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Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft and Raquel Pelzel

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Challah

    • Zosia on March 12, 2017

      Slightly sweet and not too eggy with a fine but soft crumb. I'm becoming accustomed to this author's method of stretching and folding a stiff dough and partial proofs so the dough came together easily (with an additional 100g water). I used a half batch for the cinnamon braids and made 1 loaf and 5 buns from the balance. Be prepared for huge oven spring. I'll definitely be repeating this recipe.

    • Lepa on December 21, 2017

      I was a bit annoyed that this makes three loaves and is apparently difficult to scale down. Part of my annoyance is that the large batch of dough seems to have broken my Kitchen Aid mixer. But it's not fair to blame the recipe for that disaster. Plus, now we have plenty of leftovers for French toast! The end result was good but not as good as the recipe I've been using from the Kitchn website, which makes one large loaf and uses more egg so it results in a richer/yellow bread that I prefer.

  • Challah rolls

    • anya_sf on April 23, 2018

      I used a small portion of challah dough (about 270 g) to make 6 rolls. They didn't rise quite as much as I'd hoped, but the dough did sit in my fridge for 2 days, and I think my yeast may be sluggish. Still, they were very easy to shape and tasted great fresh from the oven.

  • Sticky pull-apart cinnamon challah braid

    • anya_sf on April 22, 2018

      This recipe was a failure for me. I made the whole challah recipe, which turned out fine, although the dough was quite stiff. I used 1/4 of the dough for one cinnamon braid. Filling the dough wasn't too hard, although the filling amount is off in the instructions - if you use 1/2 cup for the first layer, 1/2 cup for the second layer, you won't have any left for the final filling. I held some back so there would be some for each layer. The final layer was hard to roll since the filling leaked through the thin dough. I could not figure out how to cut an epi, so my "braid" was pretty homely. I wish there had been instructional pictures. My bread did not rise enough (too heavy? and maybe too cold in my kitchen) and the filling and butter leaked a lot. Baking time was more like 30 min, not 20. I skipped the simple syrup. The flavor was good, with tons of layers, and a somewhat chewy texture, but I wouldn't make this again without better instructions.

    • Zosia on March 12, 2017

      These were absolutely beautiful! This book is worth the price for the bread shaping instructions alone. Sweet and buttery and just a little cinnamon-y (perhaps an extra teaspoon next time), no one could resist them. I had to quickly squirrel one away in the freezer so both wouldn't be eaten in one day. A half batch of the challah dough recipe was needed for these and though quite a challenge to shape at the start, it became easier to work with with each consecutive folding and rolling step. You'll want to use only about 1/3 cup/75g filling each time, not 1/2 cup as the recipe states, or you'll run out during step 4. I used only half the syrup. The recipe can be found here (note that only half the dough recipe is required to make two braids): http://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/sticky-pull-apart-cinnamon-challah-braid/

  • Basic babka dough

    • Astrid5555 on December 11, 2016

      This is a quick and easy babka dough which can be chilled in the fridge for 24 hours before baking it. Great for preparing a day ahead so that you can spread your effort across 2 days.

    • Zosia on March 12, 2017

      I would agree that this is a quick and easy dough to make but it's stiffer and less tender once baked than others I've made. I needed an extra 80g milk to make a workable dough. (Canadian flour plus a dry kitchen?)

  • The famous chocolate babka

    • Frogcake on December 31, 2016

      I just taste-tested this chocolate babka fresh out of the oven. My two babas (may they RIP) would agree unequivocally that this is the babka of all babkas. This will be New Year's Day breakfast tomorrow. Will definitely be making this again. Yum.

    • Zosia on March 12, 2017

      I made this with the basic babka dough and though it was well received, I found the bread portion to be a bit firmer and drier than I like. With all of that chocolate and nutella no one else noticed (or cared). I'll have to make this again with the laminated dough.

    • Astrid5555 on December 11, 2016

      I just love how effortlessly you can bake from this book. Made with the "Basic babka dough" which I prepared the day before and let chill overnight. Very approachable recipe which is well explained also with photos with a delicious end result. Makes 2 babkas, one of which I froze for an upcoming Christmas event with the neighbours. Will definitely go into regular baking rotation!

  • Pan pita

    • Astrid5555 on June 10, 2017

      I love this method of cooking the pita bread on the stove, so easy. The recipe is very little involved and produces delicious pita breads which are perfect to freeze!

    • Zosia on March 12, 2017

      Another easy dough from this book (one that again required more liquid). I used it for the pocketless za'atar pitas (which were fabulous!) but I'd love to try the stove top method of making regular pitas.

  • Za'atar pita

    • Zosia on March 12, 2017

      So very, very good. Crisp and chewy and so flavourful. I used only half the olive oil topping, enough to add flavour without making them too oily.

  • No-knead focaccia

    • Astrid5555 on December 04, 2016

      This is one of the easiest and least involved focaccia recipes ever! After having watched Uri Scheft's video on Food52 I decided to give it a try and the end result is amazing! The recipe makes 8 small breads and as per the video I played with the toppings, from a traditional rosemary, lemon zest, sea salt combo to mushroom and scallions with tomatoes. My guests gobbled up everything incredibly quickly and some even made copies of the recipe to try it themselves. Will make again very soon!!!

    • gastronom on April 06, 2017

      Good recipe. Versatile -- many different toppings added easy variety. Froze well. Tip from Astrid5555 about video was helpful and video inspiring - thanks!

  • Spinach burekas

    • Astrid5555 on December 02, 2018

      These are quick and easy to make and tasted really nice. Lovely addition to a mezze spread. Will make again!

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Reviews about this book

  • Food52

    The author answers questions about baking challah bread.

    Full review
  • Eat the Love

    If you are a bread baker and are looking for something a bit different than the usual bread baking book, Breaking Bread is for you.

    Full review
  • Leite's Culinaria

    Thanks to an abundance of how-to photos and well articulated techniques, novices as well as experienced bakers will be tempted to bake their way entirely through the book...

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 157965682X
  • ISBN 13 9781579656829
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 18 2016
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 352
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Artisan

Publishers Text

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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