day-to-day activities

Wheat-free Baking

Today I went on a culinary journey. I set out to explore a new bakery. Well, it’s not new; it’s two years old, but it’s new to me. A friend sent me a note about a gluten-free bakery in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It’s called Rose’s Bakery. All of their products are wheat-free. They also have dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian and corn-syrup free products. I thought that this might only attract customers with allergies that these product affected. It does not.

When Margie and I entered the bakery, it was packed. Sure, it was right around lunch time but it’s a wheat-free bakery. We noticed that there were customers of all ages here buying baked goods and lunch items. Rose’s has sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch. On one wall, there is a giant blackboard with all the lunch items. Most look very good. You get the idea that they have really got the idea of how to make wheat-free palatable. Too often, wheat-free or dairy-free means no flavor or texture. I didn’t really want lunch yet. (more to come on that) I ordered a chocolate pumpkin cupcake. It was a brown cupcake with light brown “buttercream” swirled on top. I asked the counter person if they got much business from folks who don’t have any dietary restrictions. She said that it was about 10% of their business. She, in fact, did not have any allergies. She just likes their food.

In the back, I could see bakers working hard on getting ready for Thanksgiving. They were offering a Thanksgiving cookie with the same pumpkin buttercream spelling out “Happy Thanksgiving”. The sanitation is very good and strict. All the baking is done on premise and is very strictly regulated to keep wheat out of the equation. This is important as any wheat could jeopardize their customers health.

Off to the side of where the food is ordered, is a dining room for about 20 people. There weren’t many people in the dining room but workers were getting take-out orders ready. It seems that a good portion of their business is take-out. I had a hard time getting the attention of the counter help because they kept answering the phone. I think they should service the customers right in front of them before taking orders from the phone.
Margie and I left the bakery and went to try the wheat-free cupcake I had purchased. The “buttercream” was cold and hard. This is fine, but it should be served at room temperature. I determined that is was a hydrogenated oil product that looks and feels much like real buttercream. I bit into the cake portion of the cupcake and was rewarded with….not much. The texture wasn’t bad but it wasn’t that great either. It felt like regular cake but it had no chocolate flavor.

Overall, the bakery is good one for folks with allergies. In fact, it is a spectacular bakery for that population. However, I think I will stick to good old nasty butter, eggs, cream and milk.

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