The holidays are coming up, again -- boy, that was fast. The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but if you have food allergies or food intolerances or loved ones that do, holidays can be a stressful time wondering how you will eat safely.
Enter a new useful book by Chef Richard Coppedge and the esteemed Culinary Institute of America all about baking gluten-free.
Baked goods in particular are tricky because gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley and rye) is an important chemical process that aids in creating many of our favorite baked goodies. Because baking is about chemistry and science, to be able to bake gluten-free successfully, it feels like you need a Master's degree.
Over the last eight years while teaching a gluten-free baking class at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef perfected his recipes. The book is the result of years of practical experience from a master baker, chef and teacher and includes recipes for such elusive gluten-free baked treats like: pizza, bagels, bread pudding, doughnuts, strudels, pate a choux and puff pastry.
I had a chance to ask Chef a few questions to help us, the home gluten-free bakers. Here are Chef's suggestions about gluten-free baking:
• "Cooking is an art, full of spur of the moment decisions, but baking is a science full of chemical interactions, which can be the biggest challenge."
• "If you respect the reaction of the ingredient you can get it to you work."
• "Set up the kitchen correctly, for example, make sure oven is calibrated and buy a scale."
• "Get some good recipes that you are satisfied with either in my book, Gluten Free Baking with the Culinary Institute of America or any of the other ones on the market."
• "Start with simple recipes and simple ingredients; you can always try a fancier recipe later."
• "Remember, taste and texture should be the first goals with baking."
Here are Chef's suggestions about baking gluten-free on a budget:
• "Make your recipes do double duty. For example, a bread recipe can be used for a quick pizza pie crust or made into calzones filled with meat, cheese or any leftovers you have on hand".
• "A simple cookie recipe can double for a sugar cookie or cookie animal shapes or thumbprint cookies with jam or chocolate, for example. "
• "Make large batches. For example, cookie dough freezes well for one month if double wrapped or, once baked, cookies can last in cookie jar for one week."
• "Buy your ingredients in bulk. For example, instead of a one pound bag of gluten-free flour (white rice flour or brown rice flour or tapioca flour ) try buying a five pound bag of your staples".
• "Build a relationship with your local grocer. They may offer you a deal on large orders. Ask for "foodservice-style" packages of flour."