Every good bakery brings something unique to the culinary table of the town that it is a part of. The more original the products or the concept behind them, the larger the influence tends to be. The Greyston Bakery is one of these bakeries whose influence is felt on a much larger than average scale. Founded by a Zen Buddhist group in 1982, the original goal of the bakery was to produce high quality, locally made products – an idea that was not nearly as popular at the time as it is now – and be a socially responsible business in general. To this end, the bakery sponsors many community development initiatives, but more relevant to us here is that it did not take long for their products to speak for themselves. Now the baked goods of the once small bakery are found all over; Greyston is the exclusive producer of brownies for Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, and does other large-scale orders for national brands.
Since they’re available at national retailers as well as online, it goes without saying that Greyston’s products are accessible. But the recipes are even moreso, as they can be found in The Greyston Bakery Cookbook. The cookbook keeps things relatively simple and has recipes for cakes, tarts and various cookies. The recipes are, as one would expect in a good cookbook, straightforward and well-written. Since they’re aimed at the home chef, none call for really obscure ingredients that might prevent them from being made after anything more than a quick trip to the grocery store.
Almost more interesting than the recipes themselves are the stories and histories that accompany them, from the story of the origin of the bakery to tales of lives that have been touched by members of, or by the work of, Greyston is fascinating. I’m going to resist the temptation to say more about it, but rest assured that it gives the cookbook a little something extra that makes for good reading, as well as just good cooking.