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Monday, December 8, 2014

Chocolate Guru Alice Medrich Demystifies Alternative Grains

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 3:52 PM

click to enlarge cover._flavor_flours._high_res.jpg
I’ll admit I sometimes roll my eyes when it comes to the whole gluten-free thing, so a gluten-free cookbook is not one I’d particularly seek out. But here is one that just happens to be gluten-free, in which Alice Medrich demystifies the world of alternative grains.

Gluten-free baking can be daunting, especially since most bakers know, you can’t just replace gluten-free flour for regular and expect stellar results.

But Medrich has taken the guesswork away. Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours (Artisan) is the latest by the local – remember Cocolat, Berkeleyans? – James Beard award-winning author, who is known not only as the First Lady of Chocolate, but was the first person to introduce Americans to chocolate truffles in the early seventies.

Already a baking guru, some years ago, Medrich began to notice all the alternative flours becoming available, and started to experiment with them as alternative ingredients for her book Pure Desserts. She was so pleased with the outcome and the feedback she got, that she took up the challenge of using these alternatives as “hero” ingredients, rather than just as substitutions for wheat.

So when Medrich writes that brown rice flour is a superb grain to use for intensely chocolate-y brownies, I’m going to take her word for it.

Gluten-free people who have a major sweet tooth will rejoice at this book, but there’s plenty for the rest of us, too: Nutella sandwich cookies made from sorghum and white rice flour; black cherry chocolate linzer torte made from teff flour; buckwheat coffee baby cakes with toffee sauce, the list goes on.

By itself, sorghum flour doesn’t excite too much, but once you say "sorghum layer cake with walnut-butter praline," that has a whole different ring to it, doesn’t it?

Alice Medrich will be at Omnivore Books on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.
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About The Author

Alix Wall

Alix Wall

Alix Wall is an Oakland-based freelance writer and certified natural foods chef. Her web site is


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