I am so excited to have an opportunity to review the new book Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread, by Jennifer Katzinger. I have literally been chomping at the bit waiting for the official release date. Seriously, if you are vegan and gluten-free (and even if you’re not), this book is fantastic! Kittee and I are doing tag-team reviews again with this book, so be sure to check her review out as well.
I was lucky enough to receive a review copy from the publisher a couple of months back (Sasquatch Books). I had no idea the book was in the works, so when I opened the package, I was super excited. Excited because I had become gluten intolerant and could no longer enjoy one of my favorite things in life… homemade bread. Excited because this book is adorable and filled with lots of beautiful photographs, which you will instantly want to read cover to cover. And, excited because, as I discovered after reading the book cover to cover, Jennifer has a completely new technique for making bread, which is unlike any recipe I have ever seen before.
The first thing that is so different about the author’s bread recipes is that you don’t have the bread do an initial first rise. She has you make a batter-style bread that is immediately put into or on a pan and into a preheated oven. Then the bread bakes for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Yes, you read that correctly. 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I did a double-take when I first read that in the book, but it works. The bread both rises and bakes in the oven during that time. This is pretty ingenius in my opinion, as once you see how well it works, you will wonder why all gluten-free bread isn’t made this way.
Immediately after reading the book cover to cover, I decided to try my hand at one of Jennifer’s recipes. I made the Broa loaf, which is a free-form artisan-style bread. I enjoyed it, especially slathered with melted Earth Balance, and knew that this book was full of promise. I will say that I also made a mistake when making that first loaf of bread, by over baking it. I had read at the beginning of the book that you can insert an insta-read thermometer into the loaf, to tell when it’s exactly done. The issue may have been with my thermometer, as I wound up baking the loaf for an extra half hour, which made the bread much too hard and crispy for my family (although, like I said, I still enjoyed it). After that mishap, I decided to forgo the thermometer, and trust the author’s detailed baking times and instructions. The other breads that I have made since have come out amazing!
I think my favorite bread so far is the Cinnamon Walnut Loaf. I have made that bread at least 4 times already, and can’t get enough of it. I like to thinly slice the loaf after it’s cooled and then freeze it in a Ziplock freezer bag. It toasts up so nicely too, and is fantastic with a little almond butter and cherry jam on top.
Kittee and I had a bread baking day right after I got the book, as we couldn’t wait to see if the breads were as delicious and easy as they sounded. We chose two, making the Cinnamon Walnut Loaf and the Soft Millet Sandwich Bread. Both of them were super delicious, but the Cinnamon Walnut was our favorite. I know that Kittee has gone on to make many more of the recipes since then, and I keep finding myself sticking with my favorite recipe. Not to worry though, I definitely plan to bake my way through this book. There are so many amazing-sounding recipes, like Orange Chocolate Bread, Apricot Kuchen, Swedish Braided Bread, Whole Grain Batons, Caraway Potato Bread, Kalamata Olive Bread, Matzo, three kinds of Focaccia, Quick Anadama Bread and many, many more. This really is a fantastic book, especially if you are gluten-free, and want to be able to bake delicious bread at home.
The kind folks at Sasquatch Books (the publisher of Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread), are generously offering a giveaway for my U.S. & Canadian blog readers. All you have to do is leave a comment below (along with a way to reach you), and tell me what your favorite kind of bread is. I will then pick a winner of this fab book (along with a little help from the Random Number Generator). Now what are you waiting for? Go enter! Good luck everyone!
Oh, and here are a few bread photos for you to drool over…