A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets – Book Review

A Jewish Bakers Baking Secrets

A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets – Book Review

It’s not every day that I would knowingly order a cookbook that lacks a single glossy photograph of its recipes aside from the photos on the front and back covers of the book – especially since I consider those photographs an integral part of a modern cookbook. But – when I came across A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets by George Greenstein – a retired third-generation professional baker who won a James Beard award for his first, previous cookbook – I decided to make the exception to the photo rule and add what I hoped would be a gem of a book to my kitchen bookshelf.

I’m happy to report that this book does not disappoint!

A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets is not written for fast food chefs who are looking for quick and easy recipes they can make in 30 minutes or less, but is geared towards bakers who really appreciate and want to master techniques and recipes for creating classic old-world breads and baked goods.

The book opens with George’s daughter’s sharing memories of the role their father’s bakery played in their lives, as well as their recipe for Apricot Rugelach with variations. George then provides a primer on the right Equipment, Tools and Ingredients you’ll need to tackle the recipes in this cookbook, and the Basic Techniques and Recipes that are used throughout the book.

Next you’ll find chapters dedicated to the fine art of making Bundt, Babka, Strudel, Gugelhopf and Portuguese Sweet Bread, Stollen and Polish Kolacz, Puff Pastry, Charlotte Dough, and Danish Pastries. Each chapter and recipe is infused with George’s personal stories, warmth and humor – making A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets not only an educational experience, but an enjoyable one for those of us who like to read good cookbooks.

One of the reasons that I was particularly interested in A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets is because of its in-depth coverage on Babka – but this cookbook contains many treats that my family loves to indulge in as well.

A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets would be amazing if it contained photographs of all of the wonderful recipes that George Greenstein shares – but in this one instance, if you are interested in learning how to create delectable European-style bakery classics from a highly esteemed baker – don’t let the lack of photographs stand in your way of adding this wonderful cookbook to your collection.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

About George Greenstein

George Greenstein is a third-generation professional baker, now retired. For 20 years, he owned and operated a Jewish bakery, The Cheesecake King, on Long Island. He lives in Monroe Township, New Jersey. This is his second book.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. However, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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10 Responses to “A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets – Book Review”

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  1. This sounds like a winner, but like you, I would (at first) be taken aback that there are no photos too!
    I am Jewish so this cookbook particularly interests me.
    Thanks for a great review!

    • Create With Joy
      Twitter: CreateWithJoy1

      So glad you enjoyed the review Caren – definitely check it out (there’s an excerpt in my link section for you to preview) –
      This is one of the rare “no photo” cookbooks that I will definitely be keeping for my collection! 🙂

  2. Jay @CraftySpices
    Twitter: CraftySpices

    Had never heard about the “A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets” Book, it seems like a book that our family would enjoy. I also would be interested in it mainly for the Babka but could see how we can easily like more about from it.
    Thanks for sharing your review.

    • Create With Joy
      Twitter: CreateWithJoy1

      Glad you enjoyed the review Jay – thanks for stopping by!
      We love Babka – I am looking forward to making a Cinnamon Babka at some point in the future! 🙂

  3. Karren Haller
    Twitter: Myllls

    I have been to amazing Jewish bakery sales and they are awesome, I do love photos in recipe books though. Thanks for sharing your book on the #OMHGWW this week!
    Happy Halloween!!

  4. Alison says:

    Great review! Sounds like a wonderful cook book!

  5. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    I don’t mind no photos, but I’m really taken with the 30-minute part. Nice to know you have your desserts without spending a half day in the kitchen!

  6. This sounds like a great book. I love when cookbooks infuse their book with stories behind the recipes. Visiting from Small Victories link up

  7. Danita Carr says:

    Thanks for your recommendation! Sounds like it would be a good one to add to our cook book “library” 😉 #SmallVictories

  8. Barrie says:

    Interesting! I am picky about cookbooks, so I appreciate the preview- I also love pictures, but the layout is key too- Taking a peek now!

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