A few weeks ago I bought myself a new cookbook that I'd been eyeing. Good to the Grain was my boo hoo gift when the girls went back to school. Did you know you are supposed to get yourself a gift when your kids go back to school? You are. This happens to be a gift to me that then keeps on giving to them.
I am very persnickety about cookbooks. I don't own a ton of them and I make sure I'm going to use them before I make a purchase.
I'm always seeing new cookbooks online, then checking them out at the library to preview them first. This one was a no-brainer once I had it in my hands. Kim Boyce is innovative in her use and combination of a variety of flours, and creates reliable recipes using solid technique.
After previewing a few recipes, I'm really excited to bake my way through the entire book this year. I didn't say blog my way through it, you see, because if I say that, I will end up dropping the project. But I will say that I hope to blog at least some of these recipes, and I do commit to trying every single one whether I blog it or not.
I am a geek about recipes and I like to cook real food. I also love baked goods that are on the rustic side. If you're like me, you'll like this book. By the way, this book is easy on the eyes and nicely written, which doesn't hurt.
The book is divided into chapters, touring several wonderful whole grain flours- many that I've never baked with before. Typically Boyce uses two or three different flours in one recipe to achieve particular densities , flavors, and textures. I'm still working in the first chapter, which orbits around whole wheat. This sounds ordinary, but even so I've already gotten to try out graham flour, as well as discovering whole wheat pastry flour, which is just wonderful. Her Chocolate Chip Cookies (p.41) use 100% whole wheat flour, and the recipe is really well-done. The texture is chewy, the tastes are balanced, and the cookies are not at all dry. If you have ever tried substituting straight up WW for all purpose flour, you know what I mean- she's done her homework and come up with a great recipe.
In addition to whole wheat, the book covers amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, kamut, multigrain, oat, quinoa, rye, spelt, and teff, and also includes a chapter devoted to jams and compotes. Agh, I am even more excited about this book just from typing the names of all those wonderful flours. It is unique to have so many well-constructed recipes specifically designed for these particular flours in one book- you can't just substitute one flour for another in a recipe- this book opens up so many possibilities.
Last night I made an Apple Graham Coffee Cake (p.46) and brought it over to a friends' house.
This recipe combined all purpose, graham, and whole wheat pastry flours and was appropriately dense yet quite moist and tender, and baked precisely as she said it would. I had my doubts about the caramelized apples, which are placed on top of the batter before baking for one hour. I thought they might get rubbery or perhaps dried out, which would be a shame since they were so fantastic out of the pan.