Over the past couple of years, the importance of having whole grains in our diets has been repeatedly emphasized, with the result that whole grains are now being incorporated into things – such as baked goods – that they hadn’t been a part of before. Whole wheat flour is a standby now for many bakers, a item to stock on the pantry alongside bread or all purpose flour. But there are a lot of other flours out there and Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours introduces many new ways to use things like amaranth flour, oat flour and spelt flour.
The cookbook is divided up into chapters by whole grain flour type, so in each chapter you’ll get a set of recipes that all utilize the same ingredient. The recipes themselves vary widely by type, so you’ll see recipes for yeast breads, cookies, tarts and cakes in every chapter. The book also starts off with an introductory section that discusses baking techniques in general as well as how to work with the specialty flours called for in the recipes, and of course each of the whole grains is well described. The book is beautiful to look at, with lots of lovely photos, and the recipes are clearly written in a way that will make you feel comfortable working with some of these unfamiliar ingredients. A book like this would have seemed quite exotic just a few years ago, but now even major supermarkets are stocking a bigger variety of whole grain flours on their shelves and that availability makes these recipes more accessible to home bakers.
Another thing that makes these recipes accessible is that many of them continue to use at least a portion of all purpose flour as a blend with their specialty flours. Using wheat flour as a building block in these recipes means that the finished baked goods will share a lot of the same textures and structure as regular baked goods, with the added benefit of having extra whole grains, unlike completely gluten free recipes that often have a somewhat different texture in the end or rely on outside binding agents to act like gluten in the recipes.