A friend DM’ed me on Instagram last week asking me which of two new whole-grain baking books I was more excited about—Roxana Jullapat’s Mother Grains or Jen Lapidus’s Southern Ground—so she could recommend one of them to another friend. My answer was the same I’ll give to you now: Don’t make me choose! I love them both, and really do think that anyone who is serious about bread baking and heritage flours is going to want to add both of them to their collection. While both books are about using whole grains and fresh/stone-milled flours beyond wheat, they come at the subject from unique and complementary angles.
Mother Grains is a guide to using eight different grains and flours, all from the perspective of a single baker (Roxana is the head baker and owner of Friends and Family in Los Angeles, and many of the 100+ recipes are pulled straight from her bakery’s menu). The book is organized into sections on each grain, with general buying and usage information, followed by a wide variety of recipes employing them—savory and sweet, pastries and breads, and even some main dishes (including one for gallo pinto, a delicious Costa Rican rice-and-bean dish that I made a few weeks ago after hearing Roxana talk about it on a Zoom panel about rice). In the back of the book there is a section on sourcing grains and flours, along with a super handy grain and flour weight-to-volume conversion table.
Meanwhile, Southern Ground approaches its subject from the perspective of a miller-baker. Jen Lapidus is the owner and founder of Carolina Ground Flour, a North Carolina-based mill, and the book tells the tale of her journey from bread baker to miller for other bakers. (Carolina Ground is one of the millers listed in Roxana’s sourcing guide.) And while it includes some of her own recipes, the majority of them are from more than twenty other bakers who use her flours, which provides the reader a sense of the wide variety of ways one can put each type of flour to use. (While Mother Grains contains recipes using both whole grains and milled flours, Southern Ground is strictly about working with flours.) The book is organized by grain and flour type, whole grain to refined, making it a great resource for someone looking to start baking with more whole grain flours, but unsure of where to begin.
Both Jen and Roxana have graciously offered to let me share recipes from their books here, so I thought it would be fun to a) feature something different from the usual Wordloaf fare, and b) compare two recipes for the same product. Which is why I chose chocolate chip cookies. Not only does everyone love chocolate chip cookies, but each of these recipes illustrates exactly what I described above. Roxana’s “master” CCC recipe calls for sorghum flour, but instructions and descriptions are given for versions using seven other possible flours (all of the grains covered in the book, aside from corn, in fact; I made mine using spelt flour). Meanwhile, the Southern Ground CCC recipe—which is from Asheville, NC baker Ashley Capps—features Carolina Ground’s Appalachian white whole-wheat flour.
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Like the books, both recipes are wonderful and definitely worth your time. Don’t pick, get them both!!