Baker to Baker

A book, a hotline and a website for beginner bakers

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A showstopping dessert or a loaf of freshly baked bread offers a chance at redemption, no matter how badly you screw up a homemade meal. So get out the flour:

THE BOOK: Beginning bakers need a bible, and our favorite is The Fannie Farmer Baking Book ($25), the classic from the late Marion Cunningham, some 800 recipes strong. In it are recipes for everything from gingersnaps to biscuits to banana bread; in short, everything you'd ever want to bake. Buy a copy, then invite your friends over for coconut or fudge layer cake.

THE HOTLINE: Though Fannie Farmer boasts loads of step-by-step instructions, you may still need a baker's helping hand. King Arthur Flour, that peerless purveyor of baking supplies, has an indispensable hotline. If you're stymied by streusel or perplexed by pie crust, live professional bakers are standing by at the company's Vermont headquarters to take your call (we're here to help, too).

THE WEBSITE: Rose Levy Beranbaum, baking genius and author of the unparalleled The Cake Bible, has a robust website loaded with recipes, cooking and baking tips, videos and a baking forum where home cooks can swap ideas and share successes.