Baking Bible Book Production Phase 1
It starts again, but this time the process will be very different from the last book--Rose's Heavenly Cakes. For one thing, instead of having my wonderful "Heavenly Bakers" bake from the book after publication, they will be getting many of the recipes to try before publication. This will serve as the ideal way to tweak anything necessary and make the book ever more universally friendly. Also, with technology changing by leaps and bounds there will surely be the possibility of an eBook or Ap and more dynamic visualization of techniques. So much is now possible it creates a tremendous challenge and opportunity for communication.
This book presents a new challenge as it includes 4 major baking subjects (cake, pie and pastry, cookies, and bread). Consistency is very important to make a cookbook easier to use so we have created many macros for each subject. And recently I remembered the great auto text tool, which means that when typing one or two key words the computer fills in the rest. All this is very useful but also potentially dangerous due to the many exceptions to the rule presented by the uniqueness of the recipes!
One area of standardization that is essential and without exceptions, however, is consistency of weights for key ingredients. About a month ago I decided to revisit the weight values for all the basic ingredients I use and made up 18 pages of charts. I've been finding that it's easier to look at them in hard copy than on the computer but leafing through the 18 pages was slowing me down. As I moved most of my cookbooks to Hope I had a big empty wall in my New York office and I was wondering what to put on it. One day inspiration struck: I put up all the pages of weights. Some I can see just leaning over to the right of the computer but for others I'm forced to get up out of my seat and this is an added benefit as I tend to sit for far too many hours every day and night working on the recipe editing not to mention on this blog. Of course I could use my binoculars!
By the way, if anyone knows of an Ap that enables one to put in values in a chart and have them list automatically, I sure would love to know about it. The way it should work is that after inputting the values one time, when I type water and in the next cell type the volume, it should automatically put in the fluid ounces and then the ounces and grams in the appropriate cells.
Speaking of technology, recently my husband Elliott gave me a phenomenal gift. It's called Logitech Vid and it's a free AP for the computer. It enables one to make a phone call, free of charge, and see the other person on the computer screen at the same time as hearing them. Of course one needs a camera either as part of the computer or purchased separately. It didn't take me long to discover that instead of waiting for an email to see a still shot of Woody's latest recipe test he can simply hold it up while talking to me on Vid and I can see it in motion if necessary!
The book contract was signed on 11-11-11 but we have been working actively on recipe testing even before finishing RHC. Since I tend toward inspirational baking, there were many recipes I tested with notes all over them that were not finalized or formatted. It's much harder to revisit recipes months or sometimes years after making them so Woody has been encouraging me to put the recipes in at least semi-final shape before flying off to execute the next idea. It's hard to stop, especially once one starts making a recipe and it needs tweaking. I rarely can resist making it immediately again and often again and again.
The added benefit of having the recipes formatted and in close to final shape is that when we retest them we can add smaller valuable details that often get lost in the larger picture.
The amount of sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and chocolate that we go through is staggering. The results are thrilling. The delivery date of this book's manuscript is June 2013. Then starts production with the rest of the team. I'll be posting production phases all along as interesting activities arise. Stay tuned!