Attention Peter Reinhart fans, the crusty bread guru has a new baking book that will hit shelves in two weeks! Take note, there's been a slight change of his baguette direction.

This time, he co-authored the book with Denene Wallace, a baker who specializes in high-protein, low-carbohydrate, gluten-free baking. The book title? The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking: 80 Low-Carb Recipes That Offer Solutions for Celiac Disease, Diabetes and Weight Loss. Yes, you read that correctly.

How does Peter Reinhart gravitate from a career dedicated to perfecting gloriously gluten-filled breads to a baking book filled with chapters on gluten-free, sugar-free breads (hazelnut bread, cloverleaf rolls), pizza-focaccia (tomato basil pizza crust, olive oil-parsley foccaccia), crackers-breadsticks-pretzels (rosemary crackers, sesame seed breadsticks, three-pepper pretzels), breakfast breads (strawberry coconut muffins, sweet potato ginger biscuits, blueberry pancakes), cookies (hazelnut vanilla, chocolate pecan, butter-almond), brownies and cakes (pumpkin blondies, applesauce coffee cake, chocolate cream cheese cake) and pies (maple pecan, vanilla cream, cherry)?

Well, as Reinhart explains in the Introduction, that's a personal sort of question.

I am not sensitive to gluten, as my previous books attest. However, neither am I immune to the dietary challenges brought about by the passionate consumption of products made with wheat, as anyone who has seen me also knows.

In the Introduction, Reinhart recounts what he calls his “lean and mean” Jack LaLanne 20-something years, to opening his bakery in 1986 (“I had become stocky”) to the levitating scale needle as he transitioned into teaching and writing books. It was his wife, Reinhart says, who convinced him to get serious about his health when he topped 200 pounds. (We're sure she got a kick out of reading her husband's comment in the next sentence: “Fortunately, I never stopped working out, so even though I was, to put it bluntly, fat, it was firm fat, marbled with muscle.”)

Gluten-free flours and lemon drop cookie dough; Credit: Leo Gong/Ten Speed Press

Gluten-free flours and lemon drop cookie dough; Credit: Leo Gong/Ten Speed Press

Though Reinhart has experimented extensively with gluten-free baking over the years (one of his recipes is used as the gluten-free crust for a major frozen-food company), he says it was co-author Wallace, who once had a gluten-free flour company called Proseed Flour, who taught him the finer points of baking with xanthan gum and tapioca flour. Nut and seed variations like almond, hazelnut, pecan and sesame seed flour make up the bulk of the AP flour ingredient swaps in everything from spicy breadsticks (p. 105) to nut brownies (p. 168).

Note that this is not simply a gluten-free book but, as the subtitle explains, one for those on a sugar-free or calorie-restricted diet as well (Wallace says she no longer relies on insulin to regulate her blood sugar). In other words, this is also a diet book (low-carb, high-protein). A fine point, perhaps, but one that necessitates an awful lot of reliance on Stevia in the recipes when you flip through the pages. If you've ever cooked extensively with the herb, you probably already know from tasting experience that the sweetener has the occasional tendency to make its bitter presence known in those pecan-almond flour waffles (p. 135).

We merely point this out as a forewarning that you will not find a Gluten-Free Girl approach to finding the absolute best-tasting gluten-free peach pie (but always sugar- or honey-kissed, or maybe topped with vanilla bean ice cream) recipe here. It's simply an impossibility — or perhaps a fun weekend challenge for someone as seasoned in baking as Reinhart — when those gluten-free “inside-out peanut butter cup cookies” now have a sugar-free peanut butter, sugar-free chocolate syrup and sugar-free maple-flavored syrup disadvantage. But for anyone on a sugar-restricted and gluten-free diet for diabetic or other health reasons, it's pretty impossible to flip past that Italian herb bread recipe. And that's The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking.

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