Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Slice of Life: A Not So Brief History of Jewish Breads

Tonight I am giving a talk (complete with 30 slides) on the history, meaning, rituals and traditions of bread in Jewish life.

I may decide to recap some that material here, but I thought I wouldn't wait to post my recipe "handouts" here on Blog Appetit. This way I save some trees by not copying the recipes and other info on all that paper for those who attend the presentation and I can share these wonderful web resources with a wider audience.

The first link is to an article by cookbook author Gil Marks. He explores the role of baking in ancient Egypt within the context of Joseph's dream. He then gives some wonderful recipes for Sephardic, Near Eastern and East European breads. For his recipes and explanations, please click here.

The second link is to an article about bread baking maven Margaret Glezer. Glezer wrote A Blessing of Bread, a remarkable cookbook surveying the meaning and history of Jewish bread making. This article includes an interview with Glezer and three challah (or hallah as it is sometimes written) recipes. I'd also encourage you to check out the blog Kyle's Kitchen. Kyle is a superb bread baker and has baked many of the breads in the Glezer book and posted great photos of the results. The site also has a number of links to additional baking info.

One other resource for you -- the Israel Museum site which has an informative summary of its exhibit about the role bread plays in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim lifecycle events. You can learn more in either Hebrew or English here.

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