Like all of you, our weather here in the Rocky Mountains of late has been erratic and unpredictable. On a sunny, record-breakingly warm day in February I received a copy of Tabitha Alterman’s Whole Grain Baking Made Easy in my mailbox*. I hardly glanced at it. There was pre-season gardening to be done and walks with the baby to be had. And then, a week later, the weather turned. With blizzard conditions outside the window, snow eddying and swirling into drifts, I decided that what our house needed was yeasty bread in a warm oven. I pulled out my book and got baking.
I decided on a No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Boule. It came out looking like this:
I mean, really. I could end the post right there, right? ‘Nuff said?
I served it with dinner and everyone oohed and aahed. Somebody said, “I can taste the honey!” I told them there was no honey in it. “Maple syrup?” Nope. There’s no sweetener in this loaf, just some special techniques that result in a fabulous texture and flavor.
The Sweetie Pie was inspired and whipped out a batch of Mix-It Up Muffins using our juicer pulp (and then produced another three batches in the week that followed). The photo is of his first batch, but batch two was even better, and batch three was the lightest, fluffiest, whole-wheat muffin you’ve never seen.
And then the kiddos insisted on trying the Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Walnuts. The Sweetie Pie habitually replaces any sweetener called for with honey, so these cookies came out a little more crumbly-scone-like than crispy-cookie-like. Even so, they were gobbled up for dessert one night, with just enough leftover to enhance breakfast the next morning.
All of this, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of this fine cookbook. There is an entire chapter devoted to sourdough breads. And another with tasty looking condiments to smear on your whole-grain bread. And there are just as many recipes for whole-grain quick-breads and desserts as there are for yeast breads, so that there is something for everybody. No matter what your competence level is for baking, there is a recipe in here to make you say, “Hey, I could make that!”
And the recipes are only half of what Whole Grain Baking Made Easy has to offer. I was entranced by the whole grains glossary, which offers a profile on each grain that includes notes on nutrition, flavor, its baking “personality”, and tips on milling. Tabitha Alterman even includes details on the differences between the many varieties of wheat that are now available (einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut, etc.)
There is also an entire chapter devoted to buying a grain mill. You don’t have to mill your own grain in order to use these recipes, but if you do (or if you’ve been thinking about it) then you’ll appreciate the tips in this chapter.
And, because we are all “way too busy” to make bread at home, there’s even a chapter called “Finding Time to Bake”, which includes tips and even suggested schedules for fitting baking into your weekly routine.
Best of all, Tabitha provides you with plenty of universally helpful tips and tricks to get amazing results from baking with whole-grains. These little nuggets can be applied to any other bread recipe you might be whipping up, so you can be sure of getting the most flavor, the best texture, and the highest nutrition from your whole grain endeavors.
We have a copy to give away!
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* Review posts are my opinions on items that were sent to me free of charge. The items were given to me, but the thoughts and opinions are my own. I do not provide reviews of every item sent to me and only review items that I find to be truly worthy of recommendation.