Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread by Nicole Hunn


Forget everything you’ve heard about baking gluten-free bread. The revolutionary Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread gives you 100 recipes to satiate your crispy, crunchy, and doughy cravings, gluten-freely and on a shoestring budget. 

Ours is a bread-obsessed culture. Whether we’re eating it at every meal or refusing to eat it altogether, bread defines almost every diet, especially the gluten-free community that must avoid it completely. There will be no more settling for the frozen bread in natural food stores or, worse, pretending that a lettuce leaf is an acceptable alternative when making a sandwich. Readers will rejoice to finally enjoy the rolls, muffins, tortillas, naan, pita chips, scones, and breadsticks they’ve been missing—made even sweeter by the price tag. 

If you're eating gluten-free, you know the challenges of bread. You probably know where to get the packaged stuff—and you know the exorbitant cost. Maybe you've bought mixes and bread makers in a vain attempt to avoid the mystery of how to bake gluten-free at home altogether. Now, thanks to Nicole Hunn, you don't have to settle for the high price of packaged, frozen loaves. Welcome to easy, budget-friendly, delicious recipes for all your favorites, from shaped breads to flatbreads, biscuits, scones, and muffins. You'll learn to master lean crusty white bread, hearty whole-grain, fragrant cinnamon swirl, decadent cheese bread, not to mention a wild yeast starter you'll use to make everything imaginable, including a real no-rye "rye" bread. And you won't need a bread machine or any fancy supplies. Nicole covers all the essentials, including: recipes from a bread flour that makes it all work, all-purpose flour blends, a whole-grain blend, and a pastry flour; key techniques; the secrets to working ably with gluten-free dough; and even a whole section on troubleshooting, in case things go off the rails a bit. Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread tells you everything you need to know to make the artisan-style bread you've been missing—and at a fraction of the cost.

Baking gluten-free does have its challenges. Two of the main ones are the cost for commercially made gluten-free products, and the high failure rate for baking glueten-free products at home due to quick home substitutions for gluten products. Nicole Hunn tackles both in this book, and does it easy enough to make this a staple in a gluten-free kitchen.

Book Overview and Chapters

There are nine chapters in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, and the beginning chapters are important to anyone wanting to bake gluten-free. The Beginning Essentials go over such basics as flour blends, equipment, what to expect from the gluten-free bread you'll be making, rules for storing and troubleshooting when baking, and best methods for shaping the breads.

The actual recipes are divided between six chapters: Loaves of Bread; Pure Sourdough Breads; Rolls and Other Shaped Breads; Flatbreads; Yeas-Free Quick Breads; and Using the Dough (featuring recipes on how to use the bread and accompaniments for the breads).

Gluten-Free Bread Recipe Examples

Her bread recipes are pretty straight forward and cover all the basic breads you'll ever really need. If you want to experiment with your own recipes, she gives quite a few to start off with. Below is her recipe for 'high-quality' gluten-free flour which includes rice flours and potato flour, potato and tapioca starches, xanthan gum, and a powered pectin, all doing their part to produce something similar to a gluten flour when baked.

Recipe: High-Quality All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

This recipe includes measurements in grams, cups/teaspoons, and percentages. Hunn notes that tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing, but potato starch and potato flour are completely different and one cannot be substituted for the other. Best results will always happen if you pay attention to the ingredient list in gluten-free baking.

This recipe will yield about a cup of gluten-free flour, or around 140g.
  • 42g (1/4 cup) superfine brown rice flour (30%)
  • 42g (1-4 cup) superfine white rice flour (30%)
  • 21g (2 1/3 tablespoons) tapioca starch (15%)
  • 21g (2 1/3 tablespoons) potato starch (15%)
  • 7g (1 3/4 teaspoons) potato flour (5%)
  • 4g (2 teaspoons) xanthan gum (3%)
  • 3g (1 1/2 teaspoons) pure powdered pectin (2%)
  1. Mix all the ingredients together, and use in any recipe calling for 'gluten-free flour'.
Book Info:

Author Info:

  • Nicole Hunn is the author of the Gluten-Free on a Shoestring series and blog, which has been featured in the New York Times and MSN Money. She has appeared in Living Without and Easy Eats, and on Sirius/XM Radio and ABC News, among others. She lives in Westchester County, New York. 
Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Renee Shelton
The Cookbook Papers


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