Peter Reinhart Bakes Treats at Central Market Cooking School

Peter Reinhardt making gluten-free hush puppies.

Peter Reinhart, four-time James Beard book award-winning author and baking instructor at Johnson and Wales, taught 50 lucky souls at Central Market on Lovers Lane a selection of tricks from his recent book, The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking. The man himself was baking treats for us, but my newly developed almond allergy kept me from sampling the creations. Life is not fair.

However, I did get to sit by the assistant manager of Central Market’s baking department. He confirmed that the treats were, as I expected, delicious despite their lack of gluten and refined sugars. Reinhart, known for his deep knowledge of the art and science behind baking, slid in a textbook’s worth of food science surrounding gluten-free baking while whipping up six different recipes from his book. There was a hopeful scientific takeaway for me: all nut flours are interchangeable in his recipes, so I will be recreating the sweet pecan almond bread with hazelnuts instead of almonds this weekend.

Biscotti with chocolate drizzle. Sweet pecan and almond bread, crowd favorite.

Reinhart first got interested in gluten-free baking because of a friend who suffers from Celiac disease (gluten intolerance). When Denene Wallace, co-author of The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking, came up with the idea of using nut and seed flours in place of the standard tapioca-potato-rice flour trilogy that once dominated gluten-free baking, Reinhart was sold. It was time to write a gluten-free baking book. You can read more about their partnership at their book website.

Toasting bread with blueberry jam

Does a two and a half hour class taught by such an esteemed baker plus a signed copy of his latest book for $75 sound like a steal? That’s because it is. Don’t miss your next chance. Central Market has an incredible line-up of classes. I’ve already reserved a space at the February 28th class with Christina Tosi, pastry chef at Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City. There were 34 seats left when I last checked.