Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Book Review 2010

This is the book we've been waiting for. A cookbook that takes all those incredible flours with names like amaranth and kamut that have started appearing in stores, and tells us what to do with them. A cookbook that goes beyond just substituting whole grains for all-purpose flour and actually explores what each kind of grain has to offer. No matter what kind of baking you do, you'll want to check out this cookbook!

Title & Publisher: Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010.

First Impressions: This is just a gorgeous book. From the photographs of flour-dusted pastries to the book's elegant design, the pages draw you in and hold your attention. Even better, they make us want to get into the kitchen and cook.

This is a sturdy hardcover with thick pages. It lays flat and can withstand kitchen splatters. Having one recipe per page and the open layout makes it easy to follow each recipe without losing our place or getting confused.

The Angle: This is a book on baking with whole grains, but the emphasis is less about being health conscious than it is simply enjoying the diversity of grains at our disposal.

The Recipes: The recipes are divided by the specific kind of flour, and Boyce covers everything from basic whole wheat flour to the less-familiar teff flour. There are between 5 and 10 recipes to explore in each section, so you don't have to worry about ending up with half a bag of leftover flour! The emphasis is on breakfast-type recipes with a few breads and desserts scattered throughout.

Boyce is a trained pastry chef, and this shows in her recipes. They feel complete and thoughtfully developed, and she fully explains each step as you work your way through.

Other Stuff: Much of the technique and kitchen advice is embedded within the recipes themselves. With this book, you learn by doing! Each chapter also opens with a description of the particular flour being profiled along with some of its history, characteristics, and nutritional value.

Overall Impressions: Baking is intimidating enough without throwing whole grains into the mix. But with her warm voice and gentle encouragement, Boyce helps us move beyond the fear of the unknown - and actually gets us excited about baking with these unfamiliar ingredients!

Our only wish is that Boyce had included a section or a even a simple chart going over each of the flours, comparing them, and talking about which characteristics make each one suited for particular kinds of recipes. She touches on this sometimes in the chapter introductions, but an overall picture of all the grains side-by-side would have been a great general reference tool.

Recommended? Yes! Whether your goal is to eat healthier or you're just curious about baking with these different flours, this cookbook will be your guide.

Recipes for Right Now: Muscovado Sugar Cake, Strawberry Barley Scones, Rhubarb Tarts, Maple Danish, Ricotta Crêpes

Buy the Book: Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood, $20 on Amazon.com

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

(Image: Stewart, Tabori & Chang)