Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gluten Free Cookbook Review

Howdy Y'all! It has certainly been a while since I have posted. Mainly because of my focus to run the Chicago Marathon. With that out of the way and actually surviving I can now focus on more important things. Like food. Did I mention totally awesome and incredible food? To be more specific. Bread. Lots and lots of bread. Now, I was lucky enough to be contacted to do a review on a recently published gluten free bread recipe book Gluten Free Bread more than 100 Artisan Loaves for a Healthier Life by Ellen Brown. Here is what is so exciting....over 100 DIFFERENT and might I add very unique and delicious bread recipes. This is not your dry, crumbly, might work better as a coaster gluten free bread recipes that us Celiacs and anti-glutites have come to know all too well. This book has many varieties and Artisan breads that we normally have to go without.

What caught my attention when I first was the author's preface...Bread is the staff of life. It is the essential food. The first petition in the Lord's Prayer "Give us this day, our daily bread." It's not "give us this day our daily banana smoothie." I had to chuckle at that last sentence lol! For people like me who has relatively given up bread and having the experience of enjoying a fresh out of the oven warm slice of bread and butter, this book is truly a blessing. Yes, we can buy a frozen brick, and might I add SMALL, of gluten free bread at most grocery stores, but honestly....why would we want to pay nearly $8 for bread that is full of refined starches and made months previously? In my book, that's just silly. So, I normally just go without, which I know many of us do. Now, it's not to say I haven't tried my hand at TRYING to make gluten free bread at home. Lets just say.....It has not been one of my crowning achievements lol! There are some really great things that I love about this book. First off, each bread recipe has healthy whole grain and protein packed bean flours which not only add amazing taste, but GREAT nutrition. Next (and honestly, this is my favorite part), each recipe has it's own particular blend of flours. I completely agree with the creator of this cook book that there is NO magical blend of gluten free flours. For each loaf to turn out amazing and and JUST like it's gluten filled counterpart, there needs to be a specific ratio of particular flours. What also is exciting is for EACH recipe, the author has included two types of measurement per ingredient of each recipe. Because of the dynamics of gluten free cooking, sometimes using the standard cup/spoon measurements will not lend an optimal outcome, SO she has included the weight to use for each ingredient along with the standard cup/spoon measurement. Now, honestly, I took the lazy man's way and just used my cups and spoons for each recipe I tried. BUT, I have been leaning toward using weight measurements in my gluten free baking as I know it provides more exact amounts required. As grateful as I am for the two sets of measurements I can only imagine the work this woman went into to create each recipe. Way to go Ellen!!

Now, I tried my hand and three of the recipes. All of which turned out fabulously. Well, aside from the white sandwich bread (which was due to MY fault at letting it rise in too warm of a location. I will be giving the sandwich bread a second attempt and am very excited to see the results. Now, that being said, the flavor and texture was amazing on this bread and I can't wait to dig into a big ol' cold cut sandwich using my very own homemade bread.

The first recipe I whipped up was obviously the White Sandwich Bread. Now, like I said, the end result of the loaf really had nothing to do with the recipe itself. It had more to do with my house being FREEZING cold and me letting it rise in my oven which I had warmed up. Unfortunately it was too warm and my dough rose a bit TOO much and proceeded to overflow a bit like molten lava out of a volcano haha! Still, the end result was very delicious, it just lacked the "pretty factor" so no picture was taken.

Recipe #2 I tried out is the Multiseed Bread. Holy heck on fire. This one was fabulous! I have really missed a good hearty whole grain bread filled to the brim with seeds and grains. My family loves Dave's Killer bread which to me looks and smells AMAZING. Boy, there have been times I have considered taking a big ol' bite out of one of those pieces, but the end result has obviously kept those cravings at bay. Well, not anymore. This bread was so fun to make and SO easy! What I really appreciated is the author's use of ground up chia seeds as the binding agent in the bread. So not only do we not need xanthun gum which lends absolutely NO nutritional value, but we now have a binder AND all the nutritional punch that chia seeds offer. Yet another thumbs up for Ellen Brown :) This loaf is also a quick bread and no yeast or time to rise was needed.

  Recipe #3 is the Beer Bread recipe. I myself have never tried beer bread. However, I have two dear friends that are always raving about tasty warm freshly baked beer bread. So, I was very excited when I saw a gluten free beer bread version in this book. Let me tell you. Beer Bread IS rave worthy :) I made a fresh loaf to go with a spicy batch of chili and Oh MY Goodness. Perfect combination.

And here we have all my lovely leftover beer bread drying to be used for Thanksgiving's gluten free stuffing. Yet another wonderful suggestion from the author (since there is just no way I could eat that entire loaf)

In closing....I love this book. I really do. Now, I have in NO way been paid or coached to add a positive review on this book. All opinions expressed are my own. This book is wonderful and I enjoyed trying new recipes and look forward to trying more. Plus.....let me tell you, there is a downright GENIUS bagel recipe in here that I will be sharing in the future. Thanks as always for reading my blog and I look forward to sharing more healthy and tasty gluten free recipes with you all.

Jill ~The Pink Cowgirl~