The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wanted: Test Bakers

Elagins's picture

Wanted: Test Bakers

Hi all,

As many of you know, Norm Berg (nbicomputers), a retired baker with over 30 years of bakery experience, and I recently signed with Camino Books to author The New York Bakers Jewish Bakery Book. After months of work, the manuscript is almost finished and our publisher has encouraged us to field-test a representative sampling of the recipes included in the book.

To do those recipes justice and to make them as clear and accessible as possible, we'd like to assemble a group of 120-150 test bakers and start baking by June 1. We plan to wrap things up before Labor Day.

Because Norm and I first connected on this site, and because it's such an important resource to bakers everywhere, we're limiting this invitation exclusively to members of the TFL community.

For more details and a sign-up link, please visit This link is only accessible here, so if you're intereste in joing our endeavor, please bookmark it accordingly.

Thanks so much for your help!

Stan Ginsberg (Elagins)

subfuscpersona's picture

There is an errant period at the end of Stan's link which will result in a "not found" result if you click on it.

Easily corrected - use this link

Elagins's picture

... for the correction!

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I just sent you an email. Do you need anything besides our name right now?

Elagins's picture

and to everyone who's responded so far, Thanks! At this rate, we may even be able to start sooner!


dmsnyder's picture


msfitz3's picture


mrsblandings's picture

Another Jennifer :)

Bigears's picture

Email sent

jj1109's picture


ehanner's picture

When ever I make Norms Onion Rolls, everyone in the neighborhood lines up for a batch. You just can't eat one!

This will be fun.


SallyBR's picture

would love to join and help....

brakeforbread's picture

would love to be a part! email sent

ruth hurst's picture
ruth hurst

I look forward to helping out.
This will be a really fun project. I promise to not share the recipes... Mom's the word.

LindaIg's picture

Email sent.  Would love to be a part of this project.


Tasty Little Dish's picture
Tasty Little Dish

I just sent you an email.  I am relatively new to baking breads but awesome with cakes and cookies!  This would be a great opportunity for me to learn more but also for you to get a sense of how "user friendly" your recipes are for beginners!

flourgirl51's picture


 I just sent you an email.

davidg618's picture

David G

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler


longhorn's picture

Looking forward to it!


rozzibread's picture

sent an email - forgot to mention my handle "rozzibread"

Amy P

jhlsburgva's picture

Email sent! Looking forward to participating in this project.

alabubba's picture

I just sent my e-mail. Hope I am not too late

daysi's picture

I hope you got my info

looking forward to your recipes

janij's picture

Hope you still have room!

mimagst's picture

Hope leaving in Toronto is not a problem for participating...
Sounds awesome

Elagins's picture

We're still recruiting .... cutoff's gonna be midnight Sunday, 5/16 ....

rick.c's picture

Hi Stan,

I did sign up to be a test baker and I am really looking forward to the experience, but I do have some questions.  This may be adressed at some point, but, are the recipes flexible enough that they are described for people with or without mixers, I am the latter.  Also, is there flexibility in the ingredients, can I substitute X for Y or will I need to find Y?  Or is that what the test bakes will figure out? 

Anyway, thanks for the opportunity!!!!!!


Elagins's picture

hi Rick,

let me take your questions in order:

1. no worries if you're a hand-kneader: bakers, both Jewish and otherwise were baking long before mechanical mixers were invented. hand kneading is just going to take a lot longer and *won't* work for extremely slack or rich doughs like danish and babka, that require 15-20 minutes of machine mixing for the gluten to form. otherwise, no difference whether you hand-knead or use a machine.

2. substitutions. we prefer that you follow the recipes as written, meaning that the ingredients be those specified. we recognize that some of the flours may be hard to come by locally, which is why we're offering a 10% discount on those ingredients at if you can find them elsewhere, more power to you; we're not insisting that you buy your ingredients from any vendor in particular. however, we do ask that you follow the recipes -- ingredients, quantities and techniques, as closely as possible. otherwise, we won't know if we're being clear enough.

having said that, we're also writing the recipes such that we're keeping "exotic" or hard-to-find ingredients to a minimum. the idea is to make these products both authentic and accessible. when substitution is possible, we call that out.

rather than winging it, we prefer that you decline testing certain recipes if you don't have the wherewithal or patience.

we'll be sending out more detailed info, including ingredient lists, toward the end of this week.

thanks for your questions,

Stan and Norm

Paddyscake's picture

Wanted to join the party. The link for some reason takes me to our home server??

This is just just double insurance that you received my note.

Betty aka Paddyscake

furbie's picture

me too...what fun!

BakerBen's picture

I sent an e-mail but also wanted to "just make sure" ... looking forward to a little more structure in my life ... a recipe a week sounds about right.


Dwayne's picture

This should be a lot of fun!



sybram's picture

Just signed up and sent you my email, so count me in.  Can't wait.



Oh pooh, I see I'm too late.  I'm just now getting to my TFL mail.  If you can squeeze me in--great, and thanks.  If not, happy baking, you guys, and I'll cheer you on.


daysi's picture

I have not heard any updates from this thread I hope I am not behind.

Please let me know

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, daysi.

Photos of the recipe test results can be found here: NYBakers/Norm's Book - Recipe Tests



daysi's picture

I have not recieved a recipe yet, is there a reason? maybe they were looking just for experienced bakers????

ehanner's picture

I would drop Stan a note and ask if you are in the testing group. I know they have been busy with the launch. Actually I think they are looking for all experience levels to gauge how the directions work with the general public.


zpak's picture

Since we are being asked to follow the recipes as they are written,

there is the subject of purchasing these items at our expense  and NOT being given the gratitude of a Free cookbook or even one at a discount.

I don't mind being a helpful hand but a small showing of gratitude would be greatly appreciated by those of us that purchase the items/ingredients needed to fulfill all the recipes required of us.

Really, how many are you asking to give out ? 100-150 ? And then to those that ask? 

SallyBR's picture

With all due respect, I think that if I am asked to volunteer for something, I do it withouth expecting anything in return.   


NOw, let's suppose that I volunteer to do something and this something involves a lot more commitment than I thought - I can always drop out if that's the case.


At least, that's how I see it.

staho88's picture

I believe Stan has expressed his gratitude.  For me and seemingly others here that verbal thanks is enough.  The promise or hope of a discounted book was never a prerequisite.  Also, note that Stan is giving a 10% discount to the test bakers (so there's your small showing of gratitude)---I don't think that's limited to the ingredients for the recipes but you can always check.  Just my thoughts.

Elagins's picture


we do recognize that you guys are doing something for us and our goal is to recognize that in as many ways as possible. one is with the 10% ingredient discount; a second is with acknowledgement in writing of each tester's contribution to the finished product; and lastly, discounted copies of the book (author's cost) before publication, if our publisher goes along with that latter point -- which we expect he will -- a point we made in one of our earlier communications with testers.

that having been said, there's a quid pro quo here: yes, everyone who's agreed to test our formulas will have to pay for their ingredients. they also get to eat the fruits of their labor (and so far, most of the reviews have been good), and also have the opportunity to learn and/or practice techniques and formulas that they may never have otherwise been exposed to. we, in turn, benefit from the collective skills and experience of every one of our testers, so that each recipe we publish will be the best it possibly can be.

this is not a one-way street: hopefully, everyone benefits in different, but mutually satisfying ways.

as someone here pointed out, this is entirely voluntary and you can leave at any time, as much as we'd like you to stay.

Stan & Norm