Carol Fenster could easily be referred to as the mother of gluten-free baking. When it comes to gluten-free bread she has worked every angle. An abundance of grains and blends grace her now extensive repertoire, which she shares within Gluten-Free 101. Carol knows her gluten free bread.
While Gluten-Free 101 does include a chapter for Main Dishes and Miscellaneous recipes, this is really a baking book. Filled with loads of bread and dessert recipes, Carol goes straight for the major weaknesses of a gluten-free diet.
Unlike many cookbooks, Gluten-Free 101 is not just about the recipes. Carol begins with a large section of easy reference guides and how-to’s. I loved the excellent flour primer that explained the many options available (far more than I could believe) and how they should be used in baking or as a thickener. She also included a “hidden gluten” list, kitchen tips, and quick recipes for her basic flour blends.
As for the recipes, there are many options to choose from. I was dying to trial one of the very cool yeast-based loaf bread recipes (each has a charted ingredient list for making different amounts or using different sized loaf pans). However, based upon the ingredients I had on hand, I decided to go for the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins first. They were beautiful, delicious, and quite “glutinous.” In fact, they were very near the perfect texture. Both my husband and I noted that the chocolate chips were a bit over-powering against the delicately flavored background, but mini-chips (from say Enjoy Life) may have faired better.
Baking gluten-free does require some special ingredients, though once you acquire a few baseline ingredients, this cookbook will carry you through numerous options. While I did have the xanthan gum and flour blends on hand for the Banana Muffins, I was lacking in unflavored gelatin powder, guar gum, and some of the starches that the other recipes called for. However, should I decide to get more in depth into gluten-free baking, these really are pantry staples, and fairly affordable for the amount used in each recipe.
My Extra Notes & Tips: