Tag Archives: gluten-free baking

Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays and an Interview with Jeanne Sauvage

gluten-free_baking_holidays_cover

I first borrowed the ebook version of Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays by Jeanne Sauvage, better known as gluten-free baker extraordinaire at Art of Gluten-Free Baking, last year from my library. When I bought the hardcover last month, I was even more blown away by it; I was amazed by the recipes, and also by Jeanne’s depth of knowledge and expertise.

As implied by the title, Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays is a cookbook for the winter holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there are some recipes that are versatile for any time of year like the Dinner Rolls and Super Soft Bread. In a similar vein to Sweet Cravings, another gluten-free baking book, the recipes are built on a foundation of classic techniques and use simple, natural ingredients that are easily recognizable and staple items, so that it feels as if one was reading a traditional, wheat-filled baking cookbook. Best of all, they’ve all been meticulously made to not only taste just like their wheat counterparts but even have the same or similar texture and mouthfeel.

Jeanne SauvageI’ve gotten to know Jeanne online, through her blog and conversations on Twitter. I’ve made her recipes on her blog, and now from her cookbook, and they’re all winners! For Christmas, I made her recipe for Pepparkakor (Swedish gingerbread) many times, which everyone loved, and I’ve also made her gluten-free pie crust with success, which has made me want to master pie making (and that I’ve started to do). As I read the introduction in her cookbook, I became more and more duly impressed with her aforementioned expertise. I expressed this on Twitter and was delighted when she said yes to an interview.

I ask Jeanne about the research that went into writing her cookbook, recipe testing, the merits of learning and utilizing classic baking techniques, and the progress of her second cookbook (with a projected release date of Autumn 2015). This interview was conducted over email.

(Interview after the jump!)

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“Chewing gum is really gross, chewing gum I hate the most.”

The use of xanthan gum and guar gum in gluten-free baking is almost ubiquitous, both used together or one gum used to mimic the binding and thickening qualities of gluten. I have little experience with using either gums, though I decided to write this post about what I do know and what I’ve learned so far.

When you read the title of this post, you were probably thinking I was going to go on a tangent about chewing gum, perhaps recalling once a time when I expounded upon the fascinating history of chewing gum during my sister’s birthday dinner when we were all eating sushi. That’s for another time and place. In this case, I’m merely using a Willy Wonka quote.

This is not a xanthan/guar gum 101 or any sort of guide about how to use them in gluten-free baking. This is a post simply about my experiences with it, from which possibly some wisdom may be gleaned. I am not an expert, as you’ll find out.

I’ve wanted to write a post for a long while about how I use these gums, xanthan and guar, in my baking and I’ve been spurred to do so now after some tweets yesterday. There’s this magic about Twitter that I’ve read about on other people’s blogs, in which you ask a question and you’ll get answers, but I never had experienced this myself – until yesterday.

As you may know, I’ve been regulating my tweeting to the evenings to allow myself the time to focus more on my studies during the day and accomplish other tasks. This has mostly been a practice in discipline – not that I was a tweetaholic, which I’m not – and it’s been really good so far. I had to tweet yesterday morning, though, to ask a question about if guar gum could be used instead of xanthan because I was planning for pot stickers. (I don’t know these things, so I ask!)

This was my tweet:

I got answers! Two minutes had not even passed.

I am extremely grateful to Caneele, Jeanne, and Laura (the author of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen, from which the recipe for pot stickers come) who answered and provided input. I learned that guar can be used instead of xanthan, but it is less elastic – and, I learned from Laura, she tried using guar gum for the pot stickers but it didn’t work. I was so glad I’d asked instead of deciding to just wing it and hope for the best.

I got more xanthan gum, for the first time in almost two years.

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