Cookbook review written & photographed by Stay-At-Home-Chef
Flavor Flours is available for purchase at local bookstores. For more information on this book please visit Artisan.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Alice Medrich when her Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy book first came out. At the end of our conversation, we started talking about gluten-free baking and how it can be so difficult to get just the right texture. I jokingly commented how she needed to write a gluten-free cookbook. Not that I’m taking credit for being the inspiration behind this book! But I did get a thrill when Flavor Flours was published because if anyone can tackle the gluten-free world of baking and become master of its domain, it’s Alice Medrich.
Dedicated entirely to no-wheat flours, this book pays homage to Alice’s skill as a pastry chef. The book is divided into eight chapters, each one tackling a specific flour: rice, oat, corn/cornmeal, buckwheat, chestnut, teff, sorghum and nut/coconut. These recipes go far beyond simple gluten-free substitutions and really delve into the structure of each flour and how it enhances the dessert based on its unique texture and flavor.
The majority of the recipes in this book are based on familiar desserts and baked goods such as brownies, chocolate cakes, muffins and cookies. Because all of the flours are gluten-free there’s less emphasis on technique as there’s no risk of over stirring. No gluten to activate means no tough cakes or cookies!
The book starts off with a glimpse into the recipe testing process and what insights came about for Alice and her recipe developer cohort Maya Klein as they got to know each of the different flours. Information about various techniques – such as the best method for melting chocolate – and details about specific equipment and the best type of ingredients to use is also included and super helpful. Each chapter begins with an introduction to the flour that describes its unique characteristics along with the best methods of storage, with each of the recipes holding detailed steps and information that I personally love about Alice’s cookbooks. No detail is overlooked and I appreciate that level of passion and caring.
I would describe this book as a bit of a baking bible, one that you will turn to and pick-up time and time again. The photos are beautiful and I personally like being able to figure out what I can make based on the type of flour I happen to have on hand.
Alice knocks another one out of the park.