November 9, 2010

Fall & Holidays

Hello Everyone!

So it has been an inexcusably long time since I last posted anything. I apologize for the absence, but we had a busy summer at the bakery filled with graduation cakes, wedding cakes, and much more. Anyway, it is time to get the blog back on track... The goal is to have a new post every week. Now, I have lots of interesting ideas on things to write about for the next few weeks, but I would also love your input! So if you have a gluten free cooking/baking/ living question please send it to me.

This fall it has been full on pumpkin palooza in the bakery. As many of you know we make our pumpkin bread year around, otherwise we have very sad customers. This time of year we make 9 large loaves a day 4-5 times a week! That's a whole lot of pumpkin bread! In addition we also make pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin chocolate chip squares, and pumpkin cupcakes. Our newest item that will be making it's debut later this week is our pumpkin cheesecake brownie! Now through Thanksgiving there will be plenty of pumpkin goodness for everyone.

Now, the topic of Thanksgiving brings up lots of questions from our loyal shoppers. So I will do my best to answer them below.

1. Do you make pies for Thanksgiving?

Sadly we don't. The reason is that we have a very small bakery. If any of you have made a pie before you know how much space and time they take. Making the actual pie dough is quite easy. However, rolling them out takes all of our counter space, then baking them off, then making the fillings, filling the pies, rolling out the top of the pie, egg washing, and baking again. It's a lengthy process for sure, and we would have to charge accordingly for all of the time they take.

We are playing with solutions to the pie dilemma for next year. We are considering selling the pre-baked crusts frozen, so that you could buy them fill them and bake them, and we are considering a baking mix for pie crust. Let us know which option you prefer!

2. What special holiday things will you be making?

We will have dinner rolls, brioche bread, stuffing mix, cranberry bread, sugar cookies, molasses spice cookies, cupcakes, muffins, coffee cakes, cranberry bread, and of course all things pumpkin!

3. Can gluten hide in Thanksgiving dinner?

YES! There are so many things you need to be careful about when you are preparing Thanksgiving dinner or celebrating with family members that are not gluten free. There are several brands of turkey that are gluten free, but it's important to read the labels! I found a few lists online but here was one good list:

Another common ingredient in a lot of the Thanksgiving side dishes is chicken stock, many of which contain gluten. So be sure to read all the labels!!! I like the Pacific Natural Foods brand, but there are lots, so choose whichever you like best.

Obviously stuffing is typically made with bread, so if you are having Thanksgiving with friends and they are making the turkey you should ask them not to stuff the turkey with the stuffing. They can bake their glutenous stuffing in a caserole dish instead. To add flavor to the turkey they can simply stuff the bird with citrus fruit, vegetables, and herbs. If you are making the turkey it's very easy to make a delicious gluten free stuffing! I like to make it with our brioche bread, which is how we make our stuffing mix at the bakery.

Gravy is another area where you either have to pass or make a substitution. This is pretty easy to make gluten free simply by swapping the flour for a combo of corn starch and rice flour. There are tons of easy recipes online too, so just do a google search and check them out.

Thankfully most all of the vegetable side dishes at Thanksgiving are naturally gluten free! But if you are not making them yourself it's always a good idea to double check the ingredients with the chef. Be sure to ask what kind of stock or broth they used in it!

And remember... NEVER feel like a pest or a burden by asking questions! You deserve to have a safe, delicious, and healthy dinner as much as anyone else at the table. If you are nervous about attending Thanksgiving dinner in a household that's not used to gluten free cooking it's a good idea to send an email in advance. Just write down a list of gluten free ingredients that will make the meal easier for the chef to prepare. Planning ahead will reduce anxiety for everyone!

If you have other questions please feel free to ask! I would love to help if I can. Good luck with your holiday menu planning!

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