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Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Recipes for 125 Breads from Around the World Hardcover – May 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Amateur bread bakers of every skill level will love Greenstein's collection of recipes that demonstrate his natural skill at teaching as well as baking (he operated a Jewish bakery in Long Island for more than 20 years). Excellent opening chapters on ingredients, tools and techniques, from kneading basics to microwave tricks and tips on identifying how a bread failed, are followed by well-chosen beginner loaves; the remaining recipes are divided into potato and corn breads, a catch-all "international" category ranging from Bavarian Farmer Bread to Indian naan, and chapters on sourdoughs, small breads and quick breads. Recipes like focaccia and Irish soda bread may be overly familiar, but Greenstein also offers such a delightful array of unusual breads, like sesame-flavored Greek Psomi or the scone-like Singing Hinny, that even expert bakers will find something new. Twelve menus for "mornings of baking" each yield enough breads to last throughout the week, aiming at time-pressed bakers, though even the experienced may have difficulty fitting the work into one morning. Despite the title, stereotypically Jewish breads are a minority, but Greenstein takes care to tell how to make most recipes kosher; bakers of all religions will appreciate the inclusion of guidelines for mixing dough in the food processor or stand mixer alongside the traditional method, as well as numerous v ariation ideas. Greenstein's expert guidance puts homemade bread within reach of anyone intimidated by the process, and makes baking a treat again for those who thought they had tried every loaf. This publication is an updated version of
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“An essential purchase for anyone serious about baking bread.” —Newsday“Packed with wisdom and useful tips.”—Baltimore Sun “There are many excellent bread books, but only a few for the serious home baker are truly must-have. This is one of them. George Greenstein's knowledge is in his bones, in his hands, and in his heart. It all comes through in this classic collection of indispensable recipes and master techniques.”—Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice“You could scratch the adjective ‘Jewish' from the title of SECRETS OF A JEWISH BAKER . Although Mr. Greenstein, a professional baker, happens to be Jewish, he has written a fairly comprehensive general bread-baking book.”—Florence Fabricant, New York Times“While other bakers aim to educate readers about the nature of bread, Greenstein's purpose is purely gustatory. He wants us to bake, eat, and enjoy.”—Vegetarian Times

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Revised edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580088449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580088442
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The point of "Secrets of a Jewish Baker" is not just to provide you with recipes, but rather to help you create professional-quality loaves in your own kitchens. If you find you have difficulty making a truly light and airy loaf of bread, a whole-grain loaf that's tasty as well as nutritious, or a crusty loaf like your favorite baker's, you won't have any trouble with these tasks by the time you've made a few recipes from this book.

The book opens with wonderful notes on basic materials you'll need (as well as optional ones), ingredients, special bakers' techniques, handy tricks and tips to make things easier on yourself, and even a trouble-shooting section to help you figure out what might have gone wrong with a loaf of bread and how to fix it. Usually such sections teach me nothing new; here I definitely learned things.

As for the recipes, they come out nothing short of stunning. The cheese bread disappeared so fast you'd think it had been a figment of our imaginations. Most surprisingly for me, the cracked wheat bread and bran bread disappeared just as quickly-I think of bran as tasteless and unappealing, but these healthy breads were moist, tender, and delicious. The coffee cake made a yummy (if rather sinful) breakfast, as did the peach streusel muffins. The techniques for creating great crusts worked like magic, particularly on the Irish raisin bread, which was similarly delightful.

The book includes a handful of morning "programs" of baking that interleave instructions for several recipes at once, enabling you to easily make a week's worth of bread in one morning. This worked beautifully for us.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Lazy Cook on February 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm somewhat new to bread baking and I found this book to be informative and flexible with its recipes and directions. I started with the King Arthur Baker's Companion, but was a bit discouraged by the lack of variation in the recipes (mostly white wheat flour, lots of dairy, great chemistry review but not as much direction as I needed). This book, on the other hand, lists a white and whole wheat variation for almost every recipe, recommends substitutes to keep the recipes kosher/dairy free, and has a variation for food processor/steel blade and stand mixer for almost every recipe. The chapters include: basic materials, bread making from A to Z, basic yeast bread, corn and potato based breads, breads of all nations, sourdough breads, rolls, biscuits and muffins, quick breads, and twelve menus of baking. I've followed several recipes and have had great success with all. I've been trying to make a 6-braided challah without success for a few weeks now; I had followed written directions and watched videos that helped but always left me hanging mid-braid, but the directions in this book made it so simple to understand that I had it down in minutes. Now I can't see what was so hard about it! Finally, my son can't have dairy or soy, and so the recommended substitutes and notes when a dairy ingredient are optional in a recipe are really helpful.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Arnold L. Weisenberg on May 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a child, I hung around bakeries. That was in the '40s and '50s when bakers followed recipes written on scraps of paper, dough rested in giant troughs, and loaves were formed by hand. I still make Kaiser rolls the way those bakers did, by smacking the ball of dough with the edge of one hand, to make flaps that get folded over the top of the roll. This book is like a bakers collection of recipe cards, and includes the hints that were scrawled on the back of the cards. These are traditional bread recipes, well detailed and documented. Quantities are a bit loose as they have to be, like '4 to 4 1/2 cups', and might bedevil someone who wants recipes with exact weight of ingredients. But, bread baking is a craft, not a science. For those who want to bake like a baker, this book is a goldmine. The Rye Bread and Corn Bread recipes yielded perfect NY style breads. And I'll keep working my way through the breads over time. George, you did good!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Grandma TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I still remember the first time I saw someone make bread. I had spent the night at Nana's and woke up in the morning to find her in the kitchen putting loaves of homemade bread into the oven. The was a big bowl full of puffy dough on the little shelf behind the stove. Quick as a wink, she turned that into my then-favorite thing in all of the world: her Kuchen. Three kinds - streusel, apple and peach! I was about three I think. I started turning out my own bread around the age of 10, simple things mostly - cornbread from the 4H recipe, Moravian Sugar Cake (such fun to poke the holes and fill them with brown sugar) and the Cranberry Bread for Thanksgiving - and I've been baking bread ever since. There is no easier & faster way to trim your grocery bill than to make your own bread.

Along the way I've also been collecting cookbooks - I now own something on the order of 400 or so, many going back 100 years or so. Quite some few of those are collections of bread recipes from names you know like James Beard and Peter Reinhart and people you've never heard of. Most of them line the walls in my living room and kitchen. Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Recipes for 125 Breads from Around the World is my latest addition and in an instant it has won my heart. Certainly it would have a prominent place in my All Time Favorite Cookbooks list - probably in the Top Five. And if I could own just one bread book, this would have to be the one!

Some while back Peter Reinhart taught me to bake bagels (finally!) from his
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