Having to switch to gluten free baking was challenging enough, but I have to avoid dairy, nuts and nut flours, soy, too. Baked goods have tried my patience for the past 8.5 years. Because my child has sensitivity to soy, I can't buy a lot of GFCF mixes that are on the market. And many years I lost count of the absolute flops that went straight to the trash can. GFCF baked goods can be gritty and gummy, especially when you are avoiding eggs, too. (Because we rotate eggs, sometimes I need to bake without them.)
The demands of a child with autism monopolized my time, and I have, over the years, found a cake mix, a brownie mix and a pancake mix that I like and have stuck with them, and that's pretty much it.
Gluten free flours, xanthan gum, and all the "tricks" to GFCFSFEF+++ baking are expensive. They take up a lot of space in kitchen cupboards. Spending the money and time to try a recipe only to have turn out gritty or gummy is frustrating, and I admit, I gave up in a big way. (Gluten was the first big allergen that we removed 8.5 years ago, and I remember it being so very challenging at the time. Little did I know I'd have to remove a lot more and that I would envy folks who are simply gluten free -- I think that would be so easy!)
I simply never understood the science to baking GFCFSFEF+++ breads, cookies, cakes and other baked goods. I didn't have the time or the background to try to figure it out.
Until now. Now, I'm getting an education about the alchemy of baking without traditional baking ingredients like milk, wheat and eggs: The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook, How To Bake without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree nuts, and Sesame by Cybele Pascal. Cybele Pascal is a chef who happens to be the mother of a child with severe food allergies. She went to work adapting all of our favorite baked items and put her collection of successes into a beautiful cookbook. And yes, there are color photos of some of the recipes (I like photos!).
I. Adore. This. Cookbook! This book is not just a collection of recipes. Instead, Pascal takes the time to teach me about baking allergen free with almost the same restrictions we have at my house. The section called, "The Dry Goods Pantry" in Chapter 1, Stocking your Allergen-Free Pantry, combined with all of Chapter 2, "How To Bake Allergen-Free" provide a mini-baking school, and I would like these pages + the resource section in the back of the book available in a purse sized tri-fold to take with me to the grocery store. Pascal offers suggestions for replacing eggs, dairy, and wheat flour that have me looking through "regular" cookbooks with a new perspective.