The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread
by Bette Hagman
Holt Publishing ($23.99)
The first thing I check when buying a gluten-free baking book is its charts. How informative are they? Do all their baking mixes require bean flours (not recommended for the initial phase of a FODMAP diet) or brown rice flour (I seem unable to digest this)? GFGBB includes excellent charts explaining flour types (taste, combines-with, best-for, used alone?, 1-cup weight, and other suggestions for 7 flours and 6 starches). Most recipes are based on a group of finely crafted blends, each blend created to behave in a particular kind of bread, muffin, etc. Chapters include: Yeast Breads, Sweet Yeast Breads, Yeast-Free Loaf Breads, Rolls and Buns, Specialty Breads, Muffins, Breakfast Breads, Crackers, and Leftovers.
My take: When learning to bake gluten-free, I found it helpful to do more than simply look for recipes that worked—but to read a lot and try to figure out WHY they worked. Ms. Hagman’s blends can help a beginning GF baker understand how to mingle various flours, starches, and gums for different types of baked goods. It was frustrating not to be able to use many of the flour-mix formulas (she loves bean flour), but a FODMAPer learns to pick what works, and her “French Bread/Pizza Mix” (page 190) works. With no changes whatsoever, I turned out a very decent FODMAP-friendly pizza.
Bottom line: Not FODMAP-essential like Sue Shepherd’s books, but worth a place on most gluten-free bookshelves. As always, watch the ingredients and evaluate your own sensitivities.