Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies
by Dr. Jean McFadden Layton and Linda Larsen
Wiley Publishing ($19.99)
I love Dummies books. They ask their authors to analyze everything in terms that most of us can understand. You can learn a lot from a book like that. This volume contains 200 pages of recipes, but the pure-gold sections are up front: “What is Gluten-Free Baking?” (100 pages) and “The Nuts and Bolts of Gluten-Free Baking” (50 pages). I constantly refer to their explanations of GF ingredients when modifying other recipes or inventing my own. Excellent charts include “Basic Ratios for Common Baked Goods” – Flour/Liquid/Egg/Fat/Sugar ratios for baked goods as diverse as biscotti, pancakes, pound cake, and yeast breads. Plenty of tips, lots of troubleshooting lists.
My Take: Dummies strongly recommends using a scale to weigh GF ingredients, since ingredient substitutions are best made according to weight. Grumbling, I went to the store and bought a scale. It helps, especially when mixing flour blends. Like other GF cookbooks, Dummies relies heavily on its own custom blends, which is fine if you bake mostly from this book. Unfortunately, I’ve been only about 75% impressed with the recipes I tried. But this book is a KEEPER for the introductory sections!
Bottom line: I suggest buying several GF cookbooks, and be sure to include some with this kind of excellent introductory material. Eventually, you’ll have a set of go-to recipes that work in your kitchen, at your altitude, to your taste.