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Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Authentic Jewish Rye and Other Breads [Paperback]

George Greenstein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 1993
For more than twenty years, George Greenstein owned and operated a Long Island bakery that produced all sorts of baked goods, from all sorts of ethnic traditions—focaccia and Irish soda bread, Bavarian pumpernickel and naan—including many from his own culture, such as Jewish corn bread, challah, and bagels. His bakery was one of those neighborhood treasures where every weekday evening commuters picked up brown paper bags filled with a dozen Vienna rolls straight from the oven, and every weekend morning lines extended out the door for hours.In this James Beard Award-winning cookbook, Greenstein reveals 125 recipes for the yeasted and quick breads that have been handed down through his family by three generations of bakers—the breads that made his bakery so well-loved for so many years. And now that most neighborhood bakeries like Greenstein's are long since closed, this classic collection serves not only to teach bakers everywhere how to make those delicious, classic breads, but it also preserves authentic versions of the included Jewish recipes for all to enjoy.With the same helpful features that made this a cherished cookbook upon its original publication—separate instructions for mixing each recipe by hand, food processor, and stand mixer; tips for baking a week's worth of bread in as few as two hours; invaluable baker's secrets; and a very approachable style throughout—this revised edition also includes twelve new recipes to satisfy both old fans and new. So bring the spirit of that great old bakery back to life right in your very own kitchen, filling every room of your house with the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. And rest assured you'll bake with ease and success every time, thanks to George and his long-learned, very happily shared SECRETS OF A JEWISH BAKER.









From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Greenstein, now retired, owned and ran a bakery on Long Island that produced all sorts of baked goods, from Italian Foccacia to Portuguese Corn Bread as well as Challah, Sour Rye, and other Jewish breads. He begins with a good introduction--including some invaluable Baker's Secrets--to the art of bread baking, followed by dozens of recipes for breads, rolls, and muffins; most of these include three sets of instructions, for making the recipe using a food processor, an electric mixer, or simply by hand. Although less comprehensive than Joe Ortiz's authoritative The Village Baker ( LJ 12/92), Greenstein's book is somewhat more approachable. Recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“An essential purchase for anyone serious about baking bread.” —Newsday“Packed with wisdom and useful tips.”—Baltimore Sun “There are many excellent bread books, but only a few for the serious home baker are truly must-have. This is one of them. George Greenstein's knowledge is in his bones, in his hands, and in his heart. It all comes through in this classic collection of indispensable recipes and master techniques.”—Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice“You could scratch the adjective ‘Jewish' from the title of SECRETS OF A JEWISH BAKER . Although Mr. Greenstein, a professional baker, happens to be Jewish, he has written a fairly comprehensive general bread-baking book.”—Florence Fabricant, New York Times“While other bakers aim to educate readers about the nature of bread, Greenstein's purpose is purely gustatory. He wants us to bake, eat, and enjoy.”—Vegetarian Times

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
I've had this book for over 8 years and simply put, this is the one bread book all bakers should have in their homes.
There are other books on bread and they certainly have their places, but this is the one you'll come back to time and time again.
The well laid-out organization, the amazing variety of bread recipes, the fairly easy-to-follow recipes, and the short but insightful introduction & suggestions preceding each bread recipe all serve to make this a solid book for home baking.
But what puts this book above the rest are two things:
1). Each recipe is specifically tailored (retailored) to work well in the home kitchen.
2). The "baker's secret" tips added and highlighted in particular recipes make the difference between a good bread and an outstanding one.
Perhaps this isn't a perfect book (ring-bound and laminated, please) and for those who may care, it doesn't cover cakes and the like; however, the baker knows his craft intimately well and laid it all out.
The delicious results are a testament to that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars At last - really, really crusty bread! July 21 2000
At first glance there isn't much to grab your attention in this book. No glossy colour pictures (in a cookbook, unbelievable) and the recipes look basic (a little yeast, a little water, a little flour...). But you REALLY have to read this book. The details, the tips, the tricks of the trade and the methods that Greenstein explains really do make a difference!
Greenstein has converted the recipes to be made by hand, food processor or mixer. We have a small mixer and simply halved the quantities. I cannot stress enough the surprise at how effective the results were. There was huge "WOW" factor getting the bread out of the oven.
This book has a good range of recipes for breads and things made with yeast. There is an assortment of ethnic recipes and all the favourites from bagels, foccacia, croissants, to scones and muffins. I particularly enjoyed his annecdotes and favourite toppings. Greenstein has also included 12 programmes for "a morning of baking" which set out how to fit together making a variety of breads in a short time.
On the downside, a separate ingredients index would have been useful. For example, after buying rice flour I then had to look through the whole book to find the relevant recipe. The fact that it is so short on pictures is not really a problem as the results speak for themselves.
Please God, when I die let me be Jewish!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good beyond belief May 14 1997
By A Customer
It's hard to believe that a book like this exists, since it claims to give all the secrets of Jewish baking to anyone smart enough to read the book. If anything, this is an understatement -- this book will teach you how to make nearly all of the New York-area ethnic breads, cookies, and cakes that I've ever seen.

I've tried about 10 of the recipes -- unusual for me, since I often only get 2 or 3 good recipes from a cookbook -- and every one has been great. The bagels taste like real bagels (not the Bruegger's sort), the black-and-white cookies have the right cake-like texture and not the sugar cookie base most non-New Yorkers use, the challah is definitive, and so on.

The book is an absolute must for anyone stuck out in the middle of nowhere (like I was) without a proper bakery. Even in larger metro areas, local variants on "proper" pizza, rye breads, etc. will drive you to insanity if you don't have this book.
If I were to fault the book, it would be on its treatment of sourdough breads -- the recipes rely on added yeast for reliable rising. Still, from croissants and pizza to Kaiser rolls and sour rye, these are fantastic recipes: authentic and able to be made by a relatively inexperienced baker.
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5.0 out of 5 stars World's Best Challah! July 29 2002
A friend told me about the challah recipe here. It's a marvel, and it's just about fool proof, with great shaping illustrations. I'd buy it again for this recipe alone. This book has become one of my staples. The professional baking tips are very useful, but I have to complain about any baking book that sends you to your friendly local bakery to plead for special ingredients, as this one does. Also, this book is big on baking with steam, which isn't a great idea for your slightly klutzy home baker (like me). But those recipes work pretty well without steam, in my opinion. Okay, so I cheat a little with these recipes--yet the breads still come out yummy! Don't count on this book for desserts, though. It's a BREAD book, and a very good one, particularly for people who want to understand the process and learn to do it right.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best bread book in my collection Feb. 24 2002
There are a number of excellent bread books but, for me, this one has it all. The instructions are clear, concise and the recipes have been well-tested. So far I have tried: Challah, Pizza, Sour Rye Bread, Corn Bread (absolutely delicious), Black and Whites (better than from the bakery), Wine Loaf, Bagels, French Bread, Sourdough French Bread (a family favorite) and am about to try Pumpernickel. I have had perfect results every time. Whenever I am looking for a new recipe, this is the book I reach for and if I have a similar recipe in another book, I gravitate to these recipes instead. There a "reading" baking books and "baking" baking books. This is a "baking" baking book and an excellent one at that.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
You must get this book if you like to make breads. It contains real recipes hardly found anywhere else. If you are from NYC this is doubly true for you. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2004 by theoriginalsubguy
5.0 out of 5 stars My bread-making bible
I've been making bread for more than 30 years. This book has taught me more about the art than any I used before it. Read more
Published on July 28 2003 by Susan O'Neill
5.0 out of 5 stars were you've been all my life?
I'm from Germany and i've been here for 25 years and I realy missed my german bread ,untill I found this book about 7 years ago. I was so thrilled to finally make my own bread. Read more
Published on June 17 2003 by "bgveith"
5.0 out of 5 stars best baking book ever
I bought this book several years ago and am about to buy it again today from Amazon. Over the years I have used it so much the pages are stuck together with caked flour and the... Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Best bread book ever
I was a professinal baker for close to 15 years and started by apprenticing on a 19th century coal-fired oven in Newark, NJ. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2002 by Robert Schwartzberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Secrets of a Jewish Baker
I have been baking bread for almost 10 years. This book
is by far the very best! Very clear and easy to follow
recipes! I love this book!
Published on May 26 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate!!
After purchasing and searching thousands of cookbooks over 30 years, this is the one for the best N.Y Rye Bread recipes, as well as bagels, bialys, pletzel, etc.. Read more
Published on June 20 2001 by CRAIGML
5.0 out of 5 stars This is probably the book you've been looking for.
At the time, I was looking for a book with a decent recipe for bagels (a tough thing to get in Houston without some imagination). I found Mr. Read more
Published on May 10 2000 by Craters
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have baking book!
I love to bake, and this cookbook has wonderful, easy to use recipes. I get many compliments when I make the pizza and the challah. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 1999 by Amazon Customer
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