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A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
Synopses & Reviews
A Blessing of Bread grew out of an interview that author Maggie Glezer conducted with a rabbi's wife about the symbolism of challah, that bakery staple deeply rooted in Jewish traditions. Captivated by the myriad meanings in every twist of the bread's braid, she spent years doing research and recipe testing. The result is this landmark guide to the amazing variety of Jewish breads found in communities all over the world, from Guatemala to Russia and everywhere in between.
In it are more than 60 impeccably tested recipes both old and new, for challah and other Sabbath and holiday loaves and an exploration of the rich symbolism of their hisory, the rituals governing their baking and eating, and the sacred texts and commentaries from which these rituals derive.
There are best-ever recipes for babka and honey cake, bagels, matzot, crackers, and everyday breads such as Jewish-deli rye. It is also loaded with totally unexpected breads that thrill, such as anise, almond, and sesame-studded Moroccan Purim bread; the spiced and leaf-wrapped Ehtiopian bereketei (whole wheat Sabbath bread); and the pitalike nooni honegi of the Bukharan Jews. Oral histories, ancient legends, shtetl folktales, aphorisms, and proverbs delight and inspire, and stories of grandmothers and great-grandmothers that recall life as it once was complete this volume, the most in-depth and wide-ranging one ever published on the subject.
This multifaceted guide to Jewish baking harbors a wealth of recipes for challahs from around the world, as well as for babkas and honey cakes, bagels and matzot, crackers and everyday breads such as deli rye. Working with bakers from Guatemala to Russia, Maggie Glezer perfected these recipes, many of which had never been written down. Recollections from Jewish grandmothers and great-grandmothers all over the world remind us of life as it once was, and riveting oral histories, ancient legends, shtetl folktales, aphorisms, and proverbs throughout will delight and inspire the baker in us all.
There is a special urgency to record, learn, and pass on culinary history if we are to preserve our traditional foods and customs. How fortunate that Maggie Glezer has taken the challenge.
Modern-day takes on age-old recipes for challah, holiday breads, and everyday family breads from Ashkenazi, Sephardic, North African, and Near Eastern traditions, interwoven with joyous family stories, wise folktales, proverbs, and prayers.
About the Author
Maggie Glezer is an American Institute of Baking-certified baker. Her first book, Artisan Baking Across America: The Breads, the Bakers, the Best Recipes, won a James Beard Foundation award when it was published in hardcover. It is now available in paperback under the title Artisan Baking. Ms. Glezer is also the author of A Blessing of Bread. She specializes in teaching and writing about bread baking for amateurs and professionals and contributes to publications such as Fine Cooking, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the newsletter of the Bread Bakers Guild of America, and King Arthur Flour's The Baking Sheet. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children.
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