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A Bakers Daughter Recipes and Memories from a Family Bakery

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This is a cookbook and memoir about Ms. Brenner's family and their bakery, Brenner's in Alexander VA. The granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, Ms Brenner, using the recipes handwritten on index cards, as well as conversations with family members has reconstructed Brenner's recipes for the home baker. Interspersed among the recipes are photos, stories and memories about her family members and the bakery over several generations. Recipes have color illustrations. Ms. Brenner has developed a Facebook page, "Brenner's Bakery Memories", where those who have visited the bakery in the past (It is no longer in the family.) to share their memories as photos and comments of the recipes they recreated using her book. Her editor, Ms Donnan is a life long friend and a author. Ms Brenner is a musician, songwriter and cancer survivor and advocate. She lives on the Outer Banks on Ocracoke IS NC with her husband Lou Castro.

289 pages

Published February 1, 2020

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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Profile Image for Sue Marshall.
92 reviews1 follower
May 11, 2020
Yes, this is a cookbook but so very much more. Biography, autobiography, love story, and tribute about a remarkable immigrant family, their beloved, by many, business' and their individual and collective evolution.

Marcie, who is a musician, songwriter and cancer survivor and advocate is a "self taught" baker. I am barely a baker, so this gave me hope. Marcy and her family members all grew up working together in the bakery including her father, who worked in the original, his father Louis', a Jewish immigrant. Interspersed among the recipes are lovingly written stories and memories of her family over the years. Chapters are developed by bakery categories-breads, cookies, cakes as well as by family members. Using her father's handwritten recipe cards, and with help from family members, she reconstructed those bakery sized recipes for use in the home kitchen. Before writing the book, she baked all of the 50+ recipes at least 3 times. I suspected she had many happy neighbors and friends! She notes that in the process, she ended up with a lot of baking tips and details that she included at the end. Readers should head there before trying out the recipes. I briefly scanned thru it entirely before savoring this sweet and engaging book of stories.

We have only started using the book and began with chocolate chip cookies that absolutely tasted like they came out of a southside Chicago bakery where I grew up. We even bought Crisco for the first time to follow her directives; spoiler alert, butter has too much water and cookies come out flat! Next up a real science experiment; sourdough bread! Marcy also hosts a Facebook page, "Brenner's Bakery Memories" where former customers share their own memories of the bakery as well as their recreations of recipes in the book. There you can also find information as to how to order this self published book.

I have had to pleasure to meet the remarkable Marcie on her home island on NC's Outer Banks. There she is a musician, songwriter, cancer survivor and advocate. Not only has she survived cancer, she has had to endure many hardships or as her mama would say, "gone down the middle of things" including Hurricane Dorian devastating her concert venue, home and beloved island in the middle of writing the book, and now boxing and shipping them from her home in mask and gloves during this Pandemic-and sadly, even more.

She and her husband Lou Castro frequently perform on Ocracoke Island, (our favorite and very much missed especially now, island) and now virtually in their home on Tues. evenings as "Coyote" music. You can find information on how to join on their home brewed concerts on their website and Facebook page. They have published their own original music on 3 CD's and are on many others as well as Ocracoke venue videos.

If you are a 'newby', or a dedicated and passionate baker or know of someone who is-this book begins in their library.

You can order the book at this website: www.bakersdaughtor.com
Profile Image for Grady Ormsby.
475 reviews18 followers
May 22, 2020
Sometimes librarians, publishers and booksellers don’t get it exactly right when they categorize and catalog books. A Baker’s Daughter: Recipes & Memories from a Family Bakery by Marcy Brenner & Kristin Donnan is listed as a cookbook and as a memoir. I would like to suggest a third category. It is a love story. The love happens on many levels, the reciprocal love of a father and his daughter, a man’s love of his life’s work, a family’s love of each other, a community’s love for that family and their bakery and finally Marcy’s love creating oven magic.

In A Baker’s Daughter Marcy provides detailed instructions on how to bake bread, bagels, croissants, cookies, fruit bars, cakes, pies, pastries, macaroons, brownies, sticky buns, eclairs, nut loaves, petit fours, biscuits and doughnuts. Through years of careful experimentation and meticulous research she translated her father’s bakery-scale recipes into handy step-by-step instructions for the reader to follow at home. She also expertly tells how to prepare the custards, fillings, icings and toppings that go along with all the goodies. There is a handy appendix filled with prepping and baking tips. She explains why some ingredients are preferable to others. This advice is based on her painstaking, try-and-try-again pursuit to get it right and match what her father used to create.

Interspersed with the recipes Marcy tells the story of growing up in Alexandria, Virginia. The story is heart-warming and optimistic. The reader learns of her siblings, her extended family and the family’s history. She tells us about cycles of a bakery, the holiday rushes when everyone put in long hours to make sure every customer was left smiling and happy. There are many characters in the story, the customers, the staff and employees who were like family, her sisters, her mom, but most of all Max, her dad, who whistled away at the center of their bakery universe. Though it is all told in Marcy’s voice, she gives huge credit to life-long friend, Krissy Donnan, writer, editor and advisor.

I have to admit that I haven’t yet tried any of the recipes, but I did read all of them. I smelled the aroma of the fresh bread baking and struggled not to drool on the cookie and brownie pages
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