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Gennaro's Italian Bakery

Gennaro Contaldo By (author)
Dan Jones Illustrated by
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Interlink Books

Limited ***

7.3 X 9.8 in
224 pg

COOKING / Methods / Baking
COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / Italian


Making bread has always been a passion for acclaimed chef and TV-personality Gennaro Contaldo. Ingrained since childhood with memories of his mother’s weekly bread-making and visits to his uncle’s village bakery, it is a skill that has followed him throughout his career as a chef. Here, Gennaro takes you onto a journey into the magical world of Italian bread and baking, giving you his secret tips on making the perfect dough to create wonderful Italian breads for all occasions. And not only bread—have you ever walked into an Italian bakery and marveled at the amazing variety of freshly baked goods on offer? Amazing focaccias, pies, pizzas, sweetbreads, cookies, and tarts fill the shelves, not to mention traditional homemade cakes just like Nonna used to make—you will find recipes for all these delicious goodies in this beautiful book.


Inspired by the communal ovens, or panetteria, in rural villages of his native Italy, this London-based restaurant and television chef offers a course on how to bake the tempting breads, cookies, focaccias, tarts, and other treats commonly seen at an Italian bakery. Gennaro Contaldo begins with straightforward advice, like using the proper kinds of flours for different baked goods and seeking out fresh yeast wherever possible. His instructions for a basic loaf of bread are encapsulated in five short, no-nonsense paragraphs, though an abundance of photographs helpfully illustrates the baker in action, kneading, knocking back, and forming the dough into a wonderful assortment of shapes so that novices can achieve similar results. His confident advice makes it seem simple enough to master the art of making fresh bread, if perhaps not daily as he exhorts. Certainly one could use the book as a guide on luxuriant baking days to tackle any number of toothsome creations, succinctly and expertly explained. The author includes the history of many of the regional and holiday bakery items, like the Neapolitan Casatiello, larded with hard-cooked eggs, cheeses and cured meats, harvest time Grape and Rosemary Buns licked with olive oil, rosemary, and cinnamon, and the Le Marche region's Pane di Farina di Ceci e Semo, a savory Pannettone-cousin that crowns the Easter feast. Dan Jones's photography makes every illustration a food still life.Foreword

Italy- and especially the author's memories of childhood there- are at the core of this cookbook, which shares a sampling of the country's enormous array of breads, pizzas and baked sweets. Contaldo- today a London-based chef, TV personality, and cookbook writer many times over- shares anecdotes such as eating torte salate (savory pie) as a child on bread-baking day in his house and taking a salumi- and cheese-stuffed bread on the traditional Easter family picnic. The author also weaves in culinary history when introducing regional specialties such as ricciarelli, Tuscan almond cookies named for a knight returning home from the Crusades, and grissini, breadsticks that originated in 1600s Turin for a duke's son who couldn't stomach bread. Throughout are tantalizing pictures of rustic baked goods and the master baker preparing them. He devotes a whole chapter each to pizza and focaccia; cakes, tarts, and cookies feature prominently, too. Recipes are easy to follow and often require little more equipment than a clean surface and hands. Contaldo's joy and enthusiasm for baking are evident throughout.Booklist

"In this impressive cookbook of sweet and savory baked goods, Italian-born chef Contaldo (Gennaro Slow Cook Italian), now living in the U.K., compiles diverse recipes including the delectable crostata di crema di semolina e pesche (a tart with semolina cream and peaches) and the homely and nostalgic biscotti di castellamare (childhood cookies). Contaldo includes an entire chapter on pizza, with classics such as pizza bianca and pizzette margherita (pizza with mixed tomatoes and anchovies) as well as recipes for calzones. He also provides some delightful gluten-free recipes such as castagnaccio (chestnut squares) and amor di polenta (polenta and almond cake). Outside of the recipes, must-read sections describe the stages of bread making, the different kinds of flour involved in Italian baking, and the different kinds of yeasts. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction describing the spotlighted item and its origins, immersing the reader in culture and history. With each recipe, Contaldo brings joy and dazzlement."Publishers Weekly

Author Bio

Born in Minori on the Amalfi coast, Gennaro Contaldo is a London-based chef, cookbook author, and TV personality who came to public attention as the chef who inspired Jamie Oliver. He worked at some of London's most prestigious restaurants before opening his award-winning restaurant Passione. He co-hosted the food and travel TV series "Two Greedy Italians," alongside chef Antonio Carluccio, and has authored over 10 cookbooks on Italian cooking. Gennaro's quintessentially Italian spirit has made him an international favorite and these days he divides his time between inspiring us to cook authentic Italian food through his books, magazine and television appearances, and working with Jamie Oliver on his chain of "Jamie's Italian" restaurants.