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Gennaro's Italian Bakery Hardcover – September 8, 2016
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About the Author
Gennaro Contaldo is widely known as the Italian legend who taught Jamie Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking, as well as a renowned personality in his own right. Born in Minori on the Amalfi Coast, Gennaro's quintessentially Italian spirit and positive nature has made him a TV favourite. He regularly appears on Saturday Kitchen and more recently his own TV series, 'Two Greedy Italians' on BBC2. In 1999 he opened his own restaurant, Passione, in Charlotte Street, London, which was awarded Best Italian restaurant in 2005. Gennaro is currently involved in the Jamie Oliver restaurant chain, Jamie's Italian, where he creates dishes and trains chefs nationwide and abroad. He has authored more than 7 cookbooks, has his own YouTube food channel, and is an ambassador for Citalia and Bertolli. He lives in east London with his wife and two daughters. Gennaro Contaldo was born in Minori on the Amalfi coast. He came to Britian in the late 60s and worked in several restaurants around the country and London. He then moved to London, where he worked as a chef in a number of restaurants before opening the award-winning Passione. He came to public attention as the chef who inspired Jamie Oliver when they worked together at Antonio Carluccio's restaurant. In spring 2011 he presented Two Greedy Italians on BBC2, and a second series will be aired in spring 2012. Gennaro lives in north-east London with his partner Liz and their nine-year-old twin girls Olivia and Chloe.
Top customer reviews
My large baking collection features numerous books on breads and baking, including several editions of the seminal “The Italian Baker” by Carol Field, my staple “Artisan Bread in 5,” Crumb: A Baking Book,Honey & Co The Baking Book, and the new Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking--Flatbreads, Stuffed Breads, Challahs, Cookies, and the Legendary Chocolate Babka, and I’m pleased to report that “Gennaro’s Italian Bakery” now holds a spot of honor as well.
Gennaro Contaldo, Italian chef and restauranteur who mentored Jamie Oliver, grew up surrounded by a family of bakers, from spending hours in his uncle’s bakery to waking up to his mother’s home baking. As a baker at The Neal Street Restaurant, he was responsible for making the bread, focaccia, torte salate, pastry and seasonal bakes. As he mentioned in the foreword, bread and baked goods mean tradition, and you’ll find various bakes from across Italy and in honor of various seasons and holidays.
Beginning with basic bread dough and grissini, you’ll find recipes for panini, stuffed breads, focaccia (garlic and rosemary, cheese, peppers, potato, red onion and pancetta), pizze (Bianca, marinara, 4-cheese, greens, individual pizzas), stuffed pies (spinach, guanciale, courgette and ricotta), sweet breads (plaited sweetbread, aniseed and currant ring cake, pandoro, brioche, colomba), crostate (tarts: ricotta and Nutella, dried apricot, strawberry and peach, creamy limoncello tart with grated chocolate, pumpkin), biscotti, cantucci, and torte (pear and chocolate, polenta and almond cake, yogurt and orange ring cake, marbled espresso loaf cake). Many of the recipes are influenced by Tuscany (including autumnal favorite castagnaccio), and you’ll note that some recipes do not include salt as is traditional – so you may choose to add at your own discretion. Ingredients are listed in metric as well as US volume and weight measurements, a thoughtful touch that makes it much easier for US bakers. And many recipes feature gorgeous matte photographs of the final bakes.
For this review, I made three recipes, including the grape and rosemary buns, tricolor braided loaf, and the aniseed and currant cake.
The grape and rosemary buns did not include salt in the recipe, and I would definitely add about ½ tsp next time as the sweetness of the grapes could use the balance from a pinch of salt. Also, the shaping instructions were rather vague (“form the dough into little basket shapes”) and I must have rolled mine too tightly as I could not get my dough spirals to resemble the photo, but they were delicious nonetheless and froze beautifully.
The second recipe I tried was the treccia colorata, with three different flavors (saffron walnut, rum raisin, chocolate and orange). This was extremely time-consuming (start to finish, it was a four-hour project) and messy, and I felt like I may have overworked the dough trying to knead in the cocoa powder after the first rise – next time, I would add in the flavoring during the initial mixing / kneading by dividing the dough before the first rise. The final loaf was a touch dry, but made fantastic toast and looked gorgeous on the table.
The final recipe (and my personal favorite of the three) was the aniseed and currant ring cake. I was happily surprised to find both currants and Sambuca widely available here in Japan, and set out to make the cake (I used a 10-cup NordicWare Bundt pan). This was the easiest recipe of the three, and very easy to assemble (it only requires a brief knead). The final texture was delightfully soft, fragrant, and makes fantastic toast.
My next challenge will be the chestnut squares as chestnuts are in season here in Japan; in fact, one of my former students gifted me with some gorgeous chestnuts from his tree, so I look forward to baking with them.
Overall, “Gennaro’s Italian Bakery” is a delightful addition to your baking library that fans of Italian breads and pastries will definitely want to own! (Note: I reviewed the UK edition, but Interlink is also releasing an adapted version for US home bakers in the near future).