The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking

Book Review: The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking|
80 Low-Carb Recipes that Offer Solutions for Celiac Disease, Diabetes, and Weight Loss
Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace

Amazing, easy-to-make recipes that revolutionize baking for gluten-sensitive, diabetic, and low-carb/low-sugar cooks.

Whether you are or know someone who is gluten-sensitive, celiac, diabetic, trying to lose weight, or just a foodie who loves alternative flours for baking, this book breaks new ground and offers new hope. “The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking” is co-authored by master baker, baking instructor and award-winning author Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace, a diabetic and gluten-intolerant baker who went on a mission to find truly delicious gluten-free, sugar-free baked goods.

So many other gluten-free recipes rely heavily on starches and legumes such as tapioca, rice, sorghum, bean flour, and potato starch. While these ingredients may be fine for some people, for others, the carbohydrates in the starches and legumes can cause a spike in blood glucose which is undesirable for diabetics or those restricting their carbohydrate intake.

In addition, many gluten-free recipes include sugars, either processed or natural, and these too are undesirable for those keeping their blood glucose in check, or are reducing their intake of sugars.

Enter on the scene: a truly gluten-free, sugar-free, high-protein and low carb recipe book for anyone and everyone who loves baked goods with flavor, texture and dare I say, excitement. To those of us who gave up hope of enjoying bread that feels and tastes like bread, or cookies, breadsticks, brownies, pie crusts and so on, the hope is back with the recipes from The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking. The only caveat here is that these recipes use nut flours and eggs, so if one is allergic to those ingredients, these recipes may not be the ticket. However, there are substitutions and variations that may be better suited for some. For us, we love to use nut and seed flours and we raise chickens for fresh eggs, so these recipes work perfectly. The added benefit of these recipes is the high-protein aspect, great for growing children and families.

What do you get when two bakers combine their talents, gifts and passions together to create a book? One is a master baker, author and baking instructor whose life and career focus on baking and the other is an baker who searches relentlessly for gluten-free, sugar-free baked goods to incorporate into her life and make available for others? What we are blessed to get is a ground-breaking, life-changing book of gluten-free, sugar-free, high-protein, low carb recipes that have been tested, re-tested and perfected for taste, ease, nutrition and flexibility for substitutions and variations, such as making these recipes vegan.


Peter Reinhart is a modern day legend in the baking world, he is known world-wide for his love of baking and expertise in technique, explanation and execution. Peter is a baking instructor and faculty member at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was the co-founder of Brother Juniper’s Bakery in Santa Rosa, California, and is the author of eight books on bread baking, including Crust & Crumb and The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (winner of the 2002 James Beard Cookbook of the Year and IACP Cookbook of the Year) and the 2008 James Beard Award-winning Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads. To Peter Reinhart, baking is a way of life, a spiritual experience and a continuing journey into new frontiers of ingredients and techniques.

Denene Wallace is a Type 2 diabetic and diagnosed with gluten-intolerance. Denene starting creating “alternative flour” gluten-free breads and baked goods, but was not satisfied with the results. She founded Proseed Flour, a business specializing in the production of high-protein/low-carb, gluten-free flour. Teaming up with Peter Reinhart and creating and using these recipes in her own diet has literally changed her life and the management of her gluten-intolerance and diabetes.

Denene states, “Believe me when I say this cookbook will help change your life. These recipes changed my life. I started creating “alternative bread” recipes several years ago after I was diagnosed with Type 2. I went through many many months of frustration because I did not have food that satisfied me. You don’t have to do that. Now you have a tool (this cookbook) that will help you make the transition easier into a low-carb lifestyle. This cookbook is not a diet. We are not sacrificing anything. These recipes taste and satisfy every bit as much as their carb-filled white flour counterparts. They are easy to prepare. My A1C dropped to normal in just a few months. I went from 5 insulin shots a day to zero. I keep my blood glucose in the normal range by eating the recipes you are about to read. Eat Well….Denene Wallace.”


As an author, recipe-developer, recipe-tester, product reviewer and book reviewer, I have not been this excited about a recipe book since my own came out! This one is a must-have for my gluten-free, sugar-free and low-carb friends as well as ANYONE else who loves great, healthy baked goods! You don’t have to be gluten-free to love these recipes, they are phenomenal. I am adding these to my daily diet.

This book is a ground-breaking creative accomplishment. The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking contains some of the best gluten-free, sugar-free, low carb baked goods I have ever tasted. With the added plus that these recipes use or can use only “real food” ingredients makes them perfect for our family and friends who shy away from processed foods and choose to make most foods from scratch.

The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking is visually stunning and the recipes work and work well. This is what I look for in a recipe book. It is well-worth the purchase price to buy a book that I can use and not sit on the shelf. For me, I use the recipes in this book every day and the plus is, my gluten-loving family loves these gluten-free recipes as well.

Some of our TOP favorites from The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking include:

Any Nut Bread (page 42)

GF bread
Italian Herb Bread
 (pages 48-49)  See recipe below                                                                           

GF Italian Herb Bread 1

Basic Pizza Crust (page 64)

GF Pizza Crust

Chocolate Pie Crust (page 194)

GF Choc Pie Crust 2


Make your own nut / seed flours at home.

I personally choose to use more almond flour in my recipes and I like to leave out the sweetener for the breads or for savory uses because almond flour is naturally sweet. For the sweeter dishes, desserts, crusts, cookies, I like to use stevia since we do not choose to use Splenda. I have had excellent results with Reinhart and Wallace’s recipes using only stevia when using a sweetener at all. Of course, tastes vary and stevia varies from brand to brand.

Highly recommended

Based on the book itself, the recipes, ingredients, ease, variations, taste and texture of the finished products, I give The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking 5 of out 5 stars and highly recommend it for all families interested in healthy, delicious from-scratch baked goods.

The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking by Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace
Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607741169
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: 8/14/2012
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 8.34 (w) x 10.12 (h) x 0.89 (d)

These recipes are designed to meet the dietary needs of people who are sensitive to gluten or have diabetic or prediabetic conditions. There are only small amounts of carbohydrates in most of these recipes, mostly from the nut and seed flours and small amounts of fruit or vegetables. In all of these cases, the carbs are balanced out by the complementary natural fiber in these foods. These are baked goods that have essentially no glycemic load, making it possible for people with blood sugar or insulin concerns to enjoy them freely.

The secret to the success of the recipes in this book is twofold: utilizing a variety of nut and seed flours, and working with alternative, sugar-free sweeteners. You’ll learn all about these ingredients in the chapter “The Basics.” Be sure to read the pantry section, as it provides details on how to make your own nut and seed flours, as well as why we mostly use certain alternative sweeteners (and why you need to do the same). Once you’ve digested that information, you’ll be able to join us in creating the most unique and delicious gluten-free, sugar-free, low-carb baked goods you’ve ever had. As a bonus, these baked goods are not only safe for diabetics and people with gluten sensitivity, but also a good choice for many folks who are looking for a healthful alternative to traditional baked goods. Barring allergies to nuts or other ingredients we call for, these recipes are a perfect fit for anyone on a low-carb diet, such as Atkins, South Beach, the Belly Fat Cure, Sugar Busters, and others, and are also a healthy alternative for kids’ lunch boxes.

Obviously, there is no one diet that works for everyone. If you’re allergic or sensitive to tree nuts, these recipes won’t work for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of specialized cookbooks available, including some with a focus on allergen-free recipes (we’ve listed our favorites in the Resources section). Our mission here is to serve the large and, unfortunately, growing population of people with diabetes, prediabetes, weight loss and obesity struggles, and gluten intolerance. If the innovative recipes in this book accomplish this by offering you new and delicious options, it will be a very good day for us.

These baked goods do, of course, contain calories; however, when used to replace your normal, starch-based baked goods, they will actually help with weight loss. These recipes are free of calories from the sugars and refined grains typically used in baked goods—considered to be “empty” calories because they contain minimal nutrients beyond their carbohydrate. Sugars and refined grains are also rapidly converted into blood sugar (glucose), and if they aren’t quickly burned up by activity, they’re eventually stored as fat.

We believe that everyone will love these recipes, even people without dietary restrictions. It’s true that the baked goods they yield won’t taste like those made with wheat. For that matter, they also won’t taste like gluten-free baked goods made with rice and tapioca flour—and we view this as a good thing! They have their own distinctive flavor and texture, and we believe that they are extremely delicious and will please your palate. And regardless of dietary restrictions, most folks could benefit from eating fewer sugars and refined carbs, and from introducing more variety into their diet. This book will help you do just that.

All of that said, we imagine you’ve chosen this cookbook because you or someone you love has issues with sugar, gluten, obesity, or carbohydrates. If so, you’re probably well aware of all of the ins and outs of these medical conditions. However, if you have further questions about these topics, the Resources section will point you toward some reputable sources of information. Just to be clear, we aren’t making any health claims or offering a dietary plan in this book. That’s a job for the experts, and we’re happy to refer you to them. However, we will give you just a bit of background information on food allergies, gluten sensitivity, obesity, and diabetic considerations in the sections that follow. 

Italian Herb Bread
Makes 1 loaf (10 to 12 slices)

The combination of herbs in this savory loaf is just one possibility among many. Feel free to substitute your favorite herbs for those we suggest. You could also use a blend, such as herbes de Provence, which contains many of the herbs listed here, plus lavender. Whatever herbs you choose, use a light hand—even small quantities of some herbs pack a punch, and too much can easily overwhelm the subtle flavors of the nut and seed flours.

2 cups (8 oz / 227 g) almond flour   (blanched or natural)
1 cup (4 oz / 113 g) brown or golden flaxseed meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum    (I did not use this)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, or 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil   (I used  2 teaspoons Italian seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, or a combination
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, or 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
4 eggs (7 oz / 198 g)
1 cup (8 oz / 227 g) unsweetened milk   (I used homemade almond milk minus the chia)
1/2 cup (4 oz / 113 g) salted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Line a 4½ by 8-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, then mist the pan with spray oil. (I did not use any oil on the parchment)

In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, basil, red pepper flakes, rosemary, parsley, thyme, and oregano and whisk until well mixed. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and butter together until thoroughly blended. Add the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon for 1 to 2 minutes to make a smooth, sticky, and pourable batter (see page 27).

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, then rotate and bake for about 35 more minutes, until golden brown and springy when pressed in the center and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Let the bread cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out the loaf. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.


The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking by Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace
Available: Barnes and Noble, Amazon

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Disclaimer: Vickilynn Haycraft is an independent Product Reviewer. She does not sell products or accept payment for reviews. The products reviewed are either purchased by Vickilynn Haycraft or provided for review and all reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained. The book “The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking” was purchased at the market price for this testing and review.

Shared with: GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday #129

About Vickilynn Parnes

A student of health and nutrition for 40+ years, Vickilynn Parnes has over 30 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and radio talk show host, as well as being full-time mom to 5 children.