As soon as I read that Menno, the winner of ‘Heel Holland Bakt 2014’ would be creating a book with his best baking recipes, I just knew I needed this book in my life. ‘Heel Holland Bakt’ is the Dutch equivalent of ‘The Great British Bakeoff’ where bakers from around the country battle against each other with the most wonderful baked goods. I have been watching every episode in awe, seeing the most amazing breads, cakes, cookies, desserts and even pizza’s. Menno was definetely one of my favorite bakers from the first episode: he had the knowledge, was creative in the given challenges and made delicious things with a no-nonsense attitude. Almost all of his creations turned out so well, it was no surprise to me that he won the 2014 series. And having the opportunity to bake his recipes at home makes me all exited for his book!
The book has a unique styling for a cookbook, in a way that is has a lot of American comic book style illustrations and tattoo like illustrations. There is a lot more American inspiration in the book: there is even a whole chapter devoted to American recipes. The other chapters include cupcakes, vegan recipes (a very nice chapter, the recipes don’t look extremely healthy or anything) and guilty pleasures (Halleluja, need I say more?). Of course there are also Menno’s succes recipes from the ‘Heel Holland Bakt’ show, like the Haagse Kakker and the American cake. Every recipe has a beautiful page filling photo of the end result and some of the more complicated recipes are accompanied by smaller photos to guide you through the process.
The recipes are written in a clear way, giving you all the directions you need. The ingredients are listed in a column on the side. When there are many ingredients and the recipe needs multiple pages, the ingredients are also divided over multiple pages. This is the only thing I dislike about the lay-out, because I’d rather have a list where you can see what you need on one page. I have a feeling I might miss an ingredient if the list is divided over the pages.
Most of the recipes are suited for the average home baker, but especially some of the cakes require more skills. There are a lot of components that are made with different techniques. Personally, I love this kind of recipes, because I like to learn all of the techniques and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I can get all of those elements together in one cake. But I can also imagine that it might scare other bakers, because of all the work and required skills. On the other hand is there a logo that points out which recipes are easy, so you can just choose what suits you!
There are also a few savory recipes in the book, like pretzels and burgers. But the main part is sweet. I personally find a lot of the recipes quite original, either in the used ingredients, presentation, or the whole concept. For example the coca cola cake or avocado scones. The most surprising recipe for me are the dog cookies. I would never expected to find that in the book. There are also classics, like oatmeal cookies and red velvet cake. So a very varied and inspiring book!
I have a long list of things I want to from ‘Bakken met Menno’ now: Chocolate peanutbutter cake, chocolate avocado cake, pink cupcakes, pretzels and so much more! I really recommend this book is you are looking for original recipes that are described in a no-nonsense way. And if you liked Menno in ‘Heel Holland Bakt’ you will probably like this book as much as I do.
You can get the book at the larger book stores or online, for example at bol.com where I ordered it.