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Israeli Baking Book Brilliantly Showcases Multicultural Influence

Breaking Breads

A New World of Israeli Baking--Flatbreads, Stuffed Breads, Challahs, Cookies, and the Legendary Chocolate Babka

by Uri Scheft

Artisan Books


Cooking, Food & Wine

Pub Date 18 Oct 2016


Variety is the spice of life and is an essential ingredient for a good cookbook, particularly one that focuses on baking. Breaking Breads definitely offers a large variety of recipes from sweet to savory. I particularly liked the sesame tahini cookies and the cheese shortbread. If you get this cookbook be prepared to spend a lot of time. The recipes require a decent amount of baking experience and are fairly complex. I bake a lot of bread, and a good number of the recipes were a bit too involved for my liking. If your only baking experience comes from making the occasional cake or batch of cookies, Breaking Breads isn't for you. On the other hand, if you are a dedicated, experienced baker looking to try new ethnic delights, you will greatly enjoy this book. There is a gorgeous assortment of stuffed breads and pastries of Israeli origin, but they are not easy to prepare. There are pictures to help with preparation of some unfamiliar items. The photographs throughout are mouthwatering.

On the whole Breaking Breads is an excellent book for the experienced baker. I would have liked there to be a few more easier to prepare items included, but as it stands it is a beautiful cookbook.


I received a copy of Breaking Breads from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Israeli baking encompasses the influences of so many regions—Morocco, Yemen, Germany, and Georgia, to name a few—and master baker Uri Scheft seamlessly marries all of these in his incredible baked goods at his Breads Bakery in New York City and Lehamim Bakery in Tel Aviv. Nutella-filled babkas, potato and shakshuka focaccia, and chocolate rugelach are pulled out of the ovens several times an hour for waiting crowds. In Breaking Breads, Scheft takes the combined influences of his Scandinavian heritage, his European pastry training, and his Israeli and New York City homes to provide sweet and savory baking recipes that cover European, Israeli, and Middle Eastern favorites. Scheft sheds new light on classics like challah, babka, and ciabatta—and provides his creative twists on them as well, showing how bakers can do the same at home—and introduces his take on Middle Eastern daily breads like kubaneh and jachnun. The instructions are detailed and the photos explanatory so that anyone can make Scheft's Poppy Seed Hamantaschen, Cheese Bourekas, and Jerusalem Bagels, among other recipes. With several key dough recipes and hundreds of Israeli-, Middle Eastern–, Eastern European–, Scandinavian-, and Mediterranean-influenced recipes, this is truly a global baking bible.

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