better so that I can manage and fix future problems.)

Whether this is your very first baking cookbook or you’re a seasoned baker with baking wisdom of your own, I am confident you will find something worth exploring here. I am constantly learning, and while I’m thrilled to be sharing the knowledge I have at this moment, I will continue to challenge myself, listen to the wisdom of others and try new things.

I hope you’ll take some time to read the information that precedes the recipes. There I share lots of insight about ingredients, methods and baking in general, not just about the recipes in this book. I discuss how protein, fat, starch, sugar, acidity and salt work in baking, so you’ll have a better understanding of why ingredients behave the way they do. Each recipe references these sections and others from the front of the book. Listed as Bites of Wisdom, they highlight further reading that specifically applies to each recipe to enhance your understanding of the process before you bake.

I have also included tips within the recipe methods to answer questions you may have while carrying out each step. My hope is that these will spark a few “aha” moments, or at least prevent disasters.

Each chapter in Baking Wisdom is centred on a type of baking. The recipes within each chapter are grouped by commonly shared technique or principle, and in some cases you’ll see how a foundation recipe can be added to and changed for different uses.

For each recipe, I’ve listed the preparation time, which begins after your ingredients are prepped and measured, unless otherwise noted, and the cook time, which includes time on the stovetop and in the oven.

The complexity of each recipe is identified as Simple, More Involved or Complex to give you an idea about the time and tools needed. These tags indicate which recipes involve many steps, with cooling or chilling in between, and which ones can be mixed, baked and eaten in a hurry. Know that Simple recipes can be made by experienced bakers and Complex ones by new bakers.

Bonus Bakes throughout the book are variations on the recipe they accompany. Use them to get adventurous, change your flavours and find new ways to apply what you’ve just learned.

My hope is that you’ll use the baking wisdom I’ve shared plus your own discoveries to dive into these recipes with more confidence and take even more pleasure in your baking. Then you can pass along your own baking wisdom to others.

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