Gluten-free Baking Made Simple by Cherie Lyden, the founder of the popular Wholegreen Bakery in Sydney, is filled with 80 delectable sweet and savoury bakes for gluten-free bakers.
Cherie honed her gluten-free baking skills at home over many years as she has two coeliac daughters. And she creates the recipes for her own bakery so I felt confident that her recipes would be dependable. That’s important as Gluten-free baking can be pricey. Gluten-free flours are considerably more expensive than those that contain gluten.
Being only an occasional gluten-free baker, I didn’t have some of the ingredients which she uses in her recipes in my pantry such as potato starch, xanthum gum, and coconut flour. Once I’d tracked these down, I was good to go.
First I made a batch of her two gluten-free flour blends which she uses in most of her recipes. For the gluten-free flour you just have to whisk four ingredients together until they are well mixed. For gluten-free self-raising flour simply add baking powder. It was that easy!
Having made those I was ready to bake. But what to choose? Every recipe is beautifully photographed and looks scrumptious!
Cherie suggests that if you are new to the joys of gluten-free baking her Banana, blueberry and coconut loaf would be a good place to start. The fact that it is sugar-free, and naturally sweet thanks to the overripe bananas, also appealed to me. Warm out of the oven, it was perfect to share with one of my gluten-free friends for afternoon tea.
For brunch, her gluten-free crepes were a great hit with all our whanau, those who are gluten intolerant and the others too. They were soft and light, but slightly crispy on the edges, just how we like them! All they needed was a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar. We’ll be making these again and again!
You can use frozen sweet corn, which is cheap and available all year round, in her gluten-free Corn, Green Chilli and Coriander Buttermilk Pancakes But fresh herbs are essential. Luckily we grow coriander in our garden.
The buttermilk made them light and fluffy but they were substantial enough to have for a speedy gluten-free vegetarian dinner with a salad alongside. It’s another keeper!
The gluten-free Lemon and Coconut cake with a Lemon Glaze is one of the most popular cakes that has ever been made in her bakery so it was a must-try!
It lived up to its promise of being light and soft and moist. We enjoyed it very much without the runny lemon icing, and served with Greek yoghurt alongside for dessert.
Gluten-free Baking Made Simple is a book that those who are new to gluten-free baking will love and grow with. They wouldn’t be intimidated at all by these recipes. The instructions are easy to follow. The lists of her kitchen and pantry essentials and the tips she provides with each recipe are very useful. There’s a section on general baking know-how too which includes one of the golden rules of gluten-free baking i.e. the importance of not overworking your batter when making muffins and cake mixes. A lumpy batter is often absolutely ok. If you do overwork it you’ll end up with a gummy or unpleasantly chewy bake.
What I really enjoyed was her fresh approach to familiar bakes, the scones, muffins, cupcakes, biscuits and slices.
With winter upon us, the pies made with her savoury decadent gluten-free pastry also look very appealing and there are some very creative recipes there, like the French Lentil, Spinach and Sweet Potato pie.
And her breads! Her recipes for gluten-free rich, buttery brioche, cinnamon pull-apart scrolls, and the cherry tomato, onion and herb focaccia make my mouth water. I can’t wait to try those!
Reviewer: Lyn Potter