Sunday, 20 February 2011

KNOW WHERE TO SPEND YOUR DOUGH: My exciting interview series continues with Rebecca, founder/owner of "Wildflour" which makes gluten-free baked goods!

KNOW WHERE TO SPEND YOUR DOUGH: My exciting interview series with local business owners!

Do you want a fun, exciting, and thriving community? Want your town to be a place you are proud of? Do you desire a great place to show off to friends and family? HELP out your community by spending your money at local businesses. Local businesses help make your community REAL, warm, and rich.
I will be interviewing local business owners to help out the community and keep you updated on what is up and coming.

I am a huge fan of gluten-free products! Lately, gluten-free products have been all over the market and grocery stores. From bread to cookies, to cupcakes to scones, gluten-free baked goods are become more popular.I was at the Redmond Farmer's Market and spotted "Wildflour," a gluten-free baked good company. I had a sample of their herbed foccica and LOVED the taste and texture. It was not dry or "stiff" like some other gluten-free baked items. Before Thanksgiving, I picked up a gluten-free rye loaf to make a gluten-free stuffing at the Mercer Island Farmer's Market. Want to taste a bit of some excellent gluten-free items? Check out Redmond Farmer's market starting May 7th.

1) Wildflour makes gluten-free baked goods. What made you want to create a GF baking business?
I have been gluten-intolerant for almost 20 years. I have dealt with numerous other food intolerances most of my life. When I was first diagnosed there were very few gluten-free products available. Very few people had knowledge of what "gluten-free" meant. By necessity I had to develop my own recipes, and have spent years experimenting with different gluten-free flours and combinations. Today gluten-free is practically a buzz word, yet there is still a lack of really great gf products available. After a few summers of writing a cookbook, I decided to put publishing efforts on hold, and start a baking business. With the great support of family and friends, "Wildflour" was born.

2) What are your top three best sellers at the market?
Artisan breads, (especially the Focaccia);tea loaves and muffins.

3) To someone who may not know, describe a "gluten-free" diet.
Gluten is the protein found most commonly in wheat, barley and rye. Oats are also a frequent culprit unless certified gluten-free, as well as spelt, kamut and emmer. Avoiding gluten means avoiding most breads, cereals, pastries, and pasta as well as many soups, gravies and sauces since wheat or wheat derivatives are used as a thickener in most prepared foods. Gluten can be a hidden ingredient in many foods, as it may be listed as modified food starch, malt or caramel coloring, etc. Since the FDA has mandated declaring wheat and gluten as a food allergen, reading most food labels will help a gluten-intolerant person to know if that particular food is safe. Eating out in restaurants may be more of a challenge, as the knowledge and training of the servers and chefs vary from place to place. Thankfully the knowledge of gluten-free is improving all the time, and many restuarants have added a gluten-free menu. For most people on a gluten-free diet, they have learned to bring their own food when traveling or going to potlucks, and have learned to inquire carefully about any foods others have prepared.
There are at least as many gluten-free grains as ones to avoid. Rice, potatoes, tapioca, corn, arrowroot, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum, teff, chick pea are just a few of the safe grains/starches that are allowed on a gluten-free diet.
All fruits, vegetables, meat and fish (without seasonings) are safe foods. While the calories of a gluten-free baked product are very similar to a traditional wheat product, I think those on a gluten-free diet are often forced to make healthier choices to avoid accidentally consuming gluten.

4) What are three main skills a person must have to start a baking business?
Determination, passion and organization. Willingness to work long, hard hours. There is also a great deal in expense in starting a baking business, especially if done in a dedicated gluten-free environment.

5) What are your future goals for Wildflour?
To get our artisan breads and pastries distributed on a larger level. Hire employees in 2011 so we can grown the business to keep pace with demand. Eventually a retail space - people really want a place they can come to buy a variety of product. We have also had a great demand for wholesale, and are currently evaluating different paths. We will be at the Redmond Saturday market again, starting May 7th.

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