taste them in every single bite.
Beranbaum, whose light, lilting voice
shines with delight, finds inspiration
everywhere. She dedicates the recipe for
her Renée Fleming Golden Chiffon cake
on page 86 of The Baking Bible “to my
favorite soprano of the golden voice.” But
creating a recipe worthy of that association required 17 tests before she and her
longtime collaborator, Woody Wolston,
achieved what they considered the perfect texture for the moist, lemony—“in a
word: divine”—sponge cake.
But while the science of baking in-
trigues her, it’s the emotion behind every
dessert that keeps her going. “They call
it a hearth for a reason,” she notes. “An
oven is the beating heart of the kitchen.”
Beranbaum is that rarest of crossover
artists: adored by her followers and re-
vered by fellow food professionals. Her
website, realbaking withrose.com, gets
1 million unique visitors a year. Bakers of
all abilities flock to her roughly 160 free
instructional videos on You Tube.
Meanwhile, praise from her peers
pours in from both the sweet and the
savory sides of the kitchen. “I’ve always
admired Rose’s tireless research and attention to detail,” says noted pastry chef
and cookbook author Claudia Fleming.
“She has helped move the baking world
forward with her innovative techniques
and mouthwatering recipes.”
Dan Barber, the renowned Blue Hill
chef and sustainability advocate, tells
of receiving a recent e-mail. “Rose,” he
says, “forwarded me some research she
had done about the effects of GMO vs.
non-GMO cornstarch on a genoise recipe.
Apparently, there's a difference, and it's
not a slight one. It struck me how characteristic that e-mail was—how perfectly
it illustrated her tireless curiosity, even
about ingredients as humble and overlooked as cornstarch. It’s fair to say that
Rose has already created the world’s most
authoritative baking cookbooks, and yet
she continues to interrogate her tools,
and her ingredients.”
BERANBAUM IS 70, AND HAPPY to admit
it. “I think it’s important for a woman to
be fearless about telling her age,” she says.
She attributes her youthful looks partly to
genes (“My grandmother died at 99-plus,
and she looked 20 years younger.”) and
partly to “staying physically active.” As
this issue went to press, she embarked
on an extended book tour, with stops on
November 22 at the Barnes & Noble in
Bridgewater, December 6 at Chef Central
in Paramus and December 10 at the Miele
Center in Princeton.
Downtime, it seems, is for others. “Some-
body has to set the standard,” she says.
This exacting baker has precision in
her genes. Her mother was a dentist. Beranbaum used to use a dental tool to make
spun sugar until she decided that a whisk
with its rounded end cut off worked
better. Her mother's tool still sits on a
shelf behind the work counter. Beran-baum's father, a fine woodworker, made
his wife a glass-front cabinet to hold her
instruments. Now mounted on the wall
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