Book Review: Gluten-Free Makeovers

Gluten-Free makeovers

I was a problem child when it came to food allergies.  Dairy?  Out of the question.  Wheat?  Nope.  Chocolate? I don’t think so.  Fortunately, I did outgrow these allergies. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed a life of cornflakes with ginger ale (doctor’s alternative to milk), which I loved as a child, but…

As I grew older and information about food allergies became readily available, I learned that childhood allergies that seem to have left can return.  Then gluten became a much discussed health topic, and I thought that maybe I should try taking wheat out of my diet.  If not allergic, I’m certain I’m at least sensitive to glutens.  I’ve been gradually replacing gluten-heavy standards with better-for-me alternatives.  It is amazing how easy it is to find gluten-free alternatives to some of my favorites… like pasta, for example… right in my local grocery.

Still, the obstacle I faced was baked goods. I’ve had prepared gluten-free baked goods that were so dense and so different from what I’ve known that they were simply not enjoyable to me.  I never even considered figuring out how to make my own recipes wheat free. Enter Beth Hillson.

Beth has done the research for creating tasty gluten-free alternatives to many of my personal favorites and, thankfully, in her book gluten-free Makeovers, shared them. It is a science to replace wheat with gluten-free alternatives and have the end result barely distinguishable from the standard. Not only has Beth done that, but she offers several gluten-free flour combinations that can be used to de-gluten any recipe!  These flours include alternative grains (e.g., amaranth, millet, quinoa), and bean flours (such as chickpea), almond flour, and oat flour. Oats can be milled in the same place as wheat and, if so, can not be tagged as gluten-free. Look for the GF on oatmeal and oat flours to confirm they are truly gluten-free.

Some of the recipes Beth has reinterpreted are pizza dough, a basic muffin formula that can be adapted to all your favorite muffins, banana and other quick breads, brownies, carrot cake, flaky biscuits and scones. Since the gluten-free flours can be made up in batches ahead of time, baking up these gluten-free goods is no more complicated than making any other baked good.  A little prep work, a couple extra items in the pantry (like xantham gum, for example), and you’re ready to roll.

Since gluten-free is really a healthier way to roll, consider this book as a teaching tool to getting there. Beth also has a blog with gluten-free tips and recipes, as well.

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