Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets

Recipes from a New York Baking Legend for Strudel, Stollen, Danishes, Puff Pastry, and More.
by George Greenstein

This book made me feel like such a legit baker.  Greenstein spends full chapters on streudel and babka and provides a wonderful recipe for puff pastry.  He discusses at length the importance of quality ingredients and shows his care for what he makes in his writing.

He starts off with the ingredients and equipment, going into details about what bakers should look for in different flours and fats.  He is all about quality when it comes to food, and while we can't all afford cocoa powder imported from Holland or Hungarian fruit butter, he provides realistic tips as well.  He also covers the baker's equipment, including anything and everything you could need, from parchment paper to the ideal setting for your refrigerator.

The chapter on basic techniques and recipes, was by far my favorite.  Greenstein covers everything from cutting parchment paper to kneading and proofing dough.  This chapter contained a large number of basic recipes including ones for butter streusel, cheese and fruit fillings and sugar cookie dough. I made the butter streusel and added it to some muffins I made- easy and delicious.  The little tips and tricks found throughout this section are so useful.

The remaining three quarters of the book is filled with traditional pastry recipes. With each chapter, Greenstein introduces a primary dough (bundt, rich sugar, puff pastry, danish pastry...) and then provides additional recipes using the dough.  These recipes are great, but please note they are not quick and simple. The chapter's include charming personal stories of Greenstein's childhood and his time working as a baker in New York.  There aren't any pictures, but the writing is so descriptive, that you don't really need the visual aide.  If you don't have a lot of experience dealing with dough, some of these recipes may be a little intimidating.  This wouldn't be my first recommendation to a novice baker but the descriptive manner in which this is written make the recipes very achievable. This book would be a great asset to any experienced baker. 

I received this book through Blogging for Books but the personal views and reviews of this book are mine and mine alone. Thanks to Blogging for Books for this opportunity.

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