Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Write a Recipe for the Internet and Ebooks

From 2008 to the present time I have been the Bread Baking Guide / Expert on About.com. When I first got the job to write about bread baking, I had no idea about how to write a recipe. It was only by following About's guidelines and studying other recipe books that I learned the best way to write recipes so that the beginner can understand it and the steps involved.

Recipe Title


Each recipe needs a title so that the reader can readily identify it. In paper books, recipe names can get crazy, such as Aunt Mildred's Slop. However, when creating recipes for the internet and for ebooks, you will want the title to describe the recipes, such as Sour Cream and Chive White Bread. You do this because you will want your recipe to show up in a search for "chive bread recipe" or "using sour cream in bread recipe".

Introduction


Whether you are writing your recipe for the web or for an ebook, you will want to introduce your recipe. In a sentence or an entire paragraph, tell readers what is special about this recipe. Is it easy enough for beginners? Is it a recipe for special occasions? Does it use the freshest ingredients while they are in season or is it a recipe that uses prepackaged ingredients to make it simpler for busy moms?

Yield


If you are writing a muffin recipe, tell the reader how many muffins the recipe makes. A bread recipe requires you to tell how many loaves the recipe makes and what size, such as "makes 3 small, round loaves". With other dishes, you provide the reader with how many servings the recipe yields. For example, a soup recipe might yield 6 servings (enough for 6 people). If you are unsure as to how to write up the yield for your recipe, study published recipe books and see how they present the yield for dishes similar to your own.

Time


There are two times you will want to mention in most of your recipes: preparation time and cooking/baking time.

Preparation time is the time it takes you to prepare the item to be cooked or baked. If there is no cooking time, such as with salads, the preparation time is the time it takes you to make the entire item.

Cooking or baking time is the amount of time it takes to cook or bake the item. If the item is not cooked or baked, you can skip this time.

Tools


I don't list the tools needed on my bread baking site because I include that information in my instructions. However, if you are writing recipes that need special tools, such as candy recipes, you may want to include a section that lists what is needed to make the recipe.

Ingredients


Writing a thorough ingredient list is the most tedious part of writing out a recipe. First, you will need to remain consistent when writing all your recipes.


  • Use proper measurement abbreviations: lb, qt, cup, Tbsp, tsp, oz, etc.
  • If your recipe calls for eggs, list what size egg is used.
  • List the kind of sugar needed: granulated, powdered, brown, ect.
  • Provide alternative ingredients. For example, "2 Tbsp soft margarine, butter, or lard".
  • List the ingredients in order of use.


Directions


The directions are where you put the bulk of your information. Things to remember are:


  • Include preheating temperature if baking.
  • Include tools that are being used: wooden spoon, medium bowl, small saucepan, etc.
  • Name each ingredient as it is added.
  • Make the instructions step by step so that even a beginner can follow through the recipe with success.


Put Together


When your recipe is finally put together, it will look like this:

Recipe Name

This is recipe name. It is an easy recipe you can make for family dinner on every blue moon that falls on a Thursday.

Yield: 4 servings.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Tools:
This is where I would list any special tools needed to make the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 cup this
1/2 cup finely chopped that
2 Tbsp soft stuff
1/2 tsp mush

Instructions:
1. Place this in a medium saucepan.
2. Add that and stir.
3. Add stuff and mush. Mix.
4. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes until that is cooked soft.
5. Remove from heat and serve while hot.

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