Gluten-free bakery offers baking lessons
Arlene Kennedy’s eyes begin to mist up when she remembers her daughter’s words: “Thanks to you I don’t feel celiac any more.”
That made the trials and tribulations of coming up with recipes for gluten-free baked goods worth every moment. Thanks to Kennedy’s success in the kitchen, her daughter Arianna, who has had to sacrifice so many things for fear of getting deathly ill, can now enjoy the foods that she craves. Freshly baked baguettes. Divinely moist carrot cake. Highly addictive queijos (a Brazilian cheese ball.) Pizzas on Fridays. Christmas cookies. A Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.
More than that, for celiacs such as Arianna, there’s trust. As a mother who knows that even the slightest gluten contamination — oats that are processed in the same mill that makes regular flour; soy sauce, which is thickened with flour, used as a seemingly innocuous flavouring — could make her daughter go into spasms of pain, Kennedy religiously researches every product she uses at her bakery at Main and Broadway. No gluten has ever made it through the door.
Kennedy is owner and chief baker of mygoodness! gluten-free and wheat-free bakery. Once a week, she holds baking classes for people who, for health and dietary reasons, want to go gluten-free without giving up some of their favourite foods.
WE Vancouver sat in on a class at the beginning of the new year. At the table were Nancy, who works in aboriginal health, Angus, a home cook who wants to see if going gluten-free will help his allergy problems, and Bridget, whose mother-in-law was recently diagnosed as celiac. Kennedy asked everyone to talk about their gluten issues and then explained the difference between all the variations between being wheat intolerant (no wheat but you can eat other foods, such as couscous and kamut, which contain gluten), to celiac, which can be triggered if a food is prepared in a kitchen where a loaf of bread was cut.
While the course was not a hands-on baking lesson — those lessons will come later — Kennedy did share many of the tips she’s picked up in her quest to give the Ariannas of the world the food they love. Here are just a few. It's worth it to take one of the lessons to learn the others!
Arlene Kennedy’s gluten-free baking tips
• store flours in airtight containers. Some can be stored in the freezer to prolong shelf life
• if you hone in on one good all-purpose flour (Kennedy sells one named in honour of her mother), then that will serve you well for most of your baking needs and makes your life easier
• follow recipes to a T
• timing is essential; “30 seconds more and your recipe can be botched.” Buy a timer.
Kennedy’s gluten-free Baking 101 courses are Mondays and Wednesdays from 7 to 9pm. The cost is $45 and includes treats. Mygoodness! is open Fridays and Saturdays at 235 E. Broadway. MyGoodnessGlutenFree.com