Book Review with Recipe: Gluten-Free Baking for Beginners by Johnna Wright-Perry


 Gluten-Free Baking for Beginners

Gluten-Free Baking for Beginners. Photo by Wendy Gregory

“For all those who said goodbye to gluten and were told you would never break bread across the table again, I’ll meet you at the table.”

Gluten-free blogger, advocate, and activist for the gluten-free community, baking teacher and grocery store guide, and now cookbook author Johnna Wright-Perry has been active in the online gluten-free community for over a decade. Her upbeat can-do approach to living and cooking gluten-free has been an inspiration to those just starting down the gluten-free path throughout those years. All her experience, knowledge, and cheerleading encouragement are now packed into her new cookbook, Gluten-Free Cookbook for Beginners.

Her first chapter guides beginners through the basics of gluten-free baking and the science of gluten and gluten substitutes that mimic the structure and support that gluten gives to baked goods. Her goal is to give bakers a manageable and affordable list of ingredients that can produce satisfying results. I remember our pantry stuffed full of exotic and expensive ingredients I combined in what felt like failed science experiments as I tried to reproduce family favorites after the celiac diagnoses came in. Johnna’s years of baking and experiment can save this generation the frustration and expense that those of us in the early years of growing celiac disease and gluten issue awareness faced when few mixes or prepared foods were available, or they were just plain awful, and we looked to create our own baked goods. Her flour blend recipes take away the science of combining just the right blends and balance of flours and starches to give successful results.

A decade ago, we were all just waking up to the realization that gluten wasn’t the only issue facing our community. Online or in local support groups gluten sensitivities and celiac were also traveling with dairy issues, egg allergies and nut allergies. Finding ways to get the bite, the tooth, and the tastes we craved as we had to omit crucial ingredients led to more failed science projects. Johnna has also lived through those years and found ways to substitute and still get results. She lives a mostly plant-based life and has vegan tips as well. Throughout her cookbook you will find substitutions that take the overwhelm and anxiety out of baking.

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