I realize it has been weeks since my last post, and I apologize. However when you read what's going on I think you will understand.
It's a Friday evening and I'm racing to finish dinner before my wife gets home. The theme is Middle Eastern: eggplant dip, vegetables braised in pickled lemon and raj el hanouf, and a salad with clementines and arugula. It's 7:40, and Leslie is due at 8:00. And it then dawns on me: I've forgotten to make the flatbread.
No worries. I open a ziplock of flour blend, pour it into a bowl, add water, stir and fire the oven. At 7:50 the heat is up and three discs of garlic fermented flatbread dough go in. At 7:57 they are done. At 8:10 we're sitting down to dinner, warm naan in hand.
|A boule of gluten-free bread, made from my Classic Sourdough blend|
Such is life in the Luce household these days. Very easy. Very optimistic. Despite the flow of recent events....
A month ago my latest attempt to negotiate a business opportunity with a wholesale gluten-free baker fell through. For a day or two it looked as if Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread was going to remain a pipe dream. And then I bit the bullet and made a decision: my breads weren't going to get on the market unless I put them there, and no way I was not putting them there. Since I didn't want to bake by the truckload, I decided to make and sell dry blends.
By last week I'd come up with flour formulas and a supportive technique that would let anyone, without skills or even sophisticated kitchen tools, make artisan gluten-free bread. By which I mean: Crispy crust; moist, open crumb; deep, rewarding taste; an ingredient list that's primarily whole grains; a staling timeline that runs to 7 days.
A couple of you are thinking, "Hey, wait - I tested something like that last fall." Indeed I put some beta out there. But the feedback I heard pushed me to make one final change: devise a bread mix that was not only easy but very fast. Which I've done.
|Dinner rolls made from my New Italian blend|
Buyers of my GF mixes won't just get a bag of flour, but a whole "kit"; all pre-measured and ready to go. No sophisticated tools or techniques are required: you can make bread with nothing more than a bowl, a stirring spoon, a measuring cup, water and an oven. The mixes aren’t only gluten-free, they're dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and nut-free. Plus you don't have to add any of these ingredients. Which I know sounds incredibly bland, but believe me, they're not bland. Also, the bread does not need to rise. You mix it up, shape it into a loaf and bake it. From package to cooling rack is about 1 hour. (That 10-minute garlic flatbread is still in testing. I hope to release it over the summer).
So. I've found a rental space and we’re negotiating terms. We’ve got a budget and we're raising capital. We perfected the formulas and we’re getting nutrition labels. We’ve designed packaging. We're working like mad toward a goal of product launch by May 1.
I'll open with three types of bread: Classic Sourdough, New Italian and Bold Buckwheat. More descriptions will be on my revised website, which should appear mid-April. In the pipeline are many more flavors, and some specialty blends too. Ever had Lefse bread? Berber bread? I've a (GF) blend for that.
|Bold Buckwheat. From flour to this took < 1 hour.|
We'll sell directly to consumers through our website, but we also plan to get products in stores. Eventually we want to sell bulk to professionals: caterers, bakers, chefs. Wouldn't you just love to walk into any good restaurant and see crusty gluten-free loaves in the bread basket? That's my goal.
Since receiving a diagnosis of Celiac Disease in October 2002 I've worked to invent excellent, honest gluten-free bread. I've finally - and really, truly - got there. I can hardly wait to share my work with the world.