Question: I would appreciate very much if you could refer me to a cookbook or other information regarding cooking without wheat flour. I am allergic to wheat.
Answer: The Rice Council of America, P.O. Box 740121, Houston, Tex. 77274 will mail a free copy of "Tasty Rice Recipes . . . for Those With Allergies" to anyone who sends a request and includes a self-addressed, stamped business envelope. The pamphlet includes wheat-free, wheat- and egg-free, wheat- and milk-free and wheat-, milk- and egg-free recipes.
The "Subject Guide to Books In Print 1986-87, Vol. 4" (R.R. Bowker Co.) lists the following wheat-free diet books:
"Wheatless Cooking" by Lynette Coffey (Ten Speed Press, 1986: $8.95).
"Wheat-Free, Milk-Free, Egg-Free Cooking" by Rita Greer (Thorsons, 1984: $3.95).
"Wheat & Gluten Free Cookery" by Judy Ridgway (David & Charles, 1986: $8.95).
"Gourmet Food on a Wheat-Free Diet" by Marion N. Wood (C.C. Thomas, 1979: $12.75).
The Times Food Department has not reviewed these books and cannot make recommendations. If not available at your local bookstore, perhaps the bookstore will order the book of your choice.
Q: Can you tell me the difference between unbleached and all-purpose flour? I have a bread book that calls for unbleached flour in each recipe. I use all-purpose and can't find unbleached in the market. Can I use all-purpose in the bread recipes?
A: Actually, unbleached and all-purpose flour are the same. All-purpose flour comes in two types--unbleached and bleached. These can be used interchangeably in recipes, according to Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker in "Joy of Cooking" (Bobbs-Merrill: 1986, $16.95).
In "The Simple Art of Perfect Baking" (Morrow, 1985: $24.95), author Flo Braker says, "Bleached all-purpose flour has usually been bleached of any pigmentation and contains a dough conditioner as well. This makes the flour slightly more acidic and the gluten more extensible when rolling doughs. When I need all-purpose flour for cakes, cookies, or doughs, this is the type I most often use.
"Unbleached all-purpose flour has not gone through the process that the bleached has. Some bakers feel it has more flavor and is healthier. The only difference I find is that doughs made with unbleached flour turn gray after storing a day or two in the refrigerator. The graying doesn't affect baking results."
Most Southern California supermarkets carry both types of all-purpose flour--look closely for bleached and unbleached subheadings on the packages.
Q: What is the best way to put out a fire in the kitchen?
A: The University of California Agricultural Extension Service advises if a grease fire occurs in the broiler or other part of the range, do not try to extinguish it with water--this will only spread the fire. Instead, turn off the gas or electricity, then use baking soda or table salt to smother the fire. Baking soda creates carbon dioxide gas, which cuts off the oxygen supply. Salt, when used in sufficient quantities, smothers the fire. Keep a large supply of both in an easily accessible place in the kitchen.
If a fire occurs in a skillet or pan, turn off the burner, then smother the flames by covering with a tight-fitting lid, foil or wooden cutting board. Use a heavy pot holder to protect your hands.
You may also want to purchase a dry-chemical fire extinguisher to store in a central location. Make certain family members know how to use it, as well as the other ways of putting out fires. One last word of advice: If you have any doubts about being able to put out a fire, get everyone out of the house and then call for help.
In response to the Feb. 12 You Asked About . . . column on getting bread dough to rise successfully, several readers wrote they get excellent results by placing the bowl of dough, covered with a towel, on top of an electric heating pad turned to either the low or medium setting.