Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter (February 3, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #124,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #56 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Baking > Biscuits, Muffins & Scones #170 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Baking > Bread #272 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Special Diet > Allergies
UPDATE 2/14/16 2 things to add: 1) Puff Pastry Croissants-- After making these several more times in various ways, I determined that doubling the recipe and using a measuring cup to simply scoop a large plop of the dough on the parchment paper makes for 6 very good sandwich rolls that tastes like buttery croissants. 2) I have now also made the Tater Doughnuts with Silky Chocolate Glaze. SO great. Just so great. The glaze tastes exactly like a doughnut store's chocolate glaze and makes what would be a good doughnut just absolutely great.UPDATE 3/29/15 I have downgraded this book to just 4 stars. I just tried a 5th recipe and it was a complete mess. I made the Puff Pastry Croissants, and the batter was nowhere near what was described and shown in the picture in the book. I ended up having to add an additional egg to make the batter anywhere near thin enough to pipe, and it was such a gluey mess that it in no way would be able to be piped in a back and forth motion. You can see my simple swipe in the pictures below. The end product tastes good, but the recipe itself was a fail.I somehow think that the author didn't actually have people test her recipes extensively in home kitchens. I live near Seattle, and have a different climate than she does, so perhaps that plays into how badly her recipes are working for me. However, I weigh all of my ingredients, use the same flours that she does, follow the directions religiously, and they still aren't turning out. I don't want to have to modify every recipe to work-- I want it to actually work on the first try.ORIGINAL REVIEW: I hesitate between giving it a 4 or 5 stars, but ultimately gave it 5 because the not-great things are vastly outweighed by the great things.
Upon first sitting down and going through the book cover to cover, I was really impressed with the wide array of recipes and was excited to start baking. However after trying out several recipes, I am confused by what appears to be a error in the stated measurements for the ‘light buckwheat flour’. The recommended light buckwheat flour is Acadian Buckwheat, which I purchased here on , the Bouchard Family Farms brand, which I believe is the recommended brand by the author. The package states that: 3 tbsp = 30 grams, or 1 cup = 160 grams. Yet every recipe in this book which calls for light buckwheat flour calls for 1 cup = 120 grams. This seems like a huge difference?Normally I would just chalk this up to brand difference, but I looked up every brand of light buckwheat flour I could find (which wasn’t many) and each one is 160 grams = 1 cup. So I am suspect of where the author came up with 120 grams to 1 cup? Considering how many recipes in this book call for the light buckwheat flour, this seems like a huge oversight.The author has a section in the beginning of the book about how different brands of GF flours have different weights, so you may have to do a conversion from her measurements if you choose to ‘measure’ out the flour using cups. As an experienced baked, I understand this, however, as she recommends, I always weigh out my flour in grams. So I should be OK with using her stated weights, right? Not quite. Each recipe I have made so far, in which I very carefully weighed out the flour with the stated weights has been a failure.
The author poses a very different way to bake gluten-free, and it has recipes that generally do not contain xanthan and guar gums. This is something that people who are sensitive to these gums will be interested in. The recipes also use a very different type of buckwheat flour (Acadian silver) that bakes up golden in color, has a very mild flavor and is available from .If you buy this book, and I recommend doing so - I buy very, very few gluten-free cookbooks, you will also want to locate Ms Cain's blog. Search for "Against the Grain Cookbook FAQ" (no quotes). It extends the reach of the cookbook to dairy-free and egg-free. It also has recommendations for substitutions that you may want to use especially if "grain-free" is not important to you. Technically, most of the ingredients in the book are "grain-free." because neither tapioca starch nor buckwheat (a relative of rhubarb) are grains. As you know, buckwheat is not wheat and is not related in any way.I have been experimenting with some of Ms. Cain's recipes. In general I like them; however, I have made some changes that I think improve the result. For example, I have sought to reduce the amount of refined starch to 50% - 60% in some of the bread recipes by substituting some whole grain sorghum flour for some tapioca starch. (I'm not "against the grain".) I count "whole grain" (technically not a grain, but you know what I mean) buckwheat and whole grain sorghum in the equation that yields the percentage of whole grain products in the bread.One spectacular recipe in the book is bagels. If you look at the recipe, you'll see the spot in it where there is an opportunity to substitute a whole grain ingredient for "extra" tapioca starch.
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