Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Wee Bit About Gluten-Free

In the past couple of weeks we’ve been doing a soft-launch of our new line of gluten-free tarts. This has been a learning process for us. Much like crawling before walking (then climbing the living room bookcase), my team has been testing the limits of our dough recipe and its ingredients. For all of us, it’s new territory and we’re up to the challenge.

We’ve been getting requests for gluten-free products for the past couple of years. Those of you whom I chatted with at farmers markets (or in your home kitchen, and also over the phone) were subjected to a litany of questions such as - can you eat corn? (50/50 split), do you eat dairy? (also 50/50) are you vegan? (almost everyone wasn’t). I wanted to learn more about where the boundaries of people’s intolerances lay (and learned a lot more about their personal eating preferences to boot).

Then one spring Saturday afternoon, I was sampling our tarts at a local Whole Foods and in the course of two hours, four people came up to our table and asked me if we had anything gluten-free. Hmmmm, if that wasn’t a sign it was time to test out some gluten-free crust ideas, I don’t know what was.

Thus far, we’ve been able to set aside a day to for gluten-free dough making (and rolling), when no wheat flour is in use. We have separate equipment for creating and filling the tarts. At the moment my team is producing the dough in small batches, by hand, until we can justify adding additional equipment to make their production larger and faster.

Also along with the process, we’re feeling out which of our fillings customers might be interested in (so far anything dairy-free is winning, which is interesting since most people I spoke with about being gluten-intolerant ate some dairy).
So expect more questions from us at the farmer’s markets if you purchase one of our gluten-free tarts, we’d like to hear what you think.

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