Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread review by Recipe RenovatorI was excited to buy a copy of Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread: Artisanal Recipes to Make at Home by Jennifer Katzinger, as I have not tried making bread since going gluten-free. While there are decent gluten-free breads available, I haven’t found one that really stands in for the amazing, hearty, whole-grain breads that I still miss. I was not disappointed. The author, Jennifer Katzinger, used to own The Flying Apron gluten-free/vegan bakery in Seattle. We’ll be giving away one copy of this cookbook on Friday, October 25th-Monday, October 28th (our monthly giveaway for October).

Country Batard from Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread review | Recipe Renovator

Country batard, a little overbaked

I tested country batard, which was overbaked but still pretty amazing. I thought it was odd that the recipes called for baking the loaves for more than two hours. I went and got an oven thermometer, to make sure my oven wasn’t off. Next I tried kalamata olive bread.

Overbaked Kalamata Bread from Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread review | Recipe Renovator

Overbaked Kalamata Olive Bread, followed the instructions to the letter (baked 2 hours, 15 minutes)

Despite my inclination that the instructions were wrong, I baked this loaf exactly as directed. And it was crazy-overdone, but still really good. My writers’ group taste tested it and all liked it, agreeing that you would never know it was gluten-free. I made this bread again, doubling the olives and substituting psyllium husk powder for the xanthan gum, and baked it for just one hour total.

Perfect Kalamata Bread from Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread review | Recipe Renovator

Perfect Kalamata Bread, baked for just one hour

Finally I was intrigued with the pumpkin-rosemary bread with biga

Pumpkin-Rosemary Bread with Biga from Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread review | Recipe Renovator

Pumpkin-Rosemary Bread with Biga, with adjusted baking time

Biga is fermented batter, made with a little yeast and teff flour, that sits out for 6-8 hours to begin fermenting. It is supposed to give the bread a sourdough taste. I could not taste the sourdough, or the pumpkin, but the rosemary was just right and the bread had a dense, tasty crumb, very hearty for a fall day.

What I liked about the book:
65 truly artisanal recipes covering yeasted breads, wild starter breads, flatbreads, batter breads, and quick breads. Don’t skip the opening chapter, as she covers in-depth her completely different approach to using yeast with gluten-free flours. A nice variety of interesting recipes, with clear steps and descriptions. There are a few lovely full-color photographs sprinkled throughout the book, which encourages one to bake them. I liked the design of the book and its small size just feels right, a compact little book packed with perfect recipes.

I wasn’t so keen on:
Some of the recipe timings are way off. I found an errata PDF on the publisher’s website, but oddly they matched what was printed in my book word for word, leading me to think that they had corrected all the errors in later print runs. But at least four recipes call for baking the loaves for 2 hours or more. After trying this twice and ending up with grossly overbaked bread, I followed my gut instinct and reduced the times to about one hour per loaf. (For the country batard, that meant 15 minutes at 450F, 15 minutes at 375F, and 30 minutes at 300F.)

If you buy the book, reduce any baking times that call for baking more than one hour, and start checking the loaf after an hour.

I recommend this for:
Anyone on a gluten-free diet (vegan or not) who loves great bread. Families with kids following a GFCF diet who have the time to bake; you will love these breads and not feel deprived at all!

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Tuesday reviews, Wednesday essays, Thursday how-to’s, and Flashback Friday recipes. We’ll have monthly giveaways on the last Friday of the month.
Here’s the book if you want to check it out: