Friday, August 7, 2015

Book Review: A JEWISH BAKER'S PASTRY SECRETS by George Greenstein



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 Elaine Greenstein, Julia Greenstein and Isaac Bleicher offers a collection of recipes and tips for a variety of classic pastries.

At first glance, I will say at this price point, it should be a bigger book.  Cover included, it's maybe an inch thick.  Second, there are no pictures.  In fairness, I have a lot of good cookbooks without pictures.  Finally, many of the recipes call for the use of nonfat dry milk powder.  I know a lot of bakers use it, but honestly, it's so darn expensive and you have to buy these huge boxes when you buy it.  So not only would I have to find a home for that big box, but it makes recipes with it less cost effective than just going to a bakery and buying whatever it is you were going to make.

Okay, I'm done complaining about nonfat dry milk powder, maybe it's cheap where you are...

Those three points aside, I actually like this book.  The first chapter talks about equipment, tools and ingredients along with notes that I think a beginner baker would find helpful.  For example, "Bakers prefer to use cream that is at least 2 to 3 days old.  Many claim that it whips up both thicker and with extra volume."  Who knew?  The second chapter has a lot of the basic fillings, icings and whatnot you'll need for other recipes.  The next eight chapters begin with a master dough recipe, Bundt, Babka, Gugelhopf, etc. followed by recipes using those doughs.  Most of the directions seemed easy to follow.  Others could have used a picture to help illustrate the directions, for example the Cinnamon Babka Loaf had some complicated rolling and twisting directions that I'm going to have find a demo on youtube if I want to have it look right.
 
WOULD I BUY IT?  I will give it a tentative yes, to be updated at a later time.  It's 90 plus degrees out and the idea of baking doesn't appeal to me right now, so I haven't had a chance to try any of these recipes.  But the ingredients, other than my nonfat dry milk powder aversion, are simple to find, the recipes are easy to follow and with George Greenstein's glowing reputation, I'm sure all of these recipes in A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets are going to be amazing.

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  There was no obligation to give a positive review, and if you read my blog, you know I'm a tell-it-like it is kind of girl.  I mean what I say and say what I mean, that holds true for my review.

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