Several years ago, after much searching, I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease. My first thought was, no problem, I can leave out regular bread, and anything else with gluten; that’s not so hard. No more bagels, fine. No more walking past the Whole Foods bread counter when they just put out the freshly baked loaves, and the entire place smells like warm bread. This one was harder, much harder, but still okay. It didn’t really hit home. The idea of going gluten free really did not completely register until I was unceremoniously brought down to earth with the realization that for all the wheat bread that was now off limits, something else would be too; like the occasional real croissant or French baguette. Gulp!! Okay, now what?
After graduating high school, I went on a trip with my family to Europe and experienced first hand what it is like to sit in a cafe in Paris and ‘people watch’, and to walk down one of the quaint streets like the Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondisement, lined with colorful flower markets, cafes and patisseries.
Of course, at the time I did not yet know that I had problems with gluten, so the idea of indulging in some of the beautiful baguettes and croissants was not even an issue. Now, I know that if we went back there, not being able to sample any of the breads or pastries would not even bother me at all. Being completely off gluten for a few years changes your taste for certain foods a bit. But then, staring down a piece of a real baguette in Paris, and saying no, would have been much harder.
Most anyone who has to go gluten free will say that it is really hard to find a commercially available gluten free bread of any sort that even somewhat replicates the texture, or taste of regular gluten bread. Much of it is dry, tasteless, leaden, or contains enough starch to mortar bricks together. Part of this is what started both my Mom and I on the road of working together to create recipes which more than measure up to any regular gluten fare, but are completely healthy and gluten free.
However, there is still a time, for convenience sake, if nothing else, when it is nice to have a commercially available bread to fall back on. So it was more than a pleasant surprise to walk into our friendly Vitamin Cottage the other day and discover, wonder of all wonders, baguettes. Gluten free baguettes!
Not wanting to pass them by, we purchased a couple of baguettes to try them out, as we were unfamiliar with this particular bakery. Against the Grain is a dedicated gluten free bakery in Vermont, striving to produce the best artisan gluten free breads possible. Along with baguettes, they also produce bagels, rolls, pizzas, and pizza crust, based on tapioca flour, without the use of gums, and with all of the dairy and eggs used sourced from humanely raised hormone free farms. On their website, they do mention their awesome practice of recycling just about anything used in the production of their products, which especially endeared them to us. For anyone interested, they are presently looking to re-home several tons of crushed egg shells, with more coming every week. Any takers?
Not quite knowing what to expect, we were amazed at the wonderful texture and taste of their baguettes, which were light and fluffy, with a golden crunchy crust. Almost indistinguishable from the regular gluten containing version, you can almost imagine sitting in a patisserie with a great cup of coffee, watching the world go by as you enjoy some of this crusty, delicious bread. In all fairness to our dairy free readers, we should mention that these contain some dairy (mozzarella cheese), which adds a certain amount of elasticity and chewiness to the bread.
Such an amazing find, and definitely something that we will seek out again in the future. Do add them to your next grocery list and give them a try. Let us know, how you like them.
(Ed. Note: This is not a company sponsored product review – just our own humble opinion.)
Update: Against the Grain now also offers gluten and dairy free Bagels and Rolls.