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

By Wendy Turnbull

Cookbook review courtesy of contributing writer
Andrea Savard

Gems of Gluten-Free Baking: breads and irresistible treats everyone can enjoy by Wendy Turnbull (Whitecap Books, $29.95 CAD) is an essential gluten-free guide to baking. Wendy is a former registered nurse who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease over 30 years ago, and it was her avid interest in nutrition combined with a desire to create gluten-free recipes that tasted like ‘the real deal’ which led to years of experimentation with gluten-free whole grain combinations. Eventually her work led to an innovative flour blend she called GEMS flour™, which produces exceptional wheat-like baking.

As most people who have baked without wheat for the first time can attest, initial results are often disappointing and sometimes downright unacceptable (but I usually still eat it anyways). Luckily Wendy’s GEMS flour™ will make your future baking – and not just the recipes in her book – taste as good if not better than the gluten filled version!

I love that the GEMS flour™ has a basic recipe to which you can then add amaranth, buckwheat, gluten-free oat or teff flour. Want to try something different? Try adding a few tablespoons of chickpea, millet, soy, quinoa, or bean flour. I was more than happy to try these various flour varieties as I have bags of all of the above mentioned flours languishing in my fridge due to trying to follow another recipe book (which didn’t work out so well).

The things I enjoy the most about this book are the clean design, gluten-free flour chart, conversion charts, and tips for success. The photos she includes are beautiful, but in my opinion there are not enough. Not that I am the type of person who needs a photo on every page, but I think this book would work better with a few more enticing photographs to give it more colour and character.

This book will cover all of your baking needs and includes chapters on breads, muffins, cookies, squares and bars, cakes and cupcakes, pies, tarts, and other desserts. So far I’ve only tried out the basic bread, banana bread, and cream puff recipes but I know I’ll come back and work my way through the rest of this useful and dependable book.

To read the results from Andrea’s recipe tests, please click HERE