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Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking Hardcover – October 15, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Traditional Eastern European Jewish baking, along with the culture in which it evolved, is rapidly disappearing. Younger generations of American Jews are becoming increasingly assimilated into mainstream society. Small, family-run Jewish bakeries that once lay at the heart of their communities have fallen victim to the demise of the old-school bakers, shifting demographics and the economic firepower of diversified corporate food processors.

More than a collection of recipes, Inside the Jewish Bakery chronicles the history and traditions as well as the distinctive baked goods of Ashkenazic Jewry in Eastern Europe and America. Drawing on sources as diverse as the Talmud, Sholom Aleichem and the yizkor books that memorialize communities destroyed in the Holocaust, the authors have crafted an engaging "edible history" that endows their recipes with a powerful sense of time and place.

Here, home bakers of all skill levels will learn to recreate the authentically Jewish breads, pastries, cookies and cakes that once filled the shelves of neighborhood bakeries. The recipes themselves are based on the professional formulas used by America's Jewish bakers during their Golden Age, adapted and tested for home kitchens.

In the chapter on rye bread, the authors present a range of recipes that span its history, from the dense black ryes of Eastern Europe and the traditional corn and deli ryes to today's lighter, less intensely flavored breads. They show us the many faces of challah as it evolved through the centuries and recount the roots and Americanization of bagels and bialys as well as recipes for a host of all-but-forgotten favorites like onion rolls, pletsl and salt sticks. And they evoke life in the traditional bakeries of decades past.

In the chapters on pastries, cakes and cookies, you'll find recipes for sweet treats that have all but disappeared from America's baking repertoire noshes like Russian coffee cake, honey cake made with rye flour, mandelbroyt, marbled wonder cake and black and white cookies that made Sunday mornings and festive occasions so memorable. A special chapter on Passover baking provides recipes for a host of leaven-free desserts to grace the Seder table.

Inside the Jewish Bakery takes you inside a fast-disappearing tradition. It is a book that is timeless in its appeal and is required reading for anyone interested in Ashkenazic Jewish history, culture and baking.

About the Author

Stanley Ginsberg, a native of Brooklyn, grew up in a close-knit neighborhood where generations lived side by side. He learned to cook and bake from his grandmother, who lived just upstairs in the same apartment building, and has continued cooking and baking ever since. He currently lives in Southern California.

Norman Berg, a Bronx native, has spent 25 years as a professional baker and general manager at several bakeries that became Bronx institutions, including Weber s, Enrico s, Yonkers Pastry and Greystone Bakery. He lived in the Bronx until his death in May, 2012.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Camino Books, Inc.; 1st edition (October 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933822236
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933822235
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #242,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Chilton on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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?
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.

l'chaim!
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Format: Hardcover
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!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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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.
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