“You could be the most talented baker out there, but without ingredients like the best-quality butter, an accurate oven, and durable pans, it doesn’t matter,” Chapter one startes in the cookbook, A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets: Recipes From a New York Baking Legend for Strudel, Stollen, Danishes, Puff Pastry, and More, by George Greenstein with Elain Greenstein, Julia Greenstein, and Isaac Bleicher.
At two hundred and eight pages, this hardbound targets those interested in recipes involving Jewish pastries and desserts. After an introduction by two of his daughters, there are ten chapters regarding pastries, ending with an afterword, biography, and index by topic and name alphabetically. With one black and white family photograph, there are no pictures of any completed dish.
Beginning the first chapter with equipment, tools, and ingredients, the next chapter has basic techniques and recipes. The following eight chapters are separated into Bundt, Babka, Strudel, Gugelhopf and Portuguese Sweet Bread, Stollen and Polish Kolacz, Puff Pastry, Charlotte Dough, and Danish Dough. At the beginning of each chapter is a list of recipes included.
Each recipe starts with a title and one to several paragraphs about the dish. On the left side of the page are ingredients in used order. In two columns per page, the directions are given in paragraph format and include serving size and notes. Variations are added when applicable. Sometimes there are personal memories in shaded gray areas or boxes of the baker’s secrets.
Often containing unique components, some of the Jewish traditional pastries include Biener Stuk, Lemon-Poppy Seed Buns, Cinnamon Babka Loaf, Polish Cheese Bread, Apple Strudle, Cabbage Strudle, Susi’s Hungarian Coffee Cake, Portuegese Sweet Bread, Stollen with Triple Butter, Polish Kolacz,Palmiers, Cock’s Combs, Apple Charlotte, Cigars, Raspberry Bow Ties, and Almond Pressburger.
With no preparation times and caloric or nutritional information listed, the book is a disappointment not having any photographs to view, recognize, or decide to make based on their look. Granted the author’s love and creativity have been poured into each recipe, but it would be so much better for those who do not know much about Jewish pastries to see what they look like.
Having passed away in 2012, Greenstein was a third-generation professional baker who owned a Jewish bakery in New York for twenty years. This second book of Greenstein began fifteen years ago with his children finishing his compilation of pastry recipes.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.