Gluten-free Baked Goods
Sticking to a diet is difficult for most of us during the holidays, but if you suffer from food allergies this time of year is particularly challenging.
To call attention to the problem, this week has been proclaimed National Gluten-Free Baking Week. People with Celiac Disease are allergic to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The disease is an inherited autoimmune disease that affects more than 3 million Americans; it affects the digestive process of the small intestine and is triggered by the consumption of gluten. One in 133 people have Celiac disease, and about 97 percent of those cases are undiagnosed.
Recently, Deerfields Bakery launched a line of gluten-free products, including coffeecake, cheesecake, brownies and cookies baker that Lisa Albertson developed in response to the rising demand for quality gluten-free products.
"Over the years, we have had increasing requests for gluten-free products," Albertson explains. "We're bakers, after all, and this was a fun challenge for us," Schmitt said.
Deerfields , a family-owned business located in Chicago's north and northwest suburbs, offers the gluten-free treats at all three locations, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove and Deerfield as well as online at deerfieldsglutenfree.com. The gluten-free goods are baked at the Schaumburg store.
Since so many households must buy separate food for Celiac patients, Deerfields wanted these families to be able to buy just one baked good that everyone could enjoy and help reduce the worry of cross-contamination. That is a concern for people with Celiac, so Deerfields has a designated gluten-free production area in its Schaumburg facility. It has a large production area and only cakes are decorated in one part of the bakery.
"We purchased a brand-new oven to bake gluten-free items," Deerfields owner Kurt Schmitt explains. "We don't have any wheat, bran, barley or rye flours stored on the premises." In fact, all wheat products are baked at the Buffalo Grove facility and shipped in closed cabinets early every morning, making it easy to avoid cross-contamination. "We mix, bake, cool, and package gluten-free products the same day to prevent cross-contamination," Schmitt said.
"Another priority for us is developing gluten-free bread formulas," remarked Schmitt, a former board member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America. "We have had many requests for bread and we are working to provide products that are satisfying."
Deerfields Bakery offers three lines of gluten-free packaged cookies: Chips, Buttons and Dreams. The Chips line features seven kinds of cookies that have various combinations of chips, nuts and/or dried fruit. The Buttons line includes four traditional flavors: sugar, lemon, ginger and cinnamon, and the Dreams line boasts a brownie in every bite and comes in five varieties. The recommended retail price is between $2.75 to $2.95 for two cookies, and $6.95 to $7.50 for six cookies.
Deerfields also offer two gluten-free coffeecakes: Sour Cream Pecan (11 oz $7.95/ 12 oz $12.95) and Blueberry Cream Cheese (12 oz $7.95 / 24 oz $12.95) baked in its own charming paper mold. Every week, Deerfields is adding items to its gluten-free line-up, including Triple Chocolate Brownies ($9.95), Out-of-this-World Cheesecake ($15.95), and Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache (6 pack/ $6.95). The bakery is planning to produce gluten-free decorated cakes with an initial limited offering of cakes, fillings and icings.
"You won't even be able to tell these products are gluten free," Schmitt says. "The response from our gluten-free customers has been heartwarming."
Schaumburg: 25 S. Roselle Road
Buffalo Grove: 201 N. Buffalo Grove Rd.
Deerfield: 813 N. Waukegan Rd.
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