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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