Book Review: The Secret to Gum-Free, Gluten-Free Baking

Have you ever tried to make gluten-free baked goods that don’t contain any gums? No xanthan? No guar? Results can be pretty hit and miss. I’ve found that I can usually get away with making gum-free cookies. But, when it comes to breads and cakes, it’s fairly hard to get a gum-free baked good that doesn’t crumble to bits.

Enter Alta Mantsch, the author of the blog “Tasty Eats at Home.” If you’ve never been to her blog before, you should go. Now. I’ll wait.

You’re back? Good. She has good stuff, right?

Well, now she’s come out with a wonderful e-book, “The Secret to Gum-Free, Gluten-Free Baking: Find out How Simple it is to Make Delicious Breads, Waffles, Cakes and More without Gluten, Dairy or Gums.” As soon as I got my hands on it, I knew it was going to be a hit in my house. Those donuts on the cover? First thing the kiddo requested.

Gum-free Chocolate Donuts

Gum-free Chocolate Donuts

Pretty right? And the kiddo liked them a lot, too. One note on this recipe, it made more than my donut pan could hold. So, I made a small cake, too. It domed nicely, and worked well as cake.

That wasn’t the only thing we made. We also made waffles, snickerdoodles, a loaf of bread, and garlic bread sticks. Oh, the bread sticks! Remember going out to eat at Italian restaurants with all you can eat bread sticks? I really never thought I’d experience that again. But, these bread sticks? Fazoli’s doesn’t have anything on them.

You may be wondering what the secret ingredient is by now. What makes these recipes work without gums? Well, sorry vegetarians. You’re not going to like this. The secret is gelatin. I was kind of shocked at the quantity of gelatin in some of these recipes. But, here’s the thing. Something kind of magical happens when you add all that gelatin. Remember those bread sticks? (Sorry – there’s no picture. We ate them too quickly.) When I first mixed up the recipe I thought, “this is never going to work.” See, I don’t have a stand mixer, and my hand mixer was complaining loudly, long before the dough really came together. But, after a quick whizz in the food processor, it became this sticky, stretchy, kneadable dough. Like gluten-filled dough. (But, of course, better, because it’s gluten-free.) It was fun to play with, fun to shape, and even more fun to eat.

We also made the pizza crust. Again, it was so much fun to knead, roll, and stretch a dough again. And, it bakes up crisp and crunchy on the edges, chewy in the middle. (Next time I might try to roll it extra thin – for that almost cracker-like crust you get in some restaurant pizzas.)

Crispy, crunchy pizza crust

Crispy, crunchy pizza crust

Alta gave me permission to share the pizza crust recipe with you. So, try this recipe, and then head on over to Amazon to buy her amazing e-book!

Pizza Crust (courtesy of Alta Mansch)

If you ask my Dad about his favorite dish, his response will undoubtedly be “PIZZA!” Every year, for his birthday, I work to perfect a gluten‐free pizza crust. As the years progress, I get closer and closer. This crust recipe is my favorite. It’s chewy, but a touch soft, and comes out of the oven puffy and lightly browned. In other words, it makes one heck of a pie.
¾ cup tapioca starch/flour
½ cup sweet white rice flour
2/3 cup superfine brown rice flour
6 tablespoons gelatin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup lukewarm water (110 degrees F)
¼ ounce (1 package) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for handling dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the tapioca starch, sweet white rice flour, superfine brown rice flour, gelatin and salt. Mix together on low speed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, yeast and sugar. Allow to sit and foam up for a minute, and then add this mixture, the eggs, and the olive oil to the flours. Beat at medium‐low speed until dough is smooth and comes together, 3‐4 minutes. Dough should be very thick.

Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Scrape the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Using hands oiled with olive oil, knead the dough together into a ball and press out into a round on the parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle about 14 inches in diameter (about ¼ inch thick). Use another sheet of parchment paper on top if the dough is sticking to the rolling pin. Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for about 20 minutes (it won’t rise much).

Transfer the dough, still on the parchment paper, to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the top is puffed and firm and the underside is slightly browned and crisp, about 8‐10 minutes. Carefully remove from oven. (You might want to use a baking peel or baking sheet to assist in moving it.) Top the crust as desired, and return to the center rack in the oven for another 5‐10 minutes, until the toppings are bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Remove from oven, and slice and serve immediately. Serves 4‐6

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4 Responses to Book Review: The Secret to Gum-Free, Gluten-Free Baking

  1. Really terrific review, Deanna! Both the donuts and the pizza crust look and sound phenomenal. 🙂 I need to order some more gelatin so I can give more of Alta’s recipes in her ebook a try. 😉


  2. Alta says:

    Deanna, thanks so much for the glowing review! So glad you loved those breadsticks. I was pretty excited about them when I first made them too!

  3. Pingback: Awesome Biscuits (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) and Giveaway

  4. Great tips
    Experiment replacing gelatin with agar-agar, a “vegan gelatin” which they (and I) used a lot to get the same consistency in many plates
    Thanks and congrats to Alta for the book.

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