on February 3, 2012
Before attempting anything in this cookbook -- print out the errata page from:
It's a good book but loaded with mistakes -- metric conversions weren't correct when I went to make the cheese filling for the cheese pockets. I'm not happy right now. I've never seen a cookbook with so many errors in one recipe.
There's a very large errata page on the web site, which is good and is updated. So I'm making sure that I go through the book and make the corrections.
I'm sitting here with cheese filling with too many eggs plus who knows what else was wrong. Not happy, not happy.
What ever happened to good old fashioned proofreaders?
on October 24, 2011
I recently received my copy of this wonderful book. I must say the recipes look great and the baked goods are to drool over. Last night I made the Onion Rolls and they were wonderful. This is a great collection of recipes and methods that are very hard to come by, written by a couple guys who know what they are talking about. For example, the instructions for making a Kaiser Roll are priceless.
The history and stories about the recent old days in the NY bakery scene are great reading.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be able to recreate the great old NY breads. Very well done.
on November 17, 2011
I found the book to be full of wonderful historical cultural data that makes interesting reading and the recipes are fabulous. That said, this first edition contains quite a few errors that could generate confusion and failure, especially for the neophyte baker, when attempting to prepare some of the recipes. I wouldn't let that discourage me from purchasing the book however. The authors have made corrections readily available through a link to their web site [...] so they can be printed and added as addendum to the actual book. My "4" rating is based on the printing error issues. Otherwise, a "5" would be well deserved for this wonderful book.
on November 3, 2011
I was one of the many, world-wide test bakers Stanley and Norm recruited. It was a blast--not quite up there with my first kiss--but well worth the time and effort. I baked, and frowned, and reveled, and frustrated, and cheered and moaned throughout. I'm not Jewish. I'm only recently an "upscale baker": what, for heaven's sake is Kornbroyt?. I'm impatient (I don't always read the instructions carefully.); but I love learning, learning recipes, and histories, and cultures more. Stanley and Norm have delivered. They've staked their claim in this world intent on homogenizing all of us. They've done their best to preserve those things learned at their Jewish grandparent's knees.
Oh, and by-the-way, they've also documented scores of recipes, passed down from family and friends, adapted to today's baking practices, in ways that satisfy. If you like to scoop, fluff, and measure--like Grandma did--you'll be at home. If you've adopted weight for your measure, you'll be served; Baker's Math takes its stand.
This book belongs on your shelve; even more, it belongs on your counter, flour dusted, open to yet another adventure in baking.
on October 20, 2011
I was one of the testers for the book and I loved all the recipes I tried. I couldn't wait to get my copy so I could try the other recipes that I didn't get to test. I am an enthusiastic amateur bread baker and am looking forward to trying all the different recipes for rye breads, challah, bagels, rolls, bialys and other breads. There are also some good cookie, pastry and cake recipes that I know my family will enjoy. I enjoyed reading about the history and culture as well. I highly recommend this book!
on November 1, 2011
I got my copy less than a week ago, but it immediately drew me in, as this book is much more than a cookbook. It reveals true scholarship concerning the culinary history of Ashkenazic Jewish culture. Authors Stan Ginsberg and Norman Berg have done themselves proud. Don't get me wrong, this is also a remarkable collection of recipes, written in great detail. Even further, there are numerous stories of the baking life as experienced by co-author Norman Berg, a long-time baker from Queens, New York. This is a book of heart and soul. Even more, the book's web site has additional information, including unpublished chapters, which contain a wealth of information concerning ingredients and equipment used in baking. Clearly, this book, its organization, and its pre-publication information have been carefully crafted. This book is bound to become a classic.
on October 29, 2011
I got this book, and had to put off starting to read it until after I had gotten my husband off to work.
I then sat down and read it through, the entire book, the historical information and every recipe. While I read, I thought of the generations of people who were displaced, who had an identity that was at times reviled, and others admired, and who certainly never stopped trying.
I am not Jewish or to my knowledge have any Jewish ancestors, but the story is the same whether its Jews, or Scots (my main background) oppression, and having to leave what is known for the unknown, but taking ones identity with them.
The book took me five hours to read through, and I was totally moved to tears at times, laughter at others, and the desire to explore the baking and taste of an era that I grew up in, but not the place! I dearly wish to try the breads, the cakes and the cookies, not because I can't or haven't had some of them (mostly commercial and definitely not the same) but to have that sense of history.
I bake family recipes all the time, because it gives me that sense of belonging, and I think that its sad that the Jewish community have lost some of theirs, with no family bakeries and the Jewish way of life being assimilated into the modern culture. Maybe this will inspire some of them to bake and understand their family decisions to come to the New World,and to take back some of their traditions and roots, or better yet to start some of their own with their children.
Not just another cookbook, or bread book, but a book written with love, and history and baking entwined in its soul.
on August 31, 2013
I am extremely disappointed with the contents of this book. I was expecting authentic recipes from the traditional Jewish bakeries, as promised in the title. Instead, virtually every recipe for sweet pastry dough contains BUTTER and POWDERED MILK, ingredients which are virtually never used in kosher baked good, except for specialty dairy items such as cheesecake or cheese-filled pastry.
General kosher baked goods must be pareve (that is, contain no meat or dairy ingredients) so that the customer may enjoy them with any meal. A baked good that contains powdered milk or butter in the dough but is not visibly dairy (such as cheese-filled or pizza) should not be sold at a kosher bakery because a customer might make a mistake and consume it with a meat meal. Powdered milk in HAMBURGER BUNS? No way.
Either the authors of this book are so ignorant they do not even know about the basic requirements of kosher baking, or they know but don't care, which is very insulting to those of us who observe kashrus.
I have a large collection of cookbooks, most of them are not kosher and for those recipes I automatically make substitutions where dairy or non-kosher ingredients are listed. However in a cookbook that promotes itself is being "from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking" I should not have to do that!
This book is being returned to Amazon for a refund. I give it two stars for the nice layout.
on November 1, 2011
The formulas are clear and well formed. Commentary on the recipes tell us why things were done as they were, and why they're done differently today. Helpful, too, are the diagrams and instructions for shaping the various items; probably the clearest I've ever seen in any cookbook or even video.
The book is definitely worth a shekel for the Jewish history and culture lessons alone. You could as easily put this book with your library's histories as with your cookbooks in the kitchen.
Thanks, Stan and Norm, for writing such an interesting book that happens to teach us not just about a people, but about how to make some great tasting baked goods.
Five stars is just too few for a book of this value.
on October 29, 2011
I was delighted when my copy of this book came in the mail last week. I was looking forward to the wonderful recipes, of course, but I was also keenly curious about the history and cultural information also contained in the book. What a delight to have both -- a wonderful cookbook, and an accessible-yet-scholarly discussion of Jewish culinary tradition, history, and insight into the professional baking world.
The recipes are drool-worthy -- challah, pletsl, corn rye, challah, vienna bread, kaiser rolls, french cookies, florentines.... but the clear directions and detailed instructions for some of the more ornamental work (six ways to braid Challah, for example!) are equally wonderful. And, as a beginning-intermediate baker, I'm grateful for the fact that all of these recipes seem possible for home bakers, even those (like me) who are still learning a lot.
Can't wait to bake my way through!