Book Review: Gluten-free & Vegan Bread – Artisanal Recipes by Jennifer Katzinger

My friends and I went on a baking play date the other day to experiment a little with alternative flours and do some recipe testing. All of us are pretty fascinated with gluten-free grains such as sorghum, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff or flax. Not that they are new inventions, as these ancient grains have been around for hundreds of years. Personally, my love for Ethiopian Injera bread, made out of teff flour, made me curious to find out what alternatives to ordinary flours there actually are. 

Today, we are testing recipes from two different books. This is the review of the first book. Mpho and I have decided to opt for a Raspberry and Rooibos tea bread, from Jennifer Katzinger’s Gluten-free & Vegan bread – Artisanal Recipes to Make at Home. Whereas Misha is trying out a recipe from Jordan and Jessica Bourke’s The Guilt-free Gourmet – indulgent recipes without sugar, wheat or diary, gluten-free chocolate brownies with grapefruit zest. The review of the second book will follow soon!

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Jennifer Katzinger’s recipe book Gluten-free & Vegan bread – Artisanal Recipes to Make at Home is the latest addition to my book shelf. It turns out to be a pretty precious piece that doesn’t only give an excellent introduction to gluten-free breads, but it is packed with innovation and useful tips for the amateur baker.

I like the fact that the author explores baking with all these ancient grains and seemingly unusual ingredients, that most people have never heard of, in such a playful and simple way. At the same time, the book is complete. At no point did I feel it was rushed through and I was not left with any unanswered questions. In this way, the book is ideal for beginners who are looking for a book that is easy to understand and comprehensive enough without requiring further reading.  Her book is divided into 6 different categories: Introduction, yeasted breads, wild starter breads, flat-breads, batter breads and quick breads. 

raspberry 2

Before the author explains different baking techniques, she first takes the reader on an introductory journey through all the ingredients, which helps when you are new to gluten-free baking. This book made me realize that the subject is not entirely different to conventional baking but it comes with new rudiments, textures and ingredients. On this note, Jennifer Katzinger reveals some essential details on how to add elasticity to a gluten-free dough. That’s especially interesting because gluten is precisely what makes a dough elastic. She also shares some light on how to make your own wild starter whereby she provides insight into her personal learning process, shows different sources of inspiration and accentuates her story with solid scientific explanations.

raspberry 

Ingredients for 1 medium loaf

  • 1 1/2c teff flour 
  • 3/4c tapioca flour (same as tapioca starch)
  • 1 1/2t baking soda 
  • 3/4t sea salt
  • 1c brewed rooibos tea
  •  1/2c coconut oil
  •  1/2c evaporated cane juice
  • 1 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2c fresh raspberries 

Shopping Tip:

Buy your teff and tapioca flour at affordable prices at Atlas in Bo Kaap!

Method

The preparation is quite simple, just get yourself 2 bowls, one for the dry ingredients and one for the liquid ones as well as a whisk to mix the dough and a +/- 8 by 4 by 4 inch loaf pan.

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients in a bowl: teff flour, tapioca flour, baking soda and salt. Now in the second bowl combine all the fluid ingredients: coconut oil, tea, cane juice and vanilla extract. Cane juice is very difficult to find, hence I am using xylitol from the Wellness Warehouse and add it to the dry ingredients. Finally, add the dry ingredients slowly into the second bowl using a whisk, breaking up all lumps carefully. You’ll notice how buttery and smooth the batter is, that’s when you should cautiously fold in your fresh raspberries.

Bake for +/- 1 hour and 10 minutes in a preheated oven by 190,6 decrees C. Use a stick to test if the loaf is baked inside.

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Summary

Katzinger’s book is a compellingly written and well-structured guide for beginners of gluten-free bread baking. At first I feared the vast amount of different ingredients but further reading changed my mind. That was mainly because I was impressed by the way the author explains all the ingredients so thoroughly. I love getting to know different types of grains better and find it interesting to read about their different uses and origins.

Heads-up!

Shortly after she published the book she discovered that her oven wasn’t holding its temperature and so many recipes indicate the wrong baking temperature. That’s not a reason to fret though as she has published a pdf file on her blog, that contains an errata sheet, which corrects all the false information.

My rooibos and raspberry bread turned out well, especially the texture, surprisingly fluffy and a light crust. Next time I will use less baking soda though, because of the slightly metallic aftertaste, which bothered me. My next mission will be to examine one of her gluten-free breads with a homemade wild starter. So far, the peach and ginger tea bread also caught my eye. I will keep you posted on how it goes!

Other books written by Jennifer Katzinger:

Gluten-free and Vegan Holidays: Celebrating the Year with Simple, Satisfying Recipes and Menus

 Honey & Oats: Everyday Favorites Baked with Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners

Gluten-free and Vegan for the Whole Family: Nutritious Plant-Based Meals and Snacks Everyone will Love

Flying Aprons Gluten-free & Vegan Baking Book

Gluten-free and Vegan Pie: More than 50 Sweet and Savoury Pies to Make at Home

Dennis Molewa

CEO

I believe in the nurturing power of natural food, flavours and spices. Real food does not compromise on taste. It takes us back to flavour’s true origins.

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