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Gluten-Free Baking For Dummies
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As someone who has made many a gluten free recipe I was excited to get this book.

If you are new to gluten free anything this is probably the best book I've seen on the who, what, why and how of gluten intolerance and how to bake for it. If you're an old hand at gluten free, you'll probably learn more reading this and would recommend it still.

Let me say after reading it, as with all gluten free books, you need to realize you're going to have to spend a bit of money on making the flour mixes.

The popular flours are sorghum, potato starch, tapioca, sweet rice and brown rice along with a few others. This book is no exception. Some of these can be hard to find locally, and now that the gluten free way is exploding through the food world the prices are going up. Also, regardless of any book you have to fine tune recipes for your weather, quality of products and altitude.

Why do I say this? I'm not trying to turn you from this book, honestly I think it's the best out there on information and wealth of recipes. For me though, I find myself baking on occasion to try something out, the rest of the time I buy mixes or GF cookies already made. It's just cheaper than storing pounds of flour mix. If you love to bake and you are gluten free, then go for it!

The first half of the book is the who, what and why.

Chapter 1: The challenges and rewards

Chapter 2: Why Bake Gluten Free?

Chapter 3: Understanding the Rules of Baking

Chapter 4: Unique Issues of Gluten-Free Baking

Chapter 5: Building Flavor and Structure without Wheat

Chapter 6: Understanding Dough

Chapter 7: Nutrition, Health, and the Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Chapter 8: Keeping a Gluten-Free Kitchen

Chapter 9: Converting Favorite Recipes to Gluten-Free

I like that they recommend you weigh your flours rather than use a measuring cup. This is chemistry dear readers, these flours are not wheat and to get them wrong means iffy results.

The second half is 150 pages worth of recipes. While I would have liked all of the mix recipes to be at the front of the recipe section (because some recipes combine mixes together) I can live with it where they are, it's just bothersome.

Example: white flour mix - first recipe in the book contains: tapioca flour, potato starch and sweet rice flour.

Their cake mix - a few pages later contains: sugar, white flour mix, whole-grain flour mix, baking powder, salt and butter.

So you need two mix recipes to make a third recipe. Annoying, but normal for the GF way.

Their range of recipes is amazing, cakes, brownies, pancakes, muffins, scones, quick bread, rolls, pizza dough (that one's big for me).

Not all of their recipes require the mixes. Their very lovely peanut butter brownie requires almond flour, sweet rice flour and xanthan gum. (xanthan gum is pricey, but a little goes a long way).

The recipes I've tried out of it came out well for GF baking.

5 stars. Overall the best and most informative gluten free book I've seen on the market - and it's all about baking! I would recommend this to all my friends as the first book (and maybe the only) on GF baking. Well done.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First of all, this is a five star book on its own, if for nothing else than the clear explanations it provides about ingredients and their impact on the baking process and results. Although virtually every GF baking book will tell you to add guar gum or xantham gum to a recipe, this is the only book we've found that tells you WHY. It has clear, detailed explanations of how to make cookies chewy or cake-like or crisp, how to weigh flour instead of measuring it in a cup (very important for gluten-free baking), and much more. I can't stress how important it is to understand these issues: gluten-free baked goods can be delicious, but they require a bit more effort. This book explains it all in language anyone can understand. Five stars for the whole package: recipes, theory and specific techniques.

You can build a GF baking library around the reference material in this book. Here are our recommendations for other starting volumes:

Bread: 125 Best Gluten-Free Bread Machine Recipes
Bread: The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread: More Than 200 Wheat-Free Recipes
Deserts & Pastries: Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free: 75 Recipes for Irresistible Gluten-Free Desserts and Pastries
Cookies: The Ultimate Gluten-Free Cookie Book

You can't go wrong with any of these books. We have them all. And we are enjoying a LOT of gluten free baking.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 26, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great place to start for breaking down the science of gluten-free baking. Unlike general wheat-flour baking, gluten-free pratically requires a degree in chemistry to create decent flours to bake with as simply swapping one flour for another does not work.

Many gluten-free mixes and baking books are not very good either as it seems that they were slapped together just to make a quick buck and do not take into consideration flavor or elevation, convection vs. standard, etc.

Thankfully the Dummies book is more centered on breaking down the science for creating your own flours and where and how they might be used which really is a greater perogative than the recipes, which quite frankly, once you have mastered a baking mix that works for you (in my case 7000+ above sea-level & does not crumble into sand.) you can adapt other recipes such as pizzas, pie fillings, etc.

I can not stress enough the usefullness of this book & for anyone ready to attempt gluten-free baking this is the best place to start.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 19, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In the near five years I've been gluten free, baking is one of those things that has slipped out of my kitchen over the years. I used to bake before going GF, but having to switch flours has really thrown a wrench in the pie crust, so to speak. Baking by weight has really helped me, and this book elaborates on that baking theory. Weight baking is important for GF baking much more so than for normal baking.
This book gives you the "why" behind many of the techniques used and gives simple explanations of the kitchen chemistry that happens when these recipes are made. There are many recipes that aren't recipes at all in the book, more of a guideline for the baking with the use of ratios so you can easily modify the recipe to produce as little or as much of the product that you need. It's brilliant.
I'm normally hesitant to purchase this line of books because I feel they are generally geared at the very beginners of a subject matter, but this is a truly indispensable product for any gluten free kitchen! I reference it all the time and have made some pretty successful pie crusts using the techniques and recipes found in this book. Looking forward to making biscuits for the first time!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies is, in my opinion, a keeper and a book you will definitely want to have in your arsenal of gluten-free cookbooks! If this is your very first book on baking gluten-free baking ~ EXCELLENT! You will truly understand and enjoy the text. Several years ago, when our family went gf (gluten-free) due to gluten sensitivity, not Celiac, we were a bit overwhelmed with all the varieties of flours and combinations necessary to bake gf. Not to mention weighing them!! Needless to say, we had lots of flopped baked goods. Especially breads. Back up to the measuring thing. You absolutely, 110% NEED to weigh your flours. Really. Ounces are okay; grams are better. You NEED to let the flours (most of them) meld together (preferably) overnight. The flour recipes all make large batches...along the lines of a 5lb. bag of regular flour, which is great, because you have everything all ready mixed the next time you want to bake! We keep our flours in glass canning jars in the fridge. However all ingredients really *should* be at room temperature before baking. Greasing pans is *okay*...parchment paper on top of that is MUCH better:)~ especially for cookies and scones.

I also like the fact that there are some non gf baking recipes thrown in (casseroles, soufflés, etc.). They have a wonderful recipe for fruit sauce for dipping gf French toast sticks into...or pouring onto gf waffles or pancakes.

I'm sure if you are new to this stuff, you are overwhelmed with just what little I've mentioned. Don't be. Yes, it's probably all new, different and confusing. Yes, you need a variety of flours; but with this info, Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies (and the ingredients!) will be all you need to turn out successful, yummy, moist, delicious gf baked goods.

P.S. ~ The cranberry lemon cornmeal scones are to DIE for!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
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I really enjoyed the recipes in this book. The chapter on tips for baking gluten free is worth the price alone.

Highly recommended if you want creative gluten free recipes along with the "science" of how to bake successfully while gluten free. This gave me many ideas for flour substitutions in my favorite recipes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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I like this book very much... but I'm no dummy.

It gives great recipes for alternative Gluten-Free baking. This was my holiday gift to some of our friends and neighbors this year, a plate of homemade holiday goodies.

It is a bit difficult to come up with most of the ingredients out here in HEE-Haw Land, Kansas. We are very rural, but we do have a Wal-Mart out here on the High Plains, which is our only grocery store. However, they have an extremely limited selection and not very Gluten-Free friendly when it comes to shopping for both prepared foods and the ingredients to make them.

I do realize that it will be a bit more costly to create Gluten-Free foods, and I do welcome challenge, however... short of travelling 3 hours to our nearest major city or ordering the ingredients online, it will be a major challenge to overcome.

Because what I want to make today, may not be what I want to make tomorrow or next week. Time is the ultimate enemy.

Overall, the book is excellent and packed with valuable recipes and information. I look forward to incorporating and creating many of the recipes into our family diet.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 21, 2012
After reading all the reviews here I bought this thinking that finally I would get a book that would be more than decoration. I have Celia's and try not to buy items at the store because they are very expensive, and since I'm in it for life, I'd like to be able to include baking into my lifestyle.

Pros:
- This book has great information about Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance and Gluten Sensitivity.As well as references for where to find more information.
- It goes, in great depth, to discuss the many flours available for GF baking and their properties.
- It gives the weights for flours which is handy to measure while baking any recipe.

Cons:
- The recipes in the book use master mixes which are given in the book.
- The master mixes call for large amount of flours, there is the risk that if the recipes are no good you are stuck with a bunch of useless flour mix (like me!)
- Supposedly you can use these master mixes as subs in your regular baking, but I have yet to use any successfully in my baking.
- The recipes from the book I have tried so far have horrible texture (dense, gritty, bland flavor). The breads are only good for a day. Although they rise promisingly they shriveled once they are out of the oven.

I have tried the recipes over and over, and haven't had success with them. Nor the substitutions they suggest. I weighed the flours in a scale to make sure I had the right measurements to no avail and was militant about times, temperatures. Well, I can't recommend this book based on my experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
I'm new to GF food and especially baking. I love to bake with wheat and am fairly accomplished. The book cautions forget everything you've learned about baking, GF is different. This helps you thru the transition with insights about the chemistry, nutritional properties of different flours, how to make various flour mixes (which is more economical and better than pre-mixed) and great recipes. Never fear, when you need to find the unusual flour, Amazon has a reasonable source and your local Asian market will help too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 16, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great book for GF cooking. Gives the basics in why terms and helps with making the process a little easier by having the recipes for basic types of mixes and recipes that use the mixes. Many recipes that do not use the mixes are also there. It would have been nice to tie these recipes back to the mix, but baking is so precise that perhaps that was not possible. All recipes and mixes include weights for measure. I think that should be a requirement for any good cookbook for baking. Cups and tablespoons are just not accurate enough. This book is easy to read and has many good recipes in it. You will not regret this purchase in cooking GF. I have a gluten intolerant 6 yr old grandson and love to bake. I am now doing almost all my baking GF. I am having great success and he is so happy when he can eat what the rest of the family can eat. I show love with my cooking and this really says it for him and for his mom and dad. They have all expressed appreciation at my willingness to learn. And really, it is not difficult, just different.
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