Alisa Fleming ~ Earlier this week, I gave you a teaser Coffeecake recipe from Colette Martin’s cookbook, Learning to Bake Allergen-Free. But, since we are smack-dab in the middle of baking season, I realized a full review was probably in order.
Learning to Bake Allergen-Free is definitely a unique find. It has a beautiful, full-color layout, with a smattering of recipe photos to entice. But professional looks aside, this is a down and dirty guide from one allergy mom to another. It is filled (and I mean filled!) to the brim with tips, how to’s, and explanations for baking without key ingredients, including eggs, gluten, dairy, soy, and nuts.
Since it is a baking book, Colette does a very thorough job in covering gluten-free techniques for making everything from Basic Dinner Rolls to Chocolate Croissants. And though she offers some quick, homemade gluten-free baking mixes, Colette makes no secret of the fact that she embraces convenience. She has trialed every gluten-free baking mix on the market, she won’t hesitate to use egg replacers or dairy alternatives, and she tells you which ones are best and how to use them in recipes.
As a busy mom, Colette also keeps the recipes in Learning to Bake Allergen-Free pretty darn simple. I love this! Not only are they easy and relatively quick to make, but it also means you can use the recipes as a “guide” for creating your own spins. Truth be told, I haven’t made one of her recipes exactly as written, but did whip up an Oatmeal Apple Crisp that was inspired by a combination of her Mixed Berry Crumble and Apple-Raisin Filling recipes. Needless to say, it was sweet and comforting.
Dietary Notes: All of the recipes in Learning to Bake Allergen-Free are gluten-free (that means no wheat!), dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and nut-free. Consequently, I would consider this a vegan-friendly cookbook. Any recipes that utilize honey, for example, could be made vegan with a simple agave swap. Since the tricky stuff, like eggs, is omitted, I think it could be a very practical tool for new gluten-free vegans.