A handbook of common (and not-so-common) baking substitutions.
The fourth entry in MacLeod’s (The Waste-Wise Kitchen Companion, 2017, etc.) ongoing series on kitchen tips and tricks focuses on baking. As in previous volumes, she presents an alphabetical list of ingredients both familiar and unusual, from açai to zereshk, with brief explanations of appropriate substitutions. Many entries are quite detailed, with information on which swaps are appropriate for which types of recipes. The entries on flour, sugar, and chocolate and cocoa are particularly comprehensive, with MacLeod dedicating more than a dozen pages to discussing the various types of flour, from the basic all-purpose variety to more specialized variations, such as amaranth, teff, and popcorn flour. Many suggestions will help cooks who want to adapt recipes to be vegan or gluten-free. Other tips could save the day for those who discover that their cupboard is bare of basic items, such as baking powder (use a combination of cream of tartar and baking soda, instead, MacLeod says) or brown sugar (mix granulated sugar with molasses). Egg alternatives include tofu, yogurt, or chia seeds, depending on the recipe. The book also includes a helpful list of food equivalents and yields, which will be especially useful for those who lack a food scale or are unsure of how much of a particular item to buy. For example, one ounce of cocoa powder, she says, is equivalent to five tablespoons plus one teaspoon. A list of baking-pan equivalents is also practical for those whose kitchens aren’t stocked with a wide variety of cake pans, and a list of oven-temperature equivalents will aid those who want to translate recipe instructions from Fahrenheit to Celsius. Finally, the author’s comprehensive bibliography points readers to cookbooks and other references to further assist them in their culinary efforts. Those who are familiar with MacLeod’s previous works will notice some repetition here; the entries for vanilla extract and date paste, for instance, are identical to those in Seasoning Substitutions. However, there’s enough variation between the two texts to make this a worthy stand-alone.
A straightforward, easy-to-use reference for home bakers.