Reader: Baking bread takes as much talent as making a perfect sauce
That no-baking chef business gets a rise out of Mantonat:
I've never really understood the attitude that most chefs/cooks (professional or otherwise) have toward baking, other than it's just something out of their comfort zone. I don't think there's anything less exacting or precise about making a perfect hollandaise, vinaigrette, or bbq sauce than there is about cookies or bread. Once you master the techniques and ratios, you don't really need recipes and you can invent new things from the basic ingredients. Check out the book Ratios by Michael Ruhlman (he also has iPhone/iPad apps) for some great kitchen tips for learning a few basic ratios (cooking as well as baking). Then you can impress your friends by making pie crust from scratch, or tweak that ginger snap recipe above to go with other beers you love. Nice combo on the beer and cookie flavors, by the way.
Should real chefs bake bread? Post your thoughts -- and your favorite baking tips -- below.