Deerfields Bakery, the celebrated gem of the North Shore, just got a little bit healthier with their newest addition to their already yummy lineup. Launching a new line of gluten-free products, including sixteen varieties of cookies, coffeecakes, brownies, cheesecakes and breads, owner Kurt Schmitt is proud to be a leading Midwest retail baker paving the way in offering healthier alternatives to the normal bakery fare.
Never heard of gluten? The mentioning of " Celiac" not ringing any bells? No worries! Gluten is a protein commonly found in various grains including wheat, rye and barley. About 1% of the population suffers from Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine in genetically predisposed individuals. Celiac is caused by a reaction to the introduction of gluten into the digestive system. An inflammatory response to gluten produces a flattening of the lining of the small intestine. Unfortunately, for those with Celiac disease and other gluten or wheat intolerances, a lifelong gluten-free diet is the only option for treating the ailment.
Thus, for many individuals, products with content high in grains, like cookies, cupcakes and bread have been absolute no-nos for people suffering from Celiac...until now. Kurt Schmitt and girlfriend Lisa Albertson have been experimenting with various "formulas" for naturally gluten-free baked goods for over one year. It's been an uphill battle creating successful recipes since gluten is a key factor in the ability of dough to rise while baking. In fact, a lot of gluten-free products already available in special grocery stores and food markets are close to being inedible because of the limitations in the baking process. Schmitt and Albertson, however, were in for the challenge. "We had so many frequent requests for gluten-free goods, we just couldn't ignore the market for the product anymore," Schmitt said. And we're glad they didn't because now we have a substantial line of not only edible but absolutely delicious gluten-free baked goods.
A normal gluten-free recipe for something like blueberry cream cheese coffeecake would taste grainy, perhaps even chewy and dry. Not so with Deerfields' coffeecake which was fresh, fluffy and full of sweet moisture. Cookies like the Wally Mon, infused with cranberries, white chocolate chips and walnuts, were sensational treats. Just about the time you try the rich and succulent Triple Chocolate brownie, you may wonder why you haven't been gluten-free all your life.
Gluten-free, in fact, isn't just for the wheat and gluten intolerant. It's actually a very healthy method of introducing more whole grains into the diet. And since many individuals with Celiac disease do not show any symptoms until later on in life, it's a very healthy option for anyone who could be genetically inclined toward the disorder.
Because many individuals who suffer from Celiac are highly sensitive to even the slightest amount of gluten, Deerfields has separated their regular cooking kitchen from their gluten-free cooking kitchen. "Cross-contamination is a major factor in selecting certified gluten-free ingredients and products," said Albertson. "The only realistic way of creating this line of gluten-free products was to give them their own gluten-free kitchen."
These products are then shipped to the other two Deerfields locations in Deerfield and Buffalo Grove. City dwellers need not despair though since Deerfields gluten-free baked goods are also available at Whole Foods locations in Wheaton, Lincoln Park and the South Loop.
Deerfields Bakery is located at 25 S. Roselle Rd. in Schaumburg, 813 N. Waukegan Rd. in Deerfield and 201 N. Buffalo Grove Rd. in Buffalo Grove.
For more information on Celiac Disease and screenings, visit http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/celiac/.
Published on Aug 03, 2008