- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Artisan; 1st Edition edition (October 28, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1579655130
- ISBN-13: 978-1579655136
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours Hardcover – October 28, 2014
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“Authoritative. . . . In [Medrich’s] hands, earthy teff flour, nutty sorghum flour, sweet coconut flour and others are not just substitutes for wheat flour; they add complex and fascinating notes to baked goods of all kinds.”
—New York Times
“A sophisticated (and decidedly un-hippie) primer on using alternative flours like corn, oat, buckwheat and sorghum to add complexity to baked goods.”
—Wall Street Journal
“New, assiduously tested recipes for cakes, cookies, biscuits, and more. The book’s genius is that . . . Alice began by isolating the best properties of a host of nonwheat flours, then created treats that spotlight their flavors. The results are delicious, and just happen to be gluten-free.”
—Martha Stewart Living
"Quietly revolutionary. . . . [The] thinking baking person's gluten-free cookbook."
“An entirely new approach to baking without wheat. This book is a game changer.”
“Demystifies the flavor and texture properties of the flours, with recipes that range from a dinner-party-worthy chocolate-chestnut soufflé cake to a raisin-studded dark and spicy pumpkin loaf for all-day snacking. Classic favorites like brownies, cookies and basic cakes are also part of the mix.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Flavor Flours . . . will liven up your baking routine, whether or not you’re gluten-free.”
“When I hear that Alice Medrich . . . has a new book out, it’s all I can do to keep myself from running to the nearest bookstore and shouting, ‘Shut up and take my money!’ at whoever’s behind the counter.”
“Her spin on gluten-free baking actually improves cakes, scones, and cookies.”
“Alice Medrich introduces us to a new round of flours, revising the classics as well as creating a spectacular, contemporary range of desserts for today’s tastes using natural grains to dial up flavors. Flavor Flours breaks new ground for bakers, and each page tempts with a delicious new discovery.”
—David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen
“I’m thrilled that Alice Medrich, one of America’s premier bakers, has embraced teff, buckwheat, oat, and rice flours. She understands that these flours are far more than substitutes for wheat flour. These flavor flours are stars on their own, full of character. Her recipes are sure to entice you to move into the kitchen and start baking.”
—Shauna James Ahern, author of Gluten-Free Girl Every Day
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Top Customer Reviews
These recipes embrace the taste of flavorful flours. I made a moist and delicious oat flour sponge cake that only contained oat flour, sugar, clarified butter, salt and eggs.
Usually a combination of a flavor flour and rice flour is used for most recipes.
The majority of the recipes don’t use xanthan gum.
The recipes range from easy to complex.
The cakes I baked were moist, delicious and not crummy or dry. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I pressed a gluten-free sponge cake with a fork and it sprung back without crumbling. I made a jelly roll cake and the cake rolled-up beautifully. It didn’t break or tear.
I’ve been baking gluten-free for about 6 years. I’ve never encountered recipes like these. The recipes weren’t developed to imitate wheat-based recipes. Rather, the recipes rely on and embrace the unique characteristics of non-wheat flours.
The good - a few basic recipes to experiment with, a sponge cake recipe for every flour presented, good overview of each flour at chapter start, nice photos and appealing recipes, thorough guidance in introduction and within each recipe, doesn't require all-purpose flour mix
The bad - larger emphasis than some might prefer on nuts and cream cheese, not all oat brands are gluten-free, no index in kindle version, does not give details on problem-solving performed by author for specific flours, weight measurements are only for (most) dry ingredients
I have a few friends who are gluten-free, so I am always looking for new recipes to try that everyone can enjoy instead of having to bake them something "special" that doesn't turn out as well as the wheat-full item I make. All these recipes are gluten-free (assuming you use gluten-free oats), but many are not nut-free. In case that's something you worry about, a rough estimate is that about 60 of these recipes contain nuts, which is roughly half of all the recipes. Also, cream cheese is used as a glue for quite a few recipes, serving a purpose similar to xantham gum, which could be a problem for dairy-free or cream-cheese-disliking people.
Alice Medrich's recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake is my go-to recipe for delicious, gluten-free chocolate dessert, so I figured she would have some good ideas. I absolutely love the fact that her first step in creating these recipes was to bake a génoise with every single flour independently, and observe how each flour behaved differently, and we get the perfected recipes here. I do wish that she had not chosen to leave out the details of testing and problem-solving for each of the flours. I feel like that could have made this book exceptional and the foremost source for baking with a single grain. While it's unfortunate that I will have to muddle through without knowing the details of what she's already tried and failed, I am reasonably happy with what is presented here. I really like not having to make an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, so I am happy to follow Alice's lead in using just one or two flours in one recipe. It's exciting to learn more about the individual flavor of each grain.
This book is laid out by flours, rather than by baked-good type. I am not sure why, but there does not appear to be an index in the kindle version. There should be a general and flour-based index (there is in the print version) that comes after the acknowledgements, but my kindle version just has conversion charts and an about the author. Across all the flours, there are 3 biscuit recipes, 3 cobbler recipes, 4 brownie recipes, ~51 cake recipes (in part because there is a génoise recipe for each flour), 11 frosting/glaze recipes, 39 cookie recipes, 11 tart recipes, 7 pudding recipes, 3 cracker recipes, a "general guideline" recipe for pancakes, waffles and crepes, as well as some other miscellaneous recipes (scones, soufflé, beignets). There is no recipe list at the beginning of each chapter, so it might be a bit hard to find what you are looking for in the kindle version.
At the beginning of each chapter, Alice tells us what the flavor affinities are for each flour, how to obtain it, and gives a brief history and description - plus a photo. One thing that I've noticed in reading through these recipes is that a substantial proportion of these recipes (especially the cookies, scones, tarts, and biscuits) require either a longish (but unattended) wait time, either prior to baking or after baking but before eating. There is roughly one photo to go along with every two or three recipes. Each recipe gives the volume measurements; only the flours, sugar, butter, and nuts/dry fruit also have a weight measurement. This is a bit odd since such an emphasis is placed on having exactly the perfect level of hydration in the batter, yet all liquid ingredients and also spices, yeast, salt, and fruit are left to be measured out with potentially lower precision than the flour.
The reason I still like this book, despite my misgivings, is that there are some really standout recipes with beautiful photos and there do not appear to be any obvious problems with recipe editing or measurements (none that I've caught anyways). I'm excited to try the lemon tart (corn flour), butterscotch pudding (rice flour), poppy seed pound cake (oat/rice flour), and sorghum layer cake with walnut praline buttercream (sorghum/rice). Alice writes her recipes and guidance very carefully here and I've never made a flop from any of her cookbooks, so I expect the trend will continue, now with gluten-free deliciousness.
It is not allergen free. It is not low carb. It does result in delicious desserts that TASTE JUST AS DELICIOUS as the old, glutenous cakes I used to eat. I really needed the emotional pick-me-up of feeling like delicious food was available to me at this time in my life, with a medically-required, limited diet.
In my case, I am not sensitive to BUTTER even though I must avoid all other dairy, so I still find many, many recipes available to me in "Flavor Flours." I bought the book, read it cover to cover, bookmarked many pages, but have tried only two recipes so far. (I need to buy more equipment as I used to purchase ready-made cakes instead of baking at home.)
After about 10 months of a major health crisis that was impacting every hour of every day of my life in a significant way, getting only moderate help from drugs and wishing to avoid ramping up to heavier duty medications with even more severe side effects, I undertook an "elimination diet" with my specialist's (rheumatologist) blessing, assistance from my primary care doctor (a referral) and an integrative medicine nutritionist helping me design my personalized program. Three months in, I've reduced my pain and some of the limitations on my activities while also reducing my need for pain medication (almost completely!) and halving my dose of maintenance medication. This is wonderful... but I've also been forced to cook, from scratch at home, almost every single bit of food I've eaten in this time. I'm proud of what I've accomplished, but I'm not an enthusiastic cook and I'm very, VERY tired of working so hard to produce food, most of which is only tolerable to my palate, not delicious.
This book isn't going to cure me of my boredom with this burden of cooking or revolutionize my daily meals. It isn't meant to. Simply reading it was enough to give me a mental pick-me-up, though. I loved the author's scientific approach to discovering the character of each featured flour. Baking the same type of cake with each strikes me as elegant investigation, not a waste of time. I may try each one myself so I can learn more myself.
After my first baking attempt (buckwheat pumpkin bread), my strong liking of the book climbed to a definite 5 star love. Even though I hate baking from a Kindle cookbook, the process was a triumph. The layout of the recipe was manageable on an iPad; the directions were thorough but not wordy, telling me PRECISELY what I needed to know but wasting none of my time. I feel empowered, by this book, to undertake more exotic baking processes than would normally appeal to me. This book made me very, very happy, and I also got a delicious dessert.
I feel compelled to offer a little more detail about my lack of interest in cooking. To be clear, I am not actually without cooking skills, or "bad at cooking"--I just don't like it. I have successfully baked bread, I am more likely to make food from scratch than from boxes, etc. What I don't typically have is enough interest in cooking to take extra steps where a simpler process results in an acceptable result. (For example, if browning meat before cooking stew in my crockpot makes excellent food, but skipping that step makes good food, I will often choose the simpler technique with the less sumptuous result.) On the other hand, I have an educated opinion on what constitutes healthy eating, for myself and for my family, and I choose high quality food regardless of expense. I very much enjoy fine dining and will pay for the privilege. I'm not unaware of what makes excellent food, but I'm not usually the SOURCE of said delicacies. That said, most of my forays into more complex cooking have been in the baking arena, because I love sweets and prefer the oven and "closed cooking environments" to anything on the stovetop.
I mention this to make clear that this cookbook is inspirational for someone like me--perhaps "well-read but functionally lazy" is a fair description of my culinary level?