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A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan; 1st edition (November 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579652107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579652104
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A breathtaking collection of stories and 60 recipes...her impeccably written recipes ensure success. -- Fine Cooking Magazine

Glezer’s book shows the remarkable variety of the Jewish table throughout the world... -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It is reassuring to find as accomplished and authoritative a collection as this one. -- The New York Times

This is a must for the devoted bread baker. -- Cookbook Digest

Book Description

This multifaceted guide to Jewish baking harbors a wealth of recipes for challahs from around the world, as well as for babkas and honey cakes, bagels and matzot, crackers and everyday breads such as deli rye. Working with bakers from Guatemala to Russia, Maggie Glezer perfected these recipes, many of which had never been written down. Recollections from Jewish grandmothers and great-grandmothers all over the world remind us of life as it once was, and riveting oral histories, ancient legends, shtetl folktales, aphorisms, and proverbs throughout will delight and inspire the baker in us all.

There is a special urgency to record, learn, and pass on culinary history if we are to preserve our traditional foods and customs. How fortunate that Maggie Glezer has taken the challenge.

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Customer Reviews

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The book more than met my expectations and every recipe I have tried turns out really good.
Avid Reader
What makes this book great is that the history of the recipes is included and and there are unique stories about the recipe contributors.
Lynne Richards
Blessing of Bread" by Maggie Glezer is a book that should be in the collection of bakers who seriously study the craft.
Postal Grunt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on October 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The author is a certified, award winning baker who knows that there is more than one way to braid a challah. Included in this book of oral histories, historical notes, and bread related anecdotes and folk stories, are the best discussions I have read of Jewish bread and challah histories, as well as fascinating recipes. It is manna min shama-yim.

The book opens with an intro on challah and bread, and an indexed listing of recipes by type of bread (including holiday breads, 6-hour or less breads, crusty breads, flavorful breads, etc.) This is followed by a chapter on the Genesis of Challah; and a Primer on bread preparation (fermenting, punching, kneading, dividing, proofing, glazing, etc.) There is even a chapter just for a mixed multitude of challah braids and shapes with step by step braiding photos, including instructions for a hand challah, a shlissel (key) challah, a string of pearls challah, and a ladder challah also. There are then chapters for bread recipes of the Ashkenazi, Sephardi, North African, Near Eastern, and New Tradition Jewish people.

Among the best recipes are ones for -- Ashkenazi: Czernowitzer Challah, Guatamalen Challah (with cardamon), Russian Challah, a ring challah, a Lithuanian Challah (no eggs, low sugar), bagels, a babka, rye bread, Lekach honey cake, and Hungarian Makos; Sephardic: Churak of Rhodes, Greek Rolls with Zante currants, Salonika style country bread, Pande Calabazi Pumpkin Bread, and Roscas with cloves; North African: Ethiopian Bereketei Sabbath Bread, Moroccan Purim Bread (chubzei), some Muffleta just for Mimouna, and Egyptian Rarifal Rarif; and Near Eastern: Iranian Barbari, various pitas, Azerbaijani Noon, Bukharan Nooni, Yemeni Kubana, Lachuch, and Samneh.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By B. Feinberg on March 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I use A Blessing of Bread every week when I bake challah, something I never did before I received this book. The instructions are clear and the recipes produce the most divine bread I've ever eaten. Family and friends rave about the bread I bake, and I know it's not because I have a special talent; I have this very special book that I adore using. In addition to wonderful recipes for breads from around the world, the book tells the stories of the people whose recipes fill the volume. History, tradition and a large cup of love accompany every page.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jack Kaufman on March 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other reviewers have written in glowing terms about the results of using the recipes in "A Blessing of Bread:...," and while I agree with their conclusions, I feel obliged to comment on another aspect of the book that impresses me. I am impressed--make that amazed, at how Ms. Glezer has traced so many of her recipes' histories back to their origins. Reading her book is almost like getting an insider's view of Jewish kitchens around the world. Another thoughtful part of the book is the list of sources for unusual or hard-to-find ingredients used in many of the recipes. Such a list might not be particularly useful to readers in New York or Los Angeles, but for me, a resident of greater metropolitan Boise, it is a must-have if I want to actually make some of the more esoteric offerings of this great book. All I can say is "Thanks, Maggie Glezer!"
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Shure on October 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Wow, this woman has really taken the time to research and record everything you could want to know about Jewish baking. She takes baking to a whole new level. So far I have made one challah recipe two times, and it was absolutely fantastic. She details all sorts of different types of challot based on regions. I plan to make one that would have originated from my grandparent's region back in Eastern Europe. Who knows if they would have made this challah, but it's fun to feel the connection. The recipe for bagels is not for the faint of heart! My only criticism, and it is slight, is I wish she had a couple of recipes for some of the other baked goods. She has one honey cake recipe, but I would like 2 or 3 to choose from. But I am so glad this book is in my collection. Even if you don't bake a thing, you will find it inspiring!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sarah TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maggie Glezer's labor of love "A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around The World" is truly that: a blessing. Not just a survey of Ashkenazi, Sephardic, North African, and Near Eastern breadmaking traditions, she also sprinkles in family stories, folktales, Yiddish proverbs, and prayers, including a section on the mitzvah of challah.

In addition to providing the blessing for Challah, Glezer also includes the Hebrew Shabbat blessings of the washing of hands and Hamotzi (Blessing of Bread).

On to the recipes themselves: divided by region, there are numerous challahs, from the relatively plain Lithuanian Challah (no sugar or eggs) to Doris Koplin's Sweet Challah, liberally glazed with confectioner's sugar, maraschino cherries, raisins, and pecans. For those of you who enjoy working with sourdough, nearly every recipe has a sourdough version available. Although I've yet to experiment with sourdough starters, I appreciated the versatility.

In addition to challah, there are also yeast breads like the Polish coffeecake Babka, an onion and poppyseed Purim ring, onion rounds, bagels, and Hungarian walnut and poppyseed pastries. From the Sephardic tradition, we have the Churek, Greek walnut and currant rolls, and the intriguing Pan de Calabaza (Pumpkin bread). North African recipes include whole wheat Sabbath Bereketei, the incredibly ornate Chubzeh, and Rarif (Egyptian Cheese Rolls). From the East, Persian and Iraqi flatbreads, pitas, several Yemenite recipes for pancakes and smoked preserved butter, Israeli matzoh, and Syrian and Iraqi pastries.

The preface also includes an incredibly detailed guide to braiding challah, from a simple single strand braid to a challenging nine-strand compound braid, along with folkloric shapes like little birds, braided wreaths, pinwheels, key challah, ladder challah for Shavuot, and hand challah.
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