I’ve had Gluten-Free Baking Classicsfor a couple of weeks. Already, when I give it a shake, bits of flour shift out from between the pages.
Already, it looks like a well-loved favorite cookbook.
You know what I mean. It looks like it lives on my kitchen counter, not on my bookshelf.
That’s because it does.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve made pizza, two kinds of muffins, and a loaf of bread. I feel like, after those experiments, that I can tell you that the recipes in this book are good. They aren’t fancy gourmet, or complicated artisan recipes. They’re Sunday morning muffins, pizza after a long day, and PB&J sandwich for lunch recipes.
And that’s what I needed. That, I think, is what anyone who is struggling to learn how to be gluten intolerant without giving up eating their favorite foods needs. The fancy-pants foodie stuff can come later. And really, these recipes can be that in the end. Coconut cake with lemon curd filling? Pretty fancy. There’s a recipe for artisan bread, and bread with raisins and pecans.
But there is also a recipe for hamburger and hotdog buns, and one for English muffins. The stuff you never really thought about until you couldn’t eat them anymore, and suddenly realized that a bun-free hotdog is just depressing when it’s unintentional.
The meat of this book is three flour mixes. One a brown rice flour mix that’s for making things like cookies and muffins. One is a sorghum/millet mix that is finer and softer, for making bread. Once you’ve made up a supply of these mixes, making muffins/quick bread/sandwich bread/ etc. is as easy as measuring, mixing, a single rise for yeast-y things, and baking.
Perhaps the best part of this book is that it’s written in such a friendly tone, it’s like having Annalise Roberts in the kitchen with you encouraging you. That she’s a kind woman who cares about gluten-free baking and has put a lot of time and effort into developing these recipes for us rings out loud and clear.
This book doesn’t particularly encourage experimentation. It says loud-and-clear that the recipes were designed to be used as written. But it is clear to me that if I can master these, I’ll be closer to the place I am in gluten-full baking: the place where I am confident enough to make up my own recipes.
I think maybe the biggest thumbs up this book has gotten in my home is that when I’ve baked something out of it, my whole family has wanted to eat it. Other gluten-free stuff (bread from a mix with bean flour (gag), corn bread from a bag, etc.) has been mine, while the ‘real’ stuff was theirs. But the blueberry muffins, cranberry muffins, pizza, and bread I’ve made using Annalise’s recipes, have been fair game.
One reason I started eating gluten again before the holidays (ok, ok…one excuse I had for starting to eat gluten again before the holidays) was a sort of confused anxiety about how I was going to keep family holiday traditions without using wheat flour. With this book living on my counter, filled with bits of flour and smudgy fingerprints, I know that I’ll be able to survive the holidays in 2010 without making myself ill in the name of tradition.
Gluten-Free Baking Classics has chapters for:
- muffins, sweet breads, scones, and sweet rolls
- pies and tarts
- other sweet treats
- breads, bread crumbs, pizza, and more
- and other savories.
I’d highly reccomend this book for anyone who is in that panic-y what-am-I-going-to-do stage of early diagnosis. Gluten-free baking is at least as easy as regular baking, and in the instance of yeast doughs, considerably easier since no kneading or long rising times are needed.
Annalise points out in the front of the book that baked goods shouldn’t be the center of any diet, gluten-free or not. It’s easy, when faced with giving up wheat, to focus on it to the point that suddenly everything to eat seems baked. It’s not. That’s the gift of this book. Annalise reassures the reader that there is a whole world filled with naturally gluten-free foods.
But if you want a dinner roll with that, she’ll show you how to make a really fine on
The publisher sent me a copy of this book to review for you. My review was not colored by this.