Author: Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
Publication: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
My Star Rating: 4 stars out of 5 = I Like It
Summary Statement: Feeling Hopeful
Missing out on great bread has been one of the things that's the worst about living gluten-free which I did under doctor's orders for medical reasons. I've found a box mix for a GF sandwich bread that I doctored up but it's not the same as the artisan type breads with thick crusts, deep flavor and big air pockets. Prior to finding out I needed to stop eating gluten I enjoyed baking from scratch for over 20 years, including bread and artisanal bread using cast iron dutch ovens (I bought four to use all at once)! Learning GF baking is another whole project rife with challenges. Many of the qualities we want from GF baked goods are not possible without gluten.
I have high hopes for this book but after baking two loaves I rate this book 4 stars.
First I don't like the black and white photos throughout, I would prefer color. Even at its price for hardcover I think $5 or even $10 more would be worth it. I own or see other cookbooks in the under $40 range that are prolifically filled with full color images. The black backgrounds in those images mean the images do not pop and they are not visually appealing in any way. See: Weber's Way To Grill which has step by step full color photos on every page. There is a center section of color images but that's not good enough.
I have been using mixture #1. The method is to first mix up a large batch of dry flours and ingredients then to keep that in your pantry. The next step is to only use some of that mix to make a dough by adding the water, yeast and sugar or honey. Then this wet dough is moved to the refrigerator. The recommendation is to use a GRAPEFRUIT sized ball of wet dough to shape a loaf, let it rise one hour, then bake it. The five minute name comes from the prep work on the day of baking only.
There are two flour mixes given and then there is a substitutions list. I made mixture #1 and for rice flour I did a half white half brown combination. Another option in the book is to use cast iron to cook in and since I know that method very well I decided to give it a try. In the photo I shared you can see the results. I learned that when baking inside the cast iron pot, that it needs a longer baking time. The crust stays softer which is the opposite effect of what happens with the gluten bread method. The interior was softer and it was more chewy. The loaf baked on the pizza stone was more golden brown, a harder crust you really had to work at and it had a good texture. However despite the use of yeast it did not puff up high at all, the loaf was an inch high. In order to use a grapefruit sized piece of dough and get a loaf that equals the volume of a typical artisan gluten-loaf you would have to make five or six GF loaves! These first two loaves made with the new dough didn't have much flavor. I am interested to see what happens over time.
I plan to keep using this cookbook with an open mind. I am curious to see when I can make a loaf that looks like the photos on the cover. If I keep having mediocre results I will revise this review to be more harsh and will include the number of loaves I've baked and the different recipes I've tried.
There is a chapter at the beginning for newbies to discuss gluten issues with medical conditions.
I rate the book 4 stars = I Like It because it's the closest thing so far to an artisan loaf of GF bread.
Disclosure: I borrowed a review copy of this book from Amazon.com's Vine program in order to review it on their website. I was not paid to read or write that review nor was I under obligation to blog about it or to review it favorably. If you click through my Amazon Associate link (above), put something in your shopping cart and pay for it within 24 hours I will earn a small commission and I thank you.