Cookbook Review: Gluten-free Baking Classics
As I’ve been searching around for blogs and cookbooks, I’ve tended to stay away from those that are dedicated just to gluten-free baking. This is because I wanted recipes where I would have to do the least amount of tweaking. However, I am so, so, glad that I left Gluten-Free Baking Classics on my wish list.
I cracked it open on Christmas morning, started reading the introduction chapters, and became more and more excited. Roberts really digs into the science behind gluten-free baking. She doesn’t just say “xanthan gum is needed to replace gluten” – she details what happens in baked goods when you use too much and too little xanthan gum. Also, she notes that the taste you miss the most is the flavor of wheat itself. In comparison, the gluten-free flours are relatively transparent, so other flavors like extracts will shine through more. I also plan on using some of her tips on converting wheat-based recipes to gluten-free to fix my recipe for Cran-Orange Muffins to get the texture I want (using canola oil instead of butter/buttery spread, increasing the leavening agents).
In going through the recipes, I found only 21 recipes that didn’t need adapting. That’s because I’ve found in my experiments that milk really helps to smooth out the texture of gluten-free foods. Still, I feel up for trying out another 60 recipes that just need a few ingredients substituted. I am grateful that Roberts mentioned that others have made her recipes dairy-free, so that gives me confidence that my trials will work well. I’ve already adapted her cinnamon rolls with success.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is cooking gluten-free. However, I must mention that this is more of an intermediate level gluten-free cookbook. The front of the book contains three different flour mixes: an all purpose mix containing brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour; and two bread flour mixes that contain millet flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch, potato starch, and tapioca flour in different ratios. Other recipes will occasionally call for sweet rice flour (which when I omitted in my cinnamon rolls gave me a more biscuit like texture) or teff flour. All these flours can get overwhelming, to a beginner. But since I’ve been baking gluten-free for over a year, this is just what I need to take my baking, and my blog, to the next level.