It goes without saying, cooking is a huge part of my life. I love feeding others and I've made it my life's mission of sorts to share my love with everyone I can (hence the blog.) So it kills me when someone comes to me at their wits end with a cooking problem and I'm not able to help. This happened to be the case a few weeks back when my mom wanted to pick my brain about gluten-free baking.
I know absolutely nothing about gluten-free baking.
It took a few weeks of reading before we were able to adequately come up with a plan for eliminating gluten from her diet. Along the way I learned a thing or two about gluten sensitivities and got my first look at alternate grains like spelt, emmer (also called farro) and einkorn. When the opportunity presented itself to have an early peek at Carla Bartolucci's new book Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat (courtesy of Crown Publishing) I jumped at the chance. It gave me an excuse to play around with a few new recipes (like I really even needed one) as I help my mom decrease the amount of gluten in her diet.
By now you might be wondering, what exactly is einkorn? As Jovial Foods says on their website, "einkorn is a delicious, healthy alternative to modern, mass market wheat and can be an excellent solution for those with gluten sensitivity." I want to make this clear, it is not meant to be consumed by people who have celiac disease, but it may be a good alternative if you are sensitive to gluten and are looking to reduce the amount of gluten in your diet.
When using einkorn flour you do need to change the way you think about baking. Einkorn flour absorbs fats slowly, so you'll notice a huge difference, especially when baking cakes or muffins. It's suggested in the book that you take care when mixing as over mixing the batter will cause it to become sticky. It's also recommended that you sift the flour twice before mixing as it tends to form clumps easily. I highly suggest reading through the chapter on working with einkorn several times before beginning as it will help eliminate a lot of the problems you may encounter along the way.
I've spent a lot of time flipping through the pages of this book over the past few days. It's one of the few cookbooks in my collection that I can honestly say I'll be cooking my way through— very few books have that honor. It's going to be a real joy to cook from.
At first I had my heart set on starting with the Classic French Boule (p28) shown on the cover. Even though it's supposed to be 95˚F or higher this week and I don't have a working air conditioner, I was willing to take one for the team (the prospects of having a snack of fresh bread, cheese, and cotto salami were hard to pass up.) Unfortunately I have 32lbs of peaches sitting on my kitchen table that need canning ASAP, which leaves me no time for baking bread. I decided to save the bread making for cooler weather and turned my attention to some of the less time intensive recipes like the Golden Buttermilk Pancakes (p102), Blueberry Galette (p150), and New York Style Pizza (p174). Keep your eyes on my Instagram feed, once I'm done canning I'll be posting pictures.
Where to Purchase
Looking for sources of Einkorn flour?
Locally: It's hit or miss whether I can find unusual ingredients locally since I live in such a small town, but I was able to find both all-purpose einkorn flour and einkorn wheat berries in the Hy-Vee health market. If you live near one they're great about special orders, although I was fortunate enough to what I needed already on the shelves. Our local Whole Foods didn't stock it in any form, which really surprised me.
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This book was sent to me for review by Crown Publishing through the Blogging for Books program. As always, all opinions are my own.