Monday, December 9, 2013

Cookbook Review: Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread

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. But now, thanks to Nicole Hunn, 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.

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.

My Review

This cookbook is a very comprehensive guide to baking a wide variety of gluten free bread. The instructions are detailed, there are good photos, and the author provides a few different variations on the basic bread flour to suit different tastes. However, this is definitely not a beginner's book. There is a long list of equipment recommended (although I don't own a ton of them , so it is possible to improvise). Also, most breads require a long proofing time, so this is not a cookbook to whip out on a Tuesday afternoon and expect to have a loaf ready for dinner.

This book is great for people who like to bake and are comfortable with the process, or who are willing to put some time into learning. This is a very comprehensive cookbook that will provide users with a large selection of bread recipes to choose from for years to come. Bagels, baguettes, naan, and more are all represented, which is great because there are many breads that are very difficult to find commercially in a gluten free version.

Nicole Hunn's recipes are always well written and clear. She has certainly done her research with this book, and the results are good. For a new baker, these recipes may represent a strong learning curve, so I would approach it with patience and be prepared to try a few things more than once. I like to bake, but baking bread has never been something I've done regularly. It is nice to know that I can have any kind of bread I want, at a lower price tag than I would be able to buy it for at a specialty bakery. A great book to go back to whenever you have a craving for that special loaf, or for something not available in stores.

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