I like professional baking cookbooks (I have to tell you that there are two books that I use all the time Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft by Culinary Institute of America and The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry by Bo Friberg ,the other one from Bo Friberg The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef I rarely use it but I bought it because I like his fundamental books very much. For the book About Professional baking by Gail Sokol I read about it from from the review in the amazon so I bought it and I never try anything from the book until now but the book have a lot of good information too) , they are different from the TV chefs’ or food writers’ books, they have a lot of information that one need to know to be a pastry chef or working in commercial kitchen. For me reading them help broaden my knowledge about many things, they have plenty of recipes some of them you won’t find in other books, like making mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese, sweetened condensed milk, fondant and many pastry kitchen’s basics (I know you may not try making them at home but it’s good to know, right ?). And most of the instructions are clear, the recipe are reliable. Not that I’m so serious but it feel like having some reliable friend (or teacher), sometime when I get new recipe, I will read some instruction from these book to make sure that I won’t fail.
But they have some weak points too, the recipes always come in large scale size and look like a formula , so for using them I have to scale down the recipe and recalculate that sometime I make a mistake and the result is not good enough (except for The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry by Bo Friberg, that have a small scale in some recipes and it’s different from other books that he always have some story to tell about the recipes, I like his style). The pictures of the finished products are less, they don’t give an inspiration and most of all they are heavy. But they are my trustworthy friends, and I really love them.