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Gluten-Free Baking Philosophy

gluten free frosted soft sugar cookie

I started baking gluten-free items for a family member and some friends who were gluten-sensitive over 15 years ago. My goal then is the same now, If you can tell that it is gluten-free, it's not good enough. I feel there is no reason why someone who is gluten-sensitive, or intolerant, should have to eat a bad cookie, cupcake or treat. When I opened One Baker's Journey I made sure to always have gluten-free options on the menu. These are much harder, and more expensive to develop, but I feel it is worth it. There are several treats (such as my Lemon Pound Cake) that are ordered almost exclusively by people who do not have sensitivities. The fact that it is gluten-free makes them better!

To most of us it seems like gluten-intolerance has been a product of modern times. In reality the ancient Greeks were the first to document the intolerance, and Celiac disease was first described by a doctor in 1887 saying symptoms could be "cured by changing their diet." It wasn't until the 1950's that studies pinpointed the autoimmune disease to grains that produce gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. While european countries had a head start, in America gluten-free foods and standards really took shape starting in the early 2000's. When the FDA specified labeling rules for gluten-free items in 2013, the industry was selling over $10 billion in goods.

Unfortunately most of the early foods from bakeries and manufacturers were not that good. Many were either gummy or hard, and had an unpleasant flavor or texture. Baking gluten-free at home wasn't much better either. Only when manufactures developed gluten free flour blends that could substitute the wheat flour you were used to, did baking improve. Even with these blends, the end result is not the same. This is because one blend of ingredients cannot work for all baked goods. A crispy cookie needs a different blend than a chewy cookie. Even a cupcake needs a different blend than a cake. Because of this, I make my own blends that have proven results for me. This means sourcing ingredients at multiple manufacturers over sending my husband to pick up a "bag of flour." But the result is very worth the time and effort.

Over the past few years I have found that I too, am sensitive to gluten. As a baker it has been a hard thing to come to terms with. Thankfully, if I am careful I can still enjoy my other baked goods. But it also has renewed my commitment to continue to produce more items that everyone can enjoy.

I follow all cleaning procedures and labeling requirements set fourth by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. All gluten-free items are made in a kitchen that uses gluten containing ingredients. I never bake gluten-free and "regular" items at the same time and clean between items. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about my process.

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