76 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Perfect baking book for the gluten-intolerant,
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This review is from: Easy Gluten-Free Baking (Spiral-bound)
I started a gluten-free diet about a month ago and, as a serious baker, was gravely concerned about my ability to reproduce all my favorite foods. I researched and purchased many books to help me with the transition. This book has been, by far, the most successful and reliable. There has not been a single failure, and several recipes have become fast favorites, competing with or even exceeding past baking favorites made with wheat. Also, the book has a helpful lay-flat spiral binding and some lovely, always appreciated pictures.
I'd say two things cause this book to stand out above the competition. First, the recipes are obviously exceptionally well tested. Second, these recipes are carefully calibrated to produce foods that very closely resemble the classic baked goods most Americans were likely familiar with before a gluten free diet. If you're craving chocolate chip cookies, pancakes, or chocolate cupcakes, this book will give you versions that, frankly, no one would guess lack wheat. The author herself is not gluten-intolerant, so she eats and compares 'regular' versions and gluten free versions. I think this perhaps gives her a leg-up in reproducing wheat based foods so exactly, without letting wishful thinking or shifting taste buds influence her judgments. There is even a chapter devoted to replicating store-bought products like twinkies, oreos and graham crackers. Although this book would be perfect for a family with celiac children, or all-american tastes, the basic recipes and techniques are so well-tested that it would be very useful to the celiac gourmet looking for help adapting the base recipes in his or her favorite creations. [The author also has a paid web site with more well-tested recipes and some product reviews. Although somewhat expensive, I have ultimately found this to be a good value given the quality of the recipes.]
The 'classic american' focus of the book is it's main virtue, because most celiacs will be craving just these kinds of foods. However, this is not the book to turn to if you are looking to make healthy, low-calorie, or 'whole-grain' type recipes, multi-component five star restaurant style desserts, or want to experiment with the newest, most unusual or health-food-store type ingredients like stevia, amaranth flour, or mesquite. Most recipes use some combination of white rice flour, cornstarch, sweet rice flour (and also xanthan gum)-- i have often substituted brown rice flour with great success, just to avoid a totally refined sugar/starch bomb (and I have found that purchasing finely ground rice flour does make a difference for products like cakes). Otherwise, most of the ingredients are pretty standard ones: butter, sugar, eggs, baking powder, cinnamon etc.. There are occasional uses of ingredients like shortening and jello (in poke cake), but not very often. Except for those who object to refined products like sugar and cornstarch, it's hard to imagine a gluten intolerant baker who wouldn't find this book extremely helpful.
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Initial post: Sep 1, 2011 2:42:59 PM PDT
Thank you for taking the time to write this review, and, to comment on the paid site. I was on the fence about joining because I didn't want to pay to join a site to get recipes which may already be in the book, or, shared elsewhere, although I don't begrudge her the right to make a living from her website. I'm glad to know you found it worthwhile. I also thought you really hit the nail on the head with your observation concerning her ability to test without bias because she can eat and compare gluten-free and gluten-filled recipes with a keen eye and tongue. I agree this is a major advantage for all of us.
Posted on Nov 26, 2011 4:13:29 PM PST
Newmie the cat says:
Thank you for letting us know what kind of flours the author uses to make the GF creatons. I know I won't be able to use the book because I also have to eat low carb, so rice flour, starch, etc. is not a viable obtion for me.
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