Good gluten-free bread seems like questing for the Holy Grail. Does it exist? Where can you find it? Which rumors of successful recipes do you believe and which do you dismiss? For Nicole Hunn, the quest has ended. She has found it: her perfect gluten-free loaf of bread, and she's sharing it in her latest book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread. And not only is she sharing her perfect loaf, but also her perfect gluten-free bagels, gluten-free sourdough, gluten-free challah, and...well, every other kind of gluten-free bread you may be craving.
• Who wrote it: Nicole Hunn
• Who published it: DeCapo Life Long
• The Angle: All the bread-y goodness you love and crave, none of the gluten.
• Recipes for right now: Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Lean Crusty Whole Grain Bread, English Muffin Bread, No-Rye "Rye" Bread, Sourdough Soft Pretzels, Garlic Knots, Deep-Dish Chicago-Style Pizza, Morning Glory Muffins, Brown Butter Banana Bread, Cheese Calzones
• Other highlights: Making a good gluten-free bread means finding some way, some how, some miracle for getting the stretching, elastic quality that makes bread so great without relying on gluten. Nicole Hunn swears by whey protein isolate, a supplement she says is available on Amazon and many other online sources. She finds that this is the key to creating gluten-free breads that feel, behave, and taste like regular wheat breads. Using whey protein isolate also reduces (or with some recipes, eliminates) the need for gums like xanthan gum.
Hunn also uses a new-to-me (and possibly new-to-everyone?!) technique of a "water roux" as the base for many enriched loaves, like Japanese Milk Loaf and Challah. This is basically a matter of cooking a bit of flour in water until it thickens, then mixing this in with the other ingredients. Hunn says a water roux helps make breads soft without adding as much other enrichment (like milk, butter, or eggs) and also extends the shelf-life of the bread. I'm so very curious about this method! Note to self: make bread soon.
• Who would enjoy this book? Gluten-free folks and those cooking for gluten-free folks who have quested long and far for the perfect loaf.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread by Nicole Hunn
• Visit the author's website: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring
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(Image credits: Emma Christensen)