A little known fact about me: I used to be terribly afraid of yeast. I would not attempt a recipe that had yeast listed among the ingredients. Fast forward to now and you will find me buying yeast in bulk and flour in 25 pound bags. I am comfortable baking breads and was thrilled to have a chance to try out a book of pastry recipes.
A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets by George Greenstein with Elaine Greenstein, Julia Greenstein, and Isaac Bleicher is a wonderful guide to yeast based pastries. The first chapter is devoted to equipment, tools, and ingredients. The book then transitions into basic techniques and recipes for fillings, streusels, etc. The following chapters focus on specific types of pastries.
I waited until I tested a couple of recipes before writing my review. I started with the first dough in the book - bundt dough. I love that one batch of dough can be divided to make several different pastries. I made the streusel cake (crumb cake) twice. I also made the beesting cake twice with some adjustments. I left out the pastry cream. I made two of the cakes with dough that had been frozen. Both baked just as well as cakes made with freshly made dough. W liked the beesting cake so much that I only got one piece of the first one I baked.
One downside is the lack of photos. I have come to expect this from more technical cookbooks. This can be a slight problem since I am not familiar with how some of the finished pastries should look. The recipe directions are clear, and the cakes I made tasted delicious. In the end I guess looks are not all that important. I know that while this is a minor inconvenience for me it will be a much larger problem for others.
The book was well-written. The baker's secrets sprinkled throughout help boost my confidence. I can already tell this will be an often used cookbook. This book made me add George Greenstein's other baking book to my wish list. Give Mr. Greenstein a chance to share his secrets with you!
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.