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Category ... Book Production

Baking Basics Production Phase 5

Feb 22, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

Phase 5: Selecting the Step-by-Step Photos

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It has been a long time dream to do a step-by-step baking book. Videos are great to see the action and the actual motion before embarking on a recipe but, while making the recipe, it is much more useful to have a page of photos in front of you for quick reference. Of course doing the steps presents a huge challenge of coordination both for the prep people (us), the person who does the steps having to stay motionless for hours at a time and yet have the final baked good come out perfectly (me), and for the photographer (Matthew) who humbly claimed he was only pushing the button, but this was far from the truth. Controlling the angle. the lighting, the depth of field, and many other aspects, requires a master.

For my previous books, some of the recipes, which were photographed, could be made ahead and others, at the studio, but scheduling the photograph of the finished cake, pie, cookies, or bread was straightforward.

During the step-by-step photography days, Matthew took thousands of photos. At the end of each day, he copied them onto a hard drive and later put folders of his best selections onto Dropbox as jpegs (smaller files). Each recipe had a select folder from which we were to choose what we felt reflected the process the best.

When reviewing the photos I was thrilled that Matthew's work portrayed exactly what I wanted to express, proving the concept that a photo can be worth a thousand words. On the last day of our photo sessions, Matthew handed me the hard drive with all the folders. This way we could search for any steps that we felt needed to be added that were not in his final selections.

Continue reading "Baking Basics Production Phase 5" »

Baking Basics Production Phase 4

Feb 15, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

Production Phase 4: Read-Thrus Finished

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For our previous book, The Baking Bible, we waited until our corps of Marie Wolf's Beta Bakers had tested several recipes and had given us their feedback. We then did read-thrus of each recipe. This meant that I would read the recipe out-loud to Woody, while he read the manuscript and stopped me if we needed to change the text. Amazingly, this was done on computer, over the phone, because he was still living in Minnesota. We then checked to make sure common techniques (our macros) were stated the same way in each recipe that used them for the sake of consistency. My belief, since working on The Cake Bible, is that when there is consistency is writing throughout the recipes, it becomes 'transparent' so that the reader has an easier time absorbing the information.

Because this book is so entirely different in approach from the way in which the recipes were presented in the past, our read-thru phase was done in several sessions over the period of nearly a year. An improvement with the editing of this book happened early on when Woody moved here and his computer was within several feet of me and mine.

The revision process continued throughout our step-by-step photo sessions, which inevitably led to improving several recipes. This turned out to be much more thorough and effective than trying to keep up with possible changes as a team of stylists made the recipes. So we integrated all this useful information into the manuscript. Further tweaks were still to come during our selection of the final photos. This unique refining process proved to be invaluable to the clear and informative writing of the recipes.

We were so pleased with the way the book was turning out at this point that we began to panic that if anything should happen to both of us, the editor and publisher would not have the results. We copied all the chapters up to that point onto a hard drive and labeled it so that my husband would be able to find it and know what it was. Luckily we have survived because there was a lot more tweaking and now editing and book production still to come.

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Rose's Baking Basics Production Phase 3

Feb 08, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Radio

Production Phase 3: Step-by-Step Photos

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The cakes for my first hardcover book, The Cake Bible, were all baked and styled by me and photographed by Vincent Lee. I baked the cakes and decorated them and then brought them across Houston Street from my New York 7th floor apartment to his apartment/studio in SoHo. I brought my best props, borrowed from friends, and sometimes would run over to the lower east side to search out fabric for backgrounds or counter surfaces. I even found a realistic large plastic honey comb surface at Canal Plastics which Vincent used creatively for the Honey Bee Cake by shining light through it from the bottom.

The photos for my next nine books all had a cast of professional food stylists, their assistants, a prop stylist, and photographer, all hired by the book publisher. They took place at a studio or off-site location.

For my most recent book, The Baking Bible, my dear friend, artist and baker, Caitlin Williams Freeman, offered to come from San Francisco and be the head stylist. I loved her artistry at Miette Bakery and her styling in her book--Modern Art Desserts. Woody and I also participated by baking and styling many of the recipes. In my previous books, only a few recipes, mainly for techniques, had step-by-step photography.

Since this upcoming book will be filled with step-by step photos, which is radically different from my prior books, I wanted to choose a photographer who could make the photos instructive, bring the recipes to life, be willing to make the long round trip drives from Brooklyn, and who would be as enthusiastic about the project as we are. Matthew Septimus, who did my portrait for the FIT newsletter magazine several years ago, said at the time that he hoped some day he would work with me. The day has arrived.

To have complete control of this 'keystone' phase for our book, I also decided that the photography would be done in my home's baking kitchen. This way, Woody and I would have access to all of the ideal equipment, ingredients, and four reliable ovens. We also would be able to schedule the prep for all of the recipes ahead of time, even completing some of the steps to save on time. This also served to eliminate the need to reserve a studio for the 21 planned days of photography, which spanned a period of 6 months.

I asked that we start earlier than initially scheduled, to be able to make several of the fruit based recipes with seasonally fresh local fruits. To get our feet wet and Matthew familiar with the location, we scheduled a 2-day shoot of 7 recipes, this past June. Our editor Stephanie Fletcher and Matthew's assistant Justin were both on-set for these days. Stephanie set the tone with many valuable suggestions including a request for overhead shots which work so well for the step photos.

Woody and I had previously gone through about 100 of the recipes to yellow highlight steps we wanted photographed and then discussed them with Stephanie for her advice. The baking kitchen soon looked like a photography studio with lights on tripods, a roll-down white backdrop, camera tripods, a step ladder, a computer station for Matthew and Justin to assist them with taking the shots, and for all of us to make photo selections. Matthew surprised us by giving us a 4 foot long unpolished white marble slab for the countertop. Woody and I have been struggling at times with taking photographs on my highly reflective marble countertop.

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Digital photography has the potential to offer the highest level of quality and precision. His CaptureOne computer program, allowed him to shoot and adjust his camera remotely, a great benefit considering that most of the shots were taken directly overhead, so that for most of the shots Matthew, who is over 6'4", did not have to be perched up on the 6 foot ladder, needing to lean a few feet over the countertop. This also gave him the advantage to ensure that lighting and composition were similar from one step to another for each recipe, because many times we needed to shoot another recipe in between steps, or the recipe had to be shot over two days.

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To enable me to see what he was photographing up close, as I was making various steps, Matthew linked up his IPad, which he positioned on one corner of the countertop.

In addition to our yellow highlighted proposed shots, Matthew was clicking off shots for virtually every step, sometimes, over a 100 shots per recipe from overhead, a three-quarter view, and even from shooting upwards. (He ended up with over 15000 shots!) Although our book will have many 'beauty' style-shot photographs, we also had each finished recipe 'plated' for a style-shot.

Continue reading "Rose's Baking Basics Production Phase 3 " »

Rose's Baking Basics Production Phase 2

Jan 30, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

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Production Phase 2: Recipe Testing

We have been so busy with the photography of the step-by-steps that we didn't get a chance until now to post any of the production phases. We'll try to catch up before we forget them!

Because we were revisiting some of our favorite recipes, streamlining and tweaking them to more approachable perfection, the recipe testing phase took on a different approach this time around with less need for critiques and comments from taste testers. Since the plan was to have over 500 step-by-step photos, our overall goal was how to make each recipe easy to follow with just enough text to reflect the photos accurately and also to be complete and independent of the photos. We wanted the recipe presentation to work for someone new to baking, but the great discovery is that it worked best for us as well. We now find the recipes more clear and easier to follow.

Retesting often led to exciting new techniques, solutions to possible problems, and ideas for new recipes so, as usual, the book kept growing.

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We also included a few recipes from dear friends and colleagues such as David Shamah and Lisa Yockelson who contributed her amazing chocolate biscotti. (David's contribution is so unusual it will remain a top secret until the book comes out.)

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Another aspect of testing changed as well--what to do with all the excess bake goods. No Woody's T'ai Chi studio fellow students, like the last two books. No New York doormen and apartment staff, since we moved to our country home. So Woody quickly became the most popular member of the group he joined a year ago: his weekly bridge club, not to mention the local post offices, and bank.

Next up, the exciting step-by-step photography shoots.

Baking Basics Production Phase 1

Nov 30, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

An Idea is Born

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Rose's Baking Basics Production Phase 1: An Idea is Born

Because so many of you enjoyed hearing about the publishing process of our last two books, we have decided to do it again, especially because this new book is, in so many exciting ways, different from all of my previous 10 books.

A few years ago, after completing The Baking Bible, team RoseWood was gearing up to embark on the promised wedding book when our editor Stephanie Fletcher suggested first doing a book for 'beginners.' For a few seconds I resisted, saying that beginners work just fine from all of my other books, even young people who win blue ribbons at county fairs. And as the words were half way out of my mouth I did an immediate about face as I suddenly, with lightning bolt clarity, realized the potential of what Stephanie was suggesting. So I said: If we could have step by step photos of the recipes and techniques, the book would be invaluable for both the beginner and the advanced baker. And gradually I realized that though all of my books have all the details needed for success, at first glance they are perceived as challenging--perhaps due to all the information. A photo, however, is indeed worth 1000 words and would not give that perception, especially if we changed the formatting of the text to be as concise as possible.

One of the changes we're most pleased about is that ounces are now eliminated and grams come before volume. This is because scales are now in both grams and ounces and switching between the two is easy. Also, most people have embraced the ease and reliability of weighing over measuring.

Another change that turned out to have huge impact on the complete precision of information is that Woody and I decided to do all the preparation and styling on our own for all of the recipes, in my dedicated baking kitchen. We knew that this would give us total control of the recipes, including the ability to enter every tweak and improved technique that would ensue from baking the recipes after they were tested and written up in final form. The next step was to find a first rate photographer who embraced the idea of coming to Hope, NJ for many days, over a period of several months, to achieve the agreed upon 500 plus step by step photos. Matthew Septimus was our man.

It is our goal to invite you to become part of the publishing process by briefly describing the many involved phases that bring this cookbook to fruition.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 14

Nov 29, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production


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We were very fortunate to have Davidson's Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs and our publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sponsor this virtual media tour. The Satellite Media Tour, aka SMT, went out to 11 cities and each appearance was under 5 minutes long.

The advantage of an SMT is to have an author be on several television shows without having to travel to each city. Instead, from a studio in Manhattan, within a span of 3 hours, via satellite hook up, I talked to individual television shows from Atlanta, Georgia to San Diego, California. All of these cities were ones that were not on our actual tour schedule, so this gave the television hosts the opportunity to talk to me for the benefit of their audiences.

Woody and I both prepped all the recipes a few days ahead and then transported them to Wellesley MA on the first leg of the tour and on to New York City the following day to have everything ready for the morning of the SMT. Woody did a great job as food stylist and Erin Schwitter, of Artisan Production House, made everything run super smoothly in her beautiful new studio.

Here's a close up of the "Mud Turtle Pie:"

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To see the podcast, click on this link:

SMT

The Baking Bible E-Book

Oct 12, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

This week the first rendition of the Baking Bible e-book arrived for download on my Ipad.

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Woody and I immediately set to, flipping through the hard copy and scanning each page of the e-book to make sure there were no errors in electronic transition. Essentially, it's just the formatting that is different. To our delight, we discovered that in recent years technology has improved by leaps and bounds. The e-book very much looks like the hard copy. And although I wouldn't trade the pleasure of leafing through the actual book itself, touching the thick and satiny pages (it even smells good), I have to admit that the e-book is an excellent adjunct.

I enjoy using the Ipad when I bake because it doesn't risk getting butter, chocolate, or the like on the beautiful book pages. Of course searching through the book is a breeze. And I love that the index, instead of having page numbers, has direct links to each entry, and that there is an option to return to the page you were previously looking at. It's also great to be able to change the font size, even the style, and the brightness depending on the light.

I've been exploring all the various things the e-book can do and discovered how easy it is to highlight or make notes and then to find them when one needs them.

One of the features of an e-book dearest to my heart it that the author doesn't have to wait for the "next printing" to make modifications, changes or additions, in fact, better still, they are automatically downloaded onto the device.

If you are thinking of getting this e-book, I encourage you to get it now, before the publication date of October 28, as Amazon is offering it at half price. It will be delivered to your electronic device on the pub date!

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Note
: you don't need a Kindle to download a Kindle e-book to your Ipad. Just download the free Kindle App available un the App store on your Ipad.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 12

Mar 29, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

Proofing the First Pass

This phase of production began with the arrival of the laid out pages which represent the final design complete with photos. Unfortunately, due to extreme weather conditions, UPS was unable to navigate the icy mountain roads but that didn't stop Woody and me from chasing the driver down to the nearest large town. We lost no time in beginning the proofing process, checking the copy edited pages against the laid out pages to ensure that all the changes were implemented.

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The inputting was excellent but upon seeing the clean copy, things that required finer tuning virtually leapt off the pages. For example, on the charts, when an ingredient weighed 29 grams followed by one that weighed 28 grams it looked odd that both were 1 ounce. This is the result of the higher exactitude of the metric system and need for rounding off ounces, as much as possible, to the nearest whole number. We decided to have the grams for both ingredients read the same so it wouldn't look odd or like a mistake. This wouldn't make any difference for most ingredients, but when it comes to minute ingredients such as yeast or baking powder it would make a great difference. Of course any change affects the entire rest of the 500 plus unwieldy legal-size pages. This took many hours and days.

We worked from sun up to sun down, enjoying beautiful sunsets as our reward.
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We were overjoyed to discover, now that the pages were laid out, that there was room to put back some of the recipes that we thought had to be cut. One of them, we felt, needed a retest. Here's a photo of Woody, digging through two feet of snow to get to the silicone pan we needed for the test, that was buried in the little storage house nearby.

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Another reward was this fabulous 10 layer lasagna, recipe compliments of Hector Wong. It took us 6 hours from start to finish, layering almost transparent thin home-made noodles, and two sauces, cheeses, and miniature sausage balls which were Elliott's request, but it gave us a much needed break.

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Continue reading "Baking Bible Book Production Phase 12" »

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 11

Mar 08, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

The Blad

Another very exciting moment in book production is the arrival of the Blad. Blad stands for basic layout and design and is intended to be sent to food and other publications with long lead time for review (ie the blad usually becomes available 6 to 8 months ahead of book publication). A blad can be considered a trailer similar to a movie trailer to create interest and offer a short preview of the contents.

I'd like to share with you this sneak preview of the front and back cover and two of the ten inside pages.

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Baking Bible Book Production Phase 9, Part 2

Jan 04, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

It was dramatic to experience watching a recipe being staged, and preliminary shots taken, which led to a group discussion on how to make the recipe one you would want to eat off the page, and then how to tweak it to fit that image. What became a lively challenge after the first day, was when we all started giving opinions for what should become the cover shot for the book. Woody and I already had our selections from our testing and discussions, but each day offered a new star for the prestigious position.

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Continue reading "Baking Bible Book Production Phase 9, Part 2" »

Baking Bible Book Production Phases 8 & 9, Part 1 of 2

Dec 28, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

The most intense and one of the most critical phases of book publishing is copy editing and this is the first time that it was done on line instead of on hardcopy. My feeling is that this is a better method because it eliminates the inevitability of mis-reading and thereby mis-inputting some of the myriad handwritten queries and responses. But it certainly wasn't easy following all the lines of notes that emanated from the side bar to the text not to mention revisiting what the original thinking had been. Both the editor, Stephanie Fletcher, and the copy editor, Deborah Weiss Geline, were meticulously detailed in their queries and suggestions and Woody and I spent many weeks discussing and going over all of them via telephone. We finished well before the most fun and most stressful Phase 9: Photography!

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The photography phase of my books is always one of the most enjoyable parts of production, as it makes the book come alive. But it is a time of anxiety as well as I am putting my tested creations into the hands of a stylist to recreate my vision and then have it portrayed through the photographer's camera lens. And there is always the incredible pressure of having to produce a large number of stunning photos in an environment outside of my own kitchen in an extremely short amount of time.

Preparing and styling over 150 recipes for this book within a three-week period would be virtually impossible without a team of talented professionals. I had the great fortune to put the difficult task of organizing and performing the styling into the hands of my dearest friend Caitlin Freeman Williams, author of "Modern Art Desserts." Although not a stylist by trade, her baking skills honed by her prior ownership days at Miette Bakery, her artistic imagination, skill, and integrity, extraordinary organizational ability, and her present occupation designing delicious bakery items for her husband's Blue Bottle Coffee shops, assured me that I could rely on her completely to reproduce my visions.

For her advance preparation which took place the week before, Caitlin was assisted by Jason Schreiber, formerly of Martha Stewart Living, and Ron Ben Israel Cakes.
The coordination of all of this was staggering, in fact, when Caitlin went to a copy center to print out the manuscript she was horrified by the size and then discovered that it represented only half the recipes--the rest was still in the machine to be printed! She called our editor, Stephanie Fletcher who assured her that she would have all the necessary support to accomplish the styling. This resulted in two baking teams for the photography site. The first team included Erin McDowell, formerly a baking instructor at the CIA, was brought in to be Caitlin's assistant for baking and styling. The second team consisted of my invaluable assistant Woody Wolston, who had made every recipe numerous times during the testing and development phase and who had just moved from Minnesota to nearby Pennsylvania and, of course, me. Woody and I broke in my new baker's kitchen by over a week of baking 27 cookie recipes, several cakes, and breads.

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No time even for combing hair--we worked from 8 in the morning til 7 at night.

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When our prep was completed and safely packed away, Woody went on to pack the enormous quantity of equipment needed to produce the remaining cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, pastry, and bread!

Continue reading "Baking Bible Book Production Phases 8 & 9, Part 1 of 2" »

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 7

Mar 13, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

3-13-13 What an auspicious day to hand in The Baking Bible on disc to the new publisher, Houghton Mifflin!

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Now the might wheels of the publishing process will start spinning to turn this into a book. We are all hugely excited about it and I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 6

Feb 22, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements


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We Finished the Manuscript! (242,141 words, 1,118 pages)

After spending several days revising the entire order of the ingredient and equipment chapters, I reformatted the entire manuscript with the spacing and font required by the publisher.

The manuscript is now ready to be transferred to a disc to submit on March 13.

Woody is working on the style sheet to give to the copy editor. And soon production officially will begin in our new home, Houghton Mifflin. The Baking Bible is on its way to becoming a book.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 7

Feb 22, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

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extras to copy editor:

macro listing: frequently used techniques with a basic language and some variables to add
outlines of headings for equipment and ingredient sections
spreadsheets for all references to other pages (page 00) for all chapters
templates for each baking chapter of their particular format
glossary of words and terms to use and those not to use

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 5

Feb 17, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

And I thought it was almost done!!! Woody and I finished proofing what turned out to be around 8,000 numbers for volume, ml, ounces, and grams, and integrating all the new Beta Baker notes. As we had already competed the read through, with me reading aloud over the phone and Woody checking the manuscript, I thought it was in really good shape but decided that I really should read it again to myself.

To my surprise, I turned up new changes such as eliminating the "into the glass bowl" which appeared many many times and unnecessarily each one! As the instructions begin with "Have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a glass bowl," when I wrote "press the mixture through the strainer" there really was no need to repeat "into the glass bowl" as no one would strain it over the counter or floor!

Then there is the question of the use of the comma, for example, Have ready a 2 cup microwavable measure with a spout lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. As I reread that I realized that it could mean that the spout is lightly coated rather than the inside of the cup unless I put a comma after spout.

So far, I have found only one incident of ingredients not used in the order in which they were listed in the chart but my philosophy of "if there's one there's more" means Woody and I have to read each chart and compare it to the text to check for order.

Of course the copy editor and wonderful proofers will do all this but as I've discovered, this being my 10th cookbook, the eye so often sees what the brain thinks should be there rather than what actually is there. So once more into the breech dear friends. The cleaner the manuscript is when turned in to the publisher (29 days from today), the better the chance for a near perfect production.

It's such a blessing having a second pair of eyes participating in this process. Woody is king of the excel spread sheet and has created one for each of about 200 cross references so that when the manuscript goes into pages, we will know exactly what and where we are referencing. Here is Woody's break down of the seven stages of our work so far:

Besides a few to several draftings of each recipe, we have found it necessary to do a:
read through: I read each recipe over the phone to Woody while he read the text on his computer screen.
macros checks: we confirmed that if we wrote a certain technique for one recipe, ex: "melting chocolate" that it was the same for all recipes using the same technique.
global changes: since my use of words has changed over the course of many books, we standarized a set of words and terms.
page 00 charting: we refer the reader to see another page for a description or technique, which in the manuscript phase can be only stated as page"00." We checked to make sure the reference existed and noted where in the manuscript it could be found.
each ingredient checked: we confirmed that if we wrote, " 1 cup of bleached cake flour weighs 3.5 ounces/100 grams on page 4, that it was consistent throughout the rest of the recipes on other pages.
ingredients on the chart matched to the recipe's body: we made sure that every ingredient in the chart is also in the recipe's body in the order in which it was listed on the chart.
final read through: another read through with a fresh set of eyes and ears to confirm that everything made sense.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 4

Jan 23, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

This is the tears in the eyes moment in book production when the individual recipe documents are merged together in chapters to form a book.

One by one I inserted each document into a master document with Woody on the phone double checking that we were choosing the most up-to-date version.

Finally, with all in place, we counted 133 recipes and about 700 pages of single spaced text with double spacing between paragraphs which will help to shrink it a bit when formatted in the final version. This is going to be a big book, but then, the publisher, Natalie Chapman, encouraged and inspired me to write a "baking bible"!

The next step is for Woody and me to integrate all the global changes that came up during proof reading, one at a time as it is far too risky to do a global change throughout the whole document--there are always exceptions to the rule. This will take about a week.

Then we will go through each recipe chart and recipe to triple check all the numbers: the volume, ounces and grams. This will take at least two weeks.

Finally we will integrate notes from the Beta Bakers who are testing about 10 more recipes. And I will be delivering the disc to the publisher on March 11 when major production will begin.

Woody and I have been discussing the cover. In a recent conversation I posed the question of what could exemplify baking best as no one thing such as a cake, pie, cookie, pastry or bread tells the whole story, and a collage of them lacks impact. Woody came up with the following shocking response: "There is only one thing that exemplifies all of baking." My response: "What could that possibly be?" Woody's answer:"You!"

Your vote is welcome!

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 3

Jan 05, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

It's been six months since I last posted about book production. I had forgotten all about it because I was that busy doing it!

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Since the last posting, there are now 130 recipes all of which have been tested many times by both Woody and me. Marie Wolf is once again masterminding the group, formerly called the Heavenly Bakers, and now called the Beta Bakers (Marie's clever name). They have completed the 25 recipes that we've sent for testing, evaluating, and fine tuning. It is always a thrill to see each rendition and read each report.

Woody and I have finished with the read through. This is the first time I am doing it but I realized that it is desirable to read the entire text out loud in order to hit on a compromise between the written and spoken word. Along the way we've discovered enumerable inconsistencies and some errors that normally a copy editor would find but no copy editor could possibly find all of them in this complex a book so this gives us a real head start on the road to perfection. The greatest challenge is having four major subject matters to unify: cakes, pies and pastry, cookies, and bread. They are all related on some levels but each has it's own distinctive language and we are always striving for more clarity to make it easier for others to follow.

The next phase is integrating all the notes from the beta bakers. Then all the separate documents have to be compiled carefully into the separate chapters as single documents. Then comes the massive global changes that have to be made one-at-a-time as there are so many exceptions to the rules.

Only five months remain until the entire manuscript is due at the publishers, including all what is known as the front material (table of contents, sources, ingredients, equipment, and chapter openers). We have also completed all of these but it will be necessary to fact check all the sources. Then starts the massive production of editing, copyediting, photography, design and layout, and proof editing until finally, around June of 2015, the book goes to press. Whew! But we're not there yet.

Woody and I are hugely excited about the new recipes, both visually and gustatorially and we can't wait to share them all with all of you and to make them again, ourselves, this time just for the pure pleasure of it.

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 2

Jun 09, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

I have finished my final testing of all the recipes which number 127, and Woody has about 43 he has not yet tried. Many of the recipes he will test several times in an effort to ensure that we have chosen the best possible option or variation. Each recipe he tests gives us the opportunity to fine-tune the writing and often the technique as well. I will miss the testing phase but will be remaking many of the recipes just for the shear pleasure of enjoying them again and sharing them with friends and family.

I'm now embarking on one of my favorite parts of book production: writing the headnotes. Once this is done comes the chapter intros, special techniques, equipment, and ingredients sections. This will probably take the entire summer at the end of which point we will be getting ready to engage the "heavenly bakers" to try out many of the recipes.

The most interesting thing I now have to report now is a major change in the entire writing process that has caused me to see the manuscript in an entirely new light.

Continue reading "Baking Bible Book Production Phase 2" »

Baking Bible Book Production Phase 1

Feb 25, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production


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.

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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!

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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!


Post Book Production Phase One!

Aug 09, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

This was my first visit to my publisher, Wiley, in Hoboken, NJ since the book arrived.

Pam (my editor), her assistant, and Ava (production manager) and I had lunch at Zafra www.zafrakitchens.com a wonderful Cuban/Latino restaurant owned by my friend and fellow author Maricel Priscilla.

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Pam and Ava

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Pam's lovely assistant and I

Continue reading "Post Book Production Phase One!" »

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