- Series: King Arthur Flour Cookbooks
- Hardcover: 544 pages
- Publisher: Countryman Press; 1st edition (October 9, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0881507199
- ISBN-13: 978-0881507195
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.9 x 10.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 228 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks) Hardcover – October 9, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
There's only so much room on the kitchen bookshelf for those 600-page baking bibles on the kitchen bookshelf, but this one's worth its weight in whole wheat flour. This fun, easy-to-follow tome is broken down into 11 basic chapters (including Yeast Breads, Cakes, Pastry and Pies), and will satisfy both health conscious bakers (Spelt Pita, Sesame Barley Bread) as well as the more gluttonous (Carmel Blitz Torte, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Triple Ginger Pancakes). Methods such as kneading dough and folding pie crust are depicted with easy-to-follow black-and-white illustrations. Sidebar topics, however, are a little haphazard—ranging from Enjoying Soybeans to Organic Plastic—yet recipe headnotes are helpful and worth the ink. Each recipe ends with detailed nutrition information, broken down per serving (including caffeine, calcium and iron amounts). In the end, this is a good buy for more than just the whole-grain enthusiast. (Oct.)
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“[W]orth its weight in whole wheat flour. This fun, easy-to-follow tome is broken down into 11 basic chapters....recipe headnotes are helpful and worth the ink.”
- Publishers Weekly
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1. Breakfasts (e.g. spelt pancakes, making your own whole grain pancake mix, Banana-oat pancakes, various waffle recipes, and making your own whole grain granola;
2. Quickbreads (loaves, muffins, biscuits, scones, coffeecakes, all made without yeast)
3. Crisps, cobblers and puddings (yummy and easy-to-make fruit desserts mostly, and then puddings made with brown rice, whole corn meal, quinoa, or whole grain bread as a base)
4. Flatbreads (including pizzas) and crackers
5. Yeast breads (Including "Easiest 100% Whole Wheat Bread Ever" - no kneading required, stir it up and bake in a loaf pan - other loaf pan and free-formed loaves, rolls, etc)
7. Cookies and bars
9. Pies and quiches
11. The whole grains (A comprehensive description of 8 whole grains that are readily-available in N. American stores, including their history, their varieties, and what sort of recipes they work in and why. The recipes you can use each in depends upon qualities of the grain like protein content, moisture-absorbing ability, flavor, etc. Featured grains include wheat, oats, corn/maize, barley, rye, spelt, buckwheat, rice. Each of these descriptions is followed by a recipe chosen to "showcase" the grain's most important features for you. Following those 8 grains, there are short paragraphs about some grains that were not so common in 2006 when the book came out - those are amaranth, teff, triticale, quinoa, millet, and kamut.
After those 11 chapters there are appendices, including a general guide to cooking a pot of each grain in water on the stovetop (how long each takes and how much water to use, basically, when you want to eat the grain plain as a side dish); where to buy the ingredients and baking equipment used in the recipes, if not at your local stores; a glossary of baking terms; and a good index.
Some general observations: The book is designed to teach you how to bake with whole grain, and it's extremely effective for that, IMO. There are plenty of easy recipes for beginners, and they work up to triple-layer cakes that I would probably never attempt. There is lots of info about how each grain behaves in cooking in combination with other ingredients. The authors explain why you need some wheat flour for breads and cakes that need to rise, even if you use another grain as the main one. They supply guidance on using other grains for cookies and quick breads, where rising is not so much needed and you can use other grains 100% and do without the structure of wheat.
Most of the yeast bread and roll recipes in this book use a method that includes lengthy "rising" periods for the yeast, and kneading of the dough. If you want to try out a simpler method, I recommend "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day," by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, which is here: http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0312545525?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 -- But the King Arthur book is far more comprehensive in its coverage of baking with whole grains, as you can see by the chapter titles I wrote out above. Lots more than breads in this book!
This is not a "health food" book. White and brown cane sugars, and some white flour are used in some of the recipes. This book starts from the premise that you want to eat delicious food, and incorporates whole grains as much as possible within that concept. Many recipes use 100% whole grain, but others use some unbleached all-purpose flour, where it's needed to get a moist crumb, a good rise, or other qualities that the King Arthur tasters thought were important to the finished product. If you have some experience at baking with alternative sweeteners, or are willing to experiment, then you could use these recipes as a guide for their whole grain expertise and sub in your own favorite sweetener.
Every recipe is followed by a complete analysis of the nutrition per serving, including the number of grams of whole grain the recipe contains per serving. (I always appreciate that in a cookbook.) There are few photos, and really they could not have had more because the book is quite large, as it is. Where needed, they have photos and drawings in the margins and in boxes around the recipes, that are quite good at illustrating techniques (like letter-folding a yeast dough) or what a batter or dough will look like at a specific stage in preparation.
On a final note, one of the things I like about this book is that the recipes do not harangue you to use King Arthur brand flour. There is information about how their brand compares to other flours on the market, particularly in their protein content, and there is info about how to compensate with increasing or decreasing the liquid used in a recipe, if you use a different flour. Then they leave it up to you.
The recipes are interspersed with helpful little informational boxes on technique or ingredient choice relevant to a nearby recipe, like what kind of apples to use for certain things, the best way to cut biscuits and why, or when to take muffins out of the pan. Throughout the book, they are very good about explaining why they call for a certain ingredient or tell you to do something one way rather than another.
Many of the recipes, especially in the cookie and bread sections, require an overnight rest for the dough or the final product, after baking, so if you are looking for something to whip up for a quick afternoon treat, you may find what you had in mind wouldn't be ready for another 24 hours. It depends a lot on the section, though; some contain mostly recipes that need to rest and some have very few. Allowing them the full resting time called for in the recipe really improves their texture dramatically, so I have started planning my desserts a bit in advance.
The only other thing I can think of that might bother some readers is that it is not one of the coffee table style cookbooks that have become fashionable lately. It is printed in dark brown font on cream pages, with line drawings when illustrations are necessary to show a certain step. The hardcover edition has a sturdy binding that does not develop unsightly creases, and that stays open on the counter. There is a section in the middle with color photographs of several recipes, but most recipes you just have to imagine. I find that the introductory paragraph at the top of each recipe usually gives me a pretty good idea of how it will turn out, and don't mind the lack of pictures.
My favorite recipes so far are the whole grain pancake mix, the spelt pancakes, corn and green chili muffins, cherry-chocolate scones, brownies, soft barley sugar cookies, and whole wheat pita. The whole grain pancake mix is amazing! I make a batch every month to keep in the fridge, and we have waffles or pancakes on the weekends. It's foolproof for groggy breakfast makers, and tastes better than any other pancakes or waffles I've encountered. The recipe doesn't give instructions for converting it to waffle batter, but I just add a tablespoon of melted butter to the batter and put it in the waffle iron.