February 12, 2011

Good to the Grain

I don't normally write about cookbooks because, for one, I don't own that many (the internet is my recipe mecca), but it would be a near sin if I didn't purchase Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce.  If you can't tell from the title (or the picture, heh), Good to the Grain is all about baking with whole grain flours-- everything from the commonplace whole wheat to the not so commonplace teff is used.

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of baking with whole grains, but I know a lot of people aren't.  Whether it's through bad reputation or eerily cardboard-like cookies, most people think whole grains detract from baked goods, but in my experience, this is simply not the case.  I think Boyce's book does a wonderful job in proving that pie crusts, muffins, and cookies made from whole wheat, millet, buckwheat, or kamut can be just as delicious as those that result from white flour.  The book's recipes are rustic and homey-- don't expect to find your next celebration cake here, perfect for everyday baking.  

I've already made two recipes from Good to the Grain and both were thoroughly enjoyed by myself and others.  First, I made the Grahams (lately, I seem to have a penchant for recreating childhood snack classics) and, then, the Pear Compote (the last chapter of the book is on jams and compotes that serve to complement the other recipes).  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, and perhaps more unfortunately, I don't think I can provide you with the recipes because of copyright issues.

Although I really like the book, I do wish some of the recipes called for larger quantities of whole grain flours (luckily, I'm not afraid to experiment on my own).  Still, I understand the delicate nature of baking and realize that certain flours just won't yield the same results as their more refined siblings (I often discover this in my own kitchen when rampant substitutions lead to less-than-desirable consequences).  I also know that Boyce didn't set out to make a purely health-oriented cookbook.  These recipes are more about celebrating the taste and integrity of whole grain flours than they are about creating a low-fat dessert, and that I can appreciate.

Edited to add:
Since I can't publish the recipes (Grahams, Pear Compote) here, I thought it'd be nice to guide you to some people who've feature Good to the Grain recipes on their blogs.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Cakelets via the Kitchn
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies via Orangette
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies via 101 Cookbooks (whole wheat cc cookies in cookie cake form!)
Rustic Rhubarb Tarts via Smitten Kitchen
Oatmeal Pancakes via Smitten Kitchen
Iced Oatmeal Cookies via Smitten Kitchen

1 comment:

Delphine from Antiquarian Cooks said...

How good is this book? I got it over the summer and have baking pretty much exclusively from it since. The chocolate chip cookies are seriously good, as is the olive oil rosemary cake.

I agree though, I wish the recipes called for more whole grain flours. In some instances it's actually more all-purpose than whole grain. I'm thinking of experimenting with substitutions or changing the proportions.

Anyway, I'm happy you got this book!