Gems of Gluten-Free Baking: breads and irresistible treats everyone can enjoy

By Wendy Turnbull

Cookbook review courtesy of contributing writer
Andrea Savard

Basic All-Purpose Bread

RATING: 4 out of 5 (quick, delicious, tastes like the real thing!)

THE TEST: The recipe states that this bread can be prepared and baked within 1.5 hours, which is great if you want to bake a fresh loaf during the week to have on hand for making sandwiches.

This recipe is simple to make, and happens to be egg and dairy-free as well which is another bonus since many Celiacs have secondary allergies. It took less than 10 minutes to put the bread mix together: GEMS flour™, baking powder, salt, sugar, water, vegetable oil and ground flax seeds. It was nice to be able to mix it all up with a hand mixer and not have the dough stick to the blades. After I mixed it for five minutes, I put the dough into a lightly greased bread pan and let it sit for 20 minutes. The yeast did its work, and I placed the loaf into the oven.

THE RESULTS: All was going well until I opened the door of the oven to take a peek…whoops! I was curious to see what was going on since my oven is old and the oven light non-existent. Unfortunately all that I ended up seeing was the middle of my loaf start to sag. Immediately I closed the oven door and hoped the bread might miraculously spring back to form. Nope – no such luck.

After the bread finished cooking for a few more minutes I pulled it out of the oven. It smelled like bread, it looked like bread (albeit more concave in shape due to my blunder), and amazingly it tasted like bread! And we’re not talking about gluten-free bread here people, but actual old fashioned wheat bread. Yum!

Banana Bread

RATING: 5 out of 5 (a good egg-free recipe)

THE TEST: I know; another bread recipe when there are dozens of other alternatives like lemon squares, cinnamon buns, dream cake, pies. What can I say?! I happen to really like banana bread, but what sealed the deal for me were the three freckled bananas sitting on the counter begging to be mashed and made into bread.

This recipe is egg-free and requires minimal ingredients (thanks to GEMS flour™), and one of the ingredients is chocolate chips! I used white chocolate chips (so good with the bananas).

THE RESULTS: I learned my lesson with the basic bread recipe, but nonetheless it took all of my willpower not to open the oven door. Finally at minute 35, I opened the oven. The banana bread was starting to burn around the edges so I pulled it out and placed it on the counter. It looked great, but after a few minutes it sank down and shrank a bit. But in no way did this diminish the taste! The texture was similar to the wheat flour version of banana bread, it wasn’t too sweet, and it was nice and moist.

For a copy of the recipe for Banana Bread, please click HERE

Cream Puffs

RATING: 4 out of 5 (not quite like a bakery cream puff, but still tasted decent)

THE TEST: This is one of the first recipes in the dessert section, and honestly who could resist making whipped cream and stuffing it in pastry?! This recipe doesn’t use the GEMS flour™, just brown rice flour, cornstarch, guar gum, butter, eggs, and of course vanilla-flavoured whip cream for the filling.

This recipe is super easy to make, and would be perfect as a quick treat for your kids, a last minute dessert, or if you are just looking for an excuse to eat whipped cream. It will take you just over an hour to make these – 10 minutes to whip them up, 50 minutes to bake, 20 minutes for them to cool down before you cut them in half and add a few tablespoons of whipped cream.

THE RESULTS: This time the results looked almost exactly like the puff in the picture, but not quite how I remember a nice flakey cream puff to taste. Because I don’t have a big sweet tooth, this was the perfect pastry treat for me as it had just a hint of sweetness from the vanilla whip cream. Delicious!