Most helpful positive review
102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
the best book out there
on May 10, 2002
I'm not a celiac, but I am allergic to wheat, so for many years, I have sought out gluten-free recipes for the breads and pastries I've been deprived of. After trying countless recipes turning out crumbly cookies, hard, dry bread, and odd-tasting pastries, I found Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly, the best book out there. The results of these recipes taste as good as (no kidding) the ones served at a high-end pastry shop.
No wonder, since the author was trained not only at Le Cordon Bleu, but also at Le Notre Patissier, the leading pastry school. She has the experience of running her own restaurant, cafe, and catering businesses as well as teaching others how to cook. She'd been exploring gluten-free baking for her clientele even before her son and daughter were diagnosed as celiacs! All these credentials add up to a well-tested, easy-to-understand, and enlightening collection of recipes. But the highest recommendation comes from my wheat-eating friends, who really DON'T realize that anything is missing or "weird" about these treats, something they've never been able to say about my past efforts, despite claims by the authors of those recipes that they'd never tell the difference.
Reilly's training allows her to explain how certain classic baking techniques can provide air and lightness to gluten-free recipes, which can otherwise suffer from the density of particular alternative ingredients. She reveals which ingredients can create elasticity and provide structure in lieu of gluten, so that readers can feel empowered knowing not only how to make these recipes, but also why they work. I gained so much confidence in baking that I even made the scrumptious Black Forest Cake, a labor I probably wouldn't have even attempted in my wheat-eating days. (By the way, it's totally worth the effort.) Amazingly, the recipes range from the simplest brownies to baklava, so there's something for all palates and skill levels.
With all due respect to Bette Hagman, author of The Gluten-Free Gourmet books and an undisputed pioneer in the gluten-free quest, I would love to see Reilly's take on yeast breads as well as on gluten-free cooking. I think there's enough of the gluten-free pie to go around, and all of us in the wheat-free community (and our friends) would benefit.