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Published: Tuesday, 12/15/2009

Demand for gluten-free foods continues

The demand for gluten-free foods keeps growing. Whole cookbooks are dedicated to such recipes, and other new cookbooks have a chapter or selection of them.

In Gluten-Free Italian: Over 150 Irresistible Recipes without Wheat - from Crostini to Tiramisu by Jacqueline Mallorca (Life Long, $18.95), the recipe for Stuffed Zucchini Boats uses gluten-free Homemade Bread Crumbs made from day-old Milk Bread or Quick Rustic Flatbread.

There are recipes made with gluten-free pasta. "The secret to making successful gluten-free pasta salad lies in tossing the freshly drained pasta with the dressing while still warm," she writes. "Refrigerating any type of cooked gluten-free pasta is not a good idea. ..." Make your own Fresh Rice Flour Egg Pasta with Butter and Parmesan or homemade gluten-free ravioli. Use Rice Flour Crepes for Cannelloni.

The recipes in Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking by Stepahnie O'Dea (Hyperion, $19.99) are prepared completely gluten-free. If you don't have to worry about gluten, ignore the author's notes. Gyros are made with corn tortillas instead of pita bread; Chex Party Mix is made with General Mills Rice Chex Cereal (clearly labeled gluten-free) and Glutino pretzel sticks, and Macaroni and Cheese is made with brown rice fusilli.

In The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook by Cybele Pascal (Celestial Arts, $25), the author notes that most store-bought gluten-free bread is as hard as a rock. Ener-G makes soft and tasty gluten-free sliced bread, but it has to be ordered directly from the company. So the author created the recipe for Gluten-Free Bread Flour Mix from millet flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch. The mix is used in Potato Bread, "Buttermilk" Raisin Bread, Buckwheat and Corn Bread, and Gluten-Free-Beer Bread using a gluten-free beer. Make your own gluten-free pizza, focaccia, and matzo.

To create recipes that emulate the taste and texture of traditional breads, authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois included a gluten-free chapter in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (St. Martin's Press, $27.99).

Among the recipes are Gluten-Free Crusty Boule, Gluten-Free Olive Oil Bread, and Gluten-Free Cheddar and Sesame Bread. Gluten-Free Cheddar and Sesame Crackers, which are good with cheeses and dips, require a silicone mat and plastic wrap to roll out the dough.

Super Sam Gluten-Free Cinnamon Buns were inspired by a friend's young nephew who has celiac disease and who wanted to eat pecan sticky buns.

Ms. Francois, who is a pastry chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America, created the recipe and tested it on a group of children 4 to 9 years old who did not know they were gluten-free. They ate them and came back for seconds.

A list of more than 40 gluten-free grains can be found in Bob's Red Mill Cookbook: Whole & Healthy Grains For Every Meal of the Day by Miriam Backes (Running Press, $29.95). A chapter on Gluten-Free Baking Fundamentals recommends using a combination of two or three flours to balance flavors and enhance texture and volume.

Gums and starches are true allies when it comes to gluten-free baking because they help the gluten-free doughs cohere. Don't scrimp on sugar, fat, and flavorings. Don't fear sticky or slippery dough. No gluten means there's no risk of overbeating or overworking dough. Beating will help lighten the dough. But doneness is tricky to gauge: color and touch are indications. Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour is a mixture of garbanzo and fava bean, tapioca, and white sorghum flours and potato starch.

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor.

Contact her at:

food@theblade.com

or 419-724-6155.



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