What I’m Talking About: Good New Gluten-Free Products

Yesterday I went to the September meeting of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group to catch up on all the local buzz in my gluten-free world. Before going into the auditorium (yes, auditorium; there were hundreds of people) to listen to a guest speaker from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University give a medical update, I perused the vendor hall with the half-hearted hope that there might be a vendor I could be really happy about. I’ve learned not to expect much from food companies when it comes to gluten-free food. As a result, when the small gems do appear (Crunchmaster® Crackers! More Than Gourmet® Demi-Glaces! Aleia’s Gluten-Free Almond Horns!), they shine even more brightly than they might otherwise.

Even so, after nearly nine years of looking and tasting and hoping, I’m still surprised when out of nowhere, I’m caught off guard. And that’s what happened yesterday. Two new vendors at the meeting gave me hope that things really are getting better.

Homestead Gluten-Free, a new Nanuet, New York based company, makes a packaged mix called Soft’n Hearty™ “Easy Roll Mix” that allows home bakers to make a really good tasting, soft textured roll. In fact, you can use it to make rolls in a variety of shapes and sizes for sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and even cloverleaf dinner rolls. It is available online at their website and at local stores in the New York metro area.

Although I am a big believer in do-it-yourself, this mix produces a hamburger bun that, if I wasn’t going to make it from scratch, I’d be happy to eat and serve my family. It’s a good product for people want to indulge in the occasional packaged mix, and for those who have absolutely no inclination to use a recipe and a gluten-free flour mix that they themselves have to mix and measure. I also think it’d be nice for people on vacations (when they have access to an oven) and they want to bake a few rolls without a lot of fuss and bother. And finally, it is the kind of mix I could gladly recommend to those kind-hearted souls who don’t typically bake gluten-free but want to make something fresh and delicious for a visiting gluten-intolerant guest.

On down the line I came across another vendor who made me smile. When Helene Godin offered up samples from her new venture, by the way Bakery in Hastings-On-Hudson, New York, I chose carefully, as I always do. I typically try to pick something that, if it’s made well, will showcase the baker’s palette and ability to finesse their way through a gluten-free recipe. I made my choice and gingerly took a taste. Godin’s Lemon Tea Cake was bursting with fresh lemon flavor. I stopped in my tracks. The texture was soft and delicate. To my great pleasure, I had come across a baked good from a gluten-free bakery that actually looked and tasted “real”. No need to compromise for it being gluten-free. I can honestly say it had no weird aftertaste, no discernable grit, and it had a clean uncluttered flavor. It made me happy and hopeful.

So today anyway, I think the gluten-free world is a little nicer place and a little easier to navigate because of these two companies. I’m starting to see more and more people who strive to produce gluten-free products that aren’t just about “making due”; they are raising the bar on the quality of the food available for us to buy. And that is what I’m talking about.

6 Responses to What I’m Talking About: Good New Gluten-Free Products

  1. Cathy Isaksen says:

    I am enjoying your GF Baking classics. For so long my baking experiences were often soggy or gritty. Thank you for developing delightful things to bake. Do you have a GF chocolate peanut butter cheesecake recipe. My husband is not Celiac but eats with me very happily. This would be a special treat for his birthday. Thanks so much
    Cathy

    • Annalise says:

      hi!
      I’m glad you are enjoying my recipes! I don’t have specific recipe for a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. But I know it wouldn’t be too hard. You can use my chocolate tart shell recipe (from GF Baking Classics) for the crust and simply add 1 cup of peanut butter to my Classic Cheesecake recipe (also from GF Baking Classics) and leave out the lemon juice and lemon zest from the ingredient list. You could add chocolate chips and/or make a chocolate ganache for the top. Is that the kind of cake you were looking for? Let me know and I will research it for you and get back to you within the next day or two.
      very best,
      Annalise

      • Cathy Isaksen says:

        Thanks so much for your suggestions on the choc. peanut butter cheese cake. I think I’ll try the ganache for the top. He has such a sweet tooth and doesn’t complain about our GF home.
        Blessings, Cathy

        • Annalise says:

          When you add the peanut butter (with the sour cream), you may need to add a bit of liquid (maybe a tablespoon or so if it seems too thick). You can also add chopped up Reeses cups instead of chocolate chips if you are planning any mix ins (Sous Chef boy suggested this). Can’t wait to hear how it comes out!

  2. Cathy Isaksen says:

    I just baked your oatmeal raisin cookies (page 123, Gluten-Free Baking Classics). I had a horrible time getting them off the cookie sheet whole. I tried letting them set on cookie sheet for a minute before removing them. Even using a Silpat sheet didn’t help. They seem a bit crumbly. Is that because I used unsalted butter? I live in Oregon and the humidity is med-hi, should I use more flour? Thanks for your help, Merry Christmas, Cathy

    • Annalise says:

      hi!
      I’ll need to ask some questions to be able to answer you (the butter wouldn’t make a difference in terms of it sticking). Did you spray the cookie sheet? What kind of cookie sheet did you use?
      Did you over bake the cookies by mistake? If they were crumbly, this is an indication that you might over-baked them either because you left them in too long, or you used dark pans and didn’t adjust the temperature (Chapter 3 when discussing dark pans), or your oven was running hot. OR you used a different brown rice flour which absorbed more moisture than the extra finely ground brown rice flour I specify in the recipe and your cookies dried out. stuck to the pan and then were a bit crumbly. But don’t worry -we’ll figure it out! I made these cookies recently, so I have lots of ideas for you!
      Happy holidays to you, too!
      What do you think?
      Very best regards,
      Annalise

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